Friday, July 31, 2009

Better Living Through Twitter

I follow Martha Stewart on Twitter so that I can get a peek at what it could look like around here like if I only required two hours of sleep a night and had a team of stylists following my life around with a big open wallet. Martha will also occasionally share one of her Good Things™ that is so good that it is, if not life changing, then certainly life altering. This is one of those tips.

Martha tried three times to post a YouTube video about potato peeling. Each link was a dud. Her last try she cited as a triumph, although that link was dead too, proving that her team should never leave Ms. Stewart unchaperoned with her Blackberry. Intrigued, I searched YouTube for potato peeling videos. (Don’t think about that last sentence too much or you might start to judge me a little.) I believe I found the tip that she had so unsuccessfully been trying to tweet. It is spectacular.

The tip is this: Score a raw potato with one circular line around the “equator.” Boil the potato for 15 minutes. Remove the potato from the boiling water and place in an ice bath for 10 seconds. Hold one hand at each end and pull the peel off. It will slide right out of its skin. It might sound unexciting, but watch the video here (or below) and be amazed. I don’t know which video The Martha was trying to link to, but as always, I like the Japanese version of stuff like this. (The "before" part where the woman is showing how hard it is to peel a potato "by hand" is my favorite.)

As the keeper of the Thanksgiving flame in our family I am thrilled. Mashed potatoes for 15 never looked so easy, peasy, Japanesy.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Museum of Me

Earlier in the week, Krista Colvin, professional organizer and mistress of Organize in Style tweeted the following words:

Your closet is not a museum of who you used to be.

Fine words. I get it. My closet is not supposed to be a tribute to my former self/selves, but even with all of my (what I believed to be) rigorous weeding out of the old, my closet is still showing a few museum worthy relics.

The gallery includes:

The Outpatient Counselor: 3 pairs of grey slacks, 8 pairs of black slacks. I hate the word “slacks” but these office appropriate, wool blend, salutes to boring-ness can only be described as such. How does Ann Taylor stay in business now that I no longer work outside the home?

The 11th Grade Cheeleader: I really don’t wear this uniform as much as I should. Go Mariners!

The Bride: In keeping with our eloping/Las Vegas/attend-by-watching-the-live-streaming–ceremony-on-the-internet/happiest day of my life themed wedding, my “gown” is a white sundress from the sale rack at Macy’s. The veil is from a bridal supply store in LA’s garment district. I do not believe Bob will be wanting to wear this wedding dress to his own wedding (you never know) but I can not bear to part with it.

The Nightclubber: Vintage, black velvet car coat. This coat is still partying like it’s 1991. I can no longer remember exactly what went under this but I would imagine that black lace leggings were involved. This little number might be put to better use by my impossibly cool, sometimes goth, always gorgeous, goddaughter. On me, it gives a whiff of funky yet tragic bag lady.

The Attends Awards Shows Gal: I have not been to a black tie event in five years but you would not know this by perusing the depths of my closet. I will probably not be needing the black tea length ball skirt for Bob’s pre-school graduation ceremony.

My current self is about to be very popular at the Goodwill drop-off.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


When Bob was about a year old, we gave him mashed strawberries. He loved them. Wolfed them down. Covered his giant cheeks in them. Thirty minutes later he developed gigantic hives all over his backside.

I called our pediatrician who said, “Sounds like a strawberry allergy. He might outgrow it. You can try again next year.” Solid advice.

After a little (frantic, exhaustive, compulsive) research on the subject (following the top 25 Google threads for the search: baby food allergies) I read that a child with one food allergy is predisposed to having more and that those allergy-prone kids should wait to try peanuts and shellfish until they are three years-old.

Too late with the shellfish since Bob had already enjoyed (with impunity) a shrimp shu mai from a rolling dim sum cart at Ocean Star Sea Food in Monterey Park. I moved on. By “moved on” I mean that I put some thought (worry, insanity) into the peanut thing.

I decided I would pick a date on the calendar, a random Friday after Bob’s third birthday. On that day, I would pack up Bob’s medical records and health insurance information and drive to the parking lot at the emergency room of Cedars Sinai Medical Center. (Statistically, Friday is the slowest day at the ER.) Clutching my cell phone, with my finger hovering over the speed dial number for his pediatrician, I would feed Bob a small spoonful of peanut butter and wait to see if he went into anaphylactic shock.

That was my, you know, loose plan.

Fast forward to last summer. Bob had been two for a month or so. As we sat at the park having lunch with some other families, a mom asked if Bob was eating peanut butter. Jeff and I replied simultaneously:

ME: We’re waiting until he’s three.
JEFF: He loves peanut butter!

Apparently, Bob had been enjoying peanut butter sandwiches with dad for a few months and had lived to request more.

And also the strawberry thing went away.

The other good news is that statistically, Bob will have at least a 50% chance of not being an insanely overprotective type who spends too much time analyzing statistics and hanging out at WebMd and

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


You may know about my aversion to kid’s music. In Bob’s first couple of years we taught him Row Your Boat and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star but that was it for our child-centric musical repertoire. He was surrounded by music but not the kind that has accompanying hand choreography.

Last summer, Bob and I were at circle time at our weekly Mommy and Me class. All of us mommies sat in a circle with our small people on our laps singing "Old MacDonald". We had sung this song a few times at class before but it was not on our Rosenberg Ipod playlist. We went around the circle and this time, let each kid take a turn yelling out what kind of animal Mr. MacDonald had on his farm.




When it was Bob’s turn, he decided that on his farm he had an, “Office!” This was met by a few long moments of silence, scattered laughter then an awkward vamp of, “With a work-work here and a work-work there…”

On his subsequent turns he pointed out more of Old MacDonald’s fine items.




Clearly I wasn’t doing my part to drive home the farm concept. I realized that my dislike of kid’s songs had the potential to make Bob a social outcast.

So, we worked on it. Among others, we are now fluent in:
"The Hokey Pokey"
"A Ram Sam Sam"
"The Old Gray Cat"
"Mathilda the Gorilla"
"Hermie the Worm"
And of course, "The Wheels On the (freakin’) Bus"

I am making the choice to enjoy it while I can. I know in just a few years, this will be behind us and Bob will be into some other music that I don't like and instead of cute arm movements it will require an odd haircut and guyliner. And I will be fondly nostalgic for A Ram Sam Sam.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Vaya Con Baja

I would like to tell you a little about how healthy we are in regards to food, about how we eat only local and organic and very little meat or artificial ingredients. However, if I did tell you this I would be a big ol’ bacon eating, drive-thru loving liar. The truth is, when we do eat at home, the eating is good. When we all-too-often eat not at home, the eating is questionable at best.

Our semi-crappy eating habits came to a screeching halt a few weeks back when I discovered my celiac-disease-wheat-intolerance-allergy thing. Part of my effort to re-design our woefully under designed eating plan included checking on the internet to see what fast food I could still eat. (Dear McDonald’s, I do not consider “orange juice” to be fast food and find it patronizing and mean that you choose to include it on your gluten free menu list.)

Really, we don’t do that much fast food. (Define “that much” for yourselves.) I was just needing to see what I could order in that rare event that the day gets away from me and I feel the necessity for a quick dinner – usually this might only happen between Monday and say, Sunday. In particular I was looking to see what I could get for myself from Baja Fresh, the Mexican take out place near our home that I think Bob actually believes is an annex of our kitchen.

Apparently it is safe for me to eat a plastic bowl of beans/rice/salsa called the Bare Burrito. (Not quite as sexy as the name implies.) Upon a quick read of the nutritional information I saw that the Bare Burrito could also be noted as a 700 calorie plastic bowl of sodium/fat/carbs.

Reading further, I saw the stats on Jeff’s favorite Baja Fresh item – The Nachos: Calories per serving: 2,120 with 1,050 of the calories coming from fat. I knew none of this stuff was health food but... um... wow. I was muy alarmed.

I do not know if Jeff will ever forgive me for sharing this news with him. He had eaten his beloved nachos twice in the last five days, which might be ok if that was ALL he had eaten in the last five days but, you know, it just wasn’t. After the shock wore off he made the executive decision that we won’t be eating there again, ever. I back him up on that. The Rosenbergs have officially broken up with that Latin flavored fatty salt lick that we loved so well.

So hasta la vista mi amigo Baja Fresh.
Buenos dias rice cakes.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Smacksy Sunday Link: The Ride of Her Life

Because we are traveling this weekend and creating yet another story of in flight chaos of our own, I direct to you one of the most Thank-God-I-Am-Not-That-Poor-Woman stories of traveling with kids: Ride of My Life.

Jana of The Meanest Mom blog, tells her tale, a hilarious and horrifying true story of survival and many, many bodily fluids. The volume of comments on this post with others sharing their own kid-travel nightmares is worth the read and attests to the fact that flying with littles is not for those with an easily triggered gag reflex.

Safe travels.
(And don't make me turn this plane around, young man.)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Smacksy Saturday Photo: Rules? What Rules?

You can learn many things from children. How much patience you have, for instance.
- Franklin P. Jones

Friday, July 24, 2009

Prime Time

Back when I was pregnant, I signed up to get weekly email updates from (You plug in your due date and they do the rest.) During the countdown to Bob, I enjoyed the mini What to Expect While You’re Expecting aspect of these updates. During Bob’s first year, the emails were great because I needed someone to tell me how to do everything. The year from one to two brought a lot of articles about toddler milestones and activities and brain development information to obsess over. Since Bob turned three however, the pre-schooler updates have repeatedly proven to be a catalog of What-We-Are-Doing-Wrong.

The latest evidence: this week’s email update about The Best Children's Television. BabyCenter’s expert list only includes shows that Bob never watches. Ever. It’s not like he’s channel surfing and picking this stuff out on his own. It’s approved by us, and then we TIVO it and pass it along to him. We don’t let him watch more than an hour of TV a day but according to You-Are-Breaking-the-Baby-Center, nothing that we are watching makes the cut.

The shows currently getting the heaviest play in our house are:

Toot and Puddle – Two Canadian pigs (Brothers? Roommates? Partners?) travel the globe taking photos of the sights, wearing turtlenecks, and talking about their feelings. So OK, I guess they’re partners.

Wonder Pets – By day they are classroom pets (turtle/duckling/guinea pig). By night they save baby animals from danger. They fly. They sing. A lot. There is a Wagner theme running throughout. It is pre-schooler opera.

Paula’s Home Cookin’ – Bob loves The Paula Deen. She is a good “cooker.” She’s got a grandma-vibe and there is a dessert on most every show. She says “bacon” a lot. How this one didn't make the almighty BabyCenter list I do not understand.

Curious George – I know, but the stories are better then the ones that make me crazy. Dr. John does the theme song. The man in the yellow hat has a Will Farrell sound-alike voice. Nice. George communicates with expressive ooh ooh aah ahh monkey noises that Bob has adopted and uses on us when he doesn't feel like talking. Less nice.

And of course… Bob is still obsessed with the 2009 Grammy Awards.

So BabyCenter's list might have shows that are educational but Bob's list has an opera turtle, gay pigs, peach cobbler, and the Reverend Al Green and that is an education too.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


When Bob was nine months old he and I traveled to Berlin to meet up with Jeff who was on tour with his band. I had already flown many times before with Bob, but never without another grown-up in our travel party. I had booked us on a red-eye, the idea being that we would get on the plane close to Bob’s bedtime and that we could both sleep for most of the 10½ hour first leg of our trip – the flight from Los Angeles to Paris. That is not what happened.

If you have ever had the pleasure of flying in the same plane with a small child and you have an excruciating story to tell of the noise and ad hoc airplane specific hell raised by that tiny being, you may have been on our flight. I’ll spare you the details but know that when we landed in France, I called Jeff to tell him that we would be moving to Paris because I refused to ever board a plane again.

There were two subsequent flights in that particular itinerary. Neither was as bad as the first but that is not saying much since the terror of flight number one could have only been eclipsed by an emergency crash landing. Maybe.

That was the last time I flew with Bob.

Tomorrow we are booked on a flight to Portland. We are headed to Oregon to attend a wedding. There are many things working in our favor. Jeff will be with us this time. Bob is excited about the trip. We have books and toys and snacks and a CARES Harness. The flight is relatively short at just under two hours. All good. Piece of cake. Sweet, sweet panicky cake.

I am trying to ignore the teensy, little, anxious, post-traumatic stress disordered piece of my soul that will forever be circling the Charles de Gaulle airport. Bob is a year and a half older but he is also a year and a half louder.

If you are currently booked on American Airlines Flight 7582 BUR to PDX, you might consider making other arrangements.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Big Shoes

About this photo:

I took this picture on Monday.

The last time Bob decided to try on his Dad’s shoes and I had a camera handy was a year ago.

In that previous photo, he is wearing these same pajamas.

The answer to your question is: Size 15

At the moment this photo was taken, Bob is deciding which eight dinosaur stickers he will use to pull three layers of paint off of the built-in cabinet.

Someone needs to put down the camera and let in the dog.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


My cousin Kim and her three boys passed along a wonderful, wooden Thomas the Tank Engine set of tracks and trains to my son Bob. He adores it. Like many guys his age, he worships dutifully at the altar of Thomas. It is a large collection and Bob has developed a particular fondness for a train named Percy.

Percy is a green, number six, 0-4-0, Avonside, saddle-tank engine and has the distinction of being Thomas’s best friend. He is also pretty close with Bob and travels with us most of the time.

On a recent outing to Von’s, Bob sat in the shopping cart as we waited to check out. He asked for his beloved train. After I fished around in my purse for a minute I realized that I had left Percy at home. This didn’t sit well with Bob. He began wailing loudly for Percy. Also, Bob has not yet mastered the pronunciation of the sound made by the letter “R.”

“I want P***y!”

“I need P***y!”

“Where’s the P***y?”

“I need P***y! I need it! I need it!”

I explained to the laughing folks that made up the rest of the line, “He really misses his cat.”

Monday, July 20, 2009

How Twitter Saved Our Credit Rating

We had a couple of credit cards, we didn’t use them much but they were there. We had enough available credit to charge a down payment on a small condo – which of course is ridiculous and we would never do that, but still it was great for the extreme emergency back-up plan in case something goes south faster and farther and crazier than our extreme emergency savings can provide for.

Then the notices started coming.

What they said: “Because you have not used your account in the last 12 month period it is apparent that this account is no longer meeting your needs. Your account has been closed.”

What they meant: "You don't have debt so we don't want you. Closing this account will kill your debt to credit ratio and FICO score. Can you feel us flipping you the credit bird? Because we SO are.


What another one said: “Due to the lack of activity on your card we are reducing your credit line from $15,000. to $300.00.”

What they meant: "You aren't buying enough stuff you don't need. We don't know you but we know we don't like you. Remember your excellent credit rating? Wave goodbye to that, Mr. and Mrs. Loser. Who has a $300.00 credit limit? Ha ha ha. We are so the boss of you."

My husband called the credit companies. He was able to have the canceled card reinstated but with a fraction of the previous credit limit. He was able to have the second card’s limit raised back up, but not as high as it had been. In order to do both of these things, he was made to go through a lengthy credit check to get approved for accounts that we already have. Approved for accounts that we already have. And of course every time they check your credit it hits your score again.

The reason we knew it was even possible (and important for our numbers) to get the companies to reverse these decisions is because I follow financial guru Suze Orman on Twitter. She is a mega-tweeter in the Ashton Kutcher/John Mayer tradition, but unlike these darling boys Suze tweets actual helpful information. (Martha Stewart tweets a lot of helpful information too if you need help seeing how poorly art directed your life is compared to Martha Stewart’s.) On occasion, Suze the Awesome will even answer your financial questions if you can fit your question into a 140 letter tweet direct message.

And I used to think Twitter was only for following mommy bloggers and inappropriate comedians. (My sweet spot.)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Smacksy Sunday Link: The Mountain Men's Three Wolf Short Sleeved Tee

This is a link to an Amazon sale page for The Mountain Men’s Three Wolf Moon Short Sleeved Tee. What you will want to be reading are the 26 Customer Reviews of this item. It’s an awesome group effort.

Please note: Customers who viewed this item, also viewed Zubaz Pants.
(And I think you know how I feel about The Zubaz.)

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Smacksy Saturday Photo: Sand Cake

Look Bob, I know. I understand that they are 'super crunchy' but we just don't eat shells.
- Lisa Rae Page Rosenberg

Friday, July 17, 2009

Again With the Monkey

You may be aware of my impressions of the early edition Curious George books and my realization that his hi-jinks are more appropriate for fraternity hazings than children’s books. My understanding was that we had weeded out all of the more sinister adventures of the tiny ape and then Bob and his dad went to the library and brought home Curious George Takes a Job.

The short version – George works as a window washer and breaks into an apartment and paints/defaces the walls. To avoid being caught, he flees down the fire escape. He falls and breaks his leg. Tears. Pain. Picture of leg bent in 4 places. He is told that he “deserved it.” Hospital. More pain. Large leg cast and traction. George, finally able to walk again gets into the ether. What happens next can only be described as an old school William S. Burroughs style hallucinogenic trip. Oh and there is also smoking. That rascal George is so curious!

It’s no use fighting. The monkey wins. I now wait breathlessly for the following new arrivals to hit the shelves:

Curious George Cashes His Dead Neighbor’s Social Security Checks

Curious George and the Jaws of Life

Curious George and the Man With the Big Yellow Hat Start a Pyramid Scheme

Curious George: TMZ Mug Shot

Curious George Really Can't Swim

Curious George Moves to Modesto

Curious George Plays the Nickel Slots

Curious George Follows Phish On Their North American Tour and Pays For Gas By Selling Dream Catchers and Kind Veggie Burritos From the Back of His Van With His “Cousin” Amber

"Read it again Mama! Read it again!"

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Mr. Right

I met Jeff on an internet dating site. Before he came to meet me for our first date he called at the last minute and said the following:

“I just want to recap. I am 30. I am currently living with my mother. I am in a band. I have a semi-crappy day job with bad benefits. I drive a green '97 Plymouth Grand Voyager mini-van that has no hubcaps. If you would like to change your mind about this whole dinner thing, now is your chance.”

On July 16, nine months and 22 days later, I married him.

That's four ecstatic years ago today.

(In 2006, we donated the mini-van to charity.)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

37 Ways We Are Screwing Him Up

Following is a list of nicknames we use for our three-year-old son Bob.

The Bob
Mr. Rosenbee
The Poomanian
Mr. Butts
Squirrely McButts
Sneaky Pete
Mr. Whinerton
Crabby McWhineypants
The Scream
Buddy McButts
Snuggy Snugs
Pantsy Poopington
Mr. Babyman
Nicey Niceington
Mr. Nice Guy
Mr. No Pants
Bob Nakedman, Attorney at Law, LLC

If you ask him who he is, he will say, “I am Baba Woesenbuhg.”
If you ask him what he is, he will say, “I am a boy and also a Pooman.”

I think our job is done here.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Our son Bob is quite involved in choosing his daily wardrobe. On days that I am able to get him out the door in something more than big boy underpants and rain boots, it is a victory. Last fall, my son received a pair of navy blue, stars and polka-dot pajama hand-me-downs from a friend’s kid. He has since outgrown the top but the pants are his current favorite item of clothing. These pajama bottoms resemble Zubaz pants.

You are familiar with Zubaz pants. You may know them as weightlifter pants or Buttafuco pants, but you know them. Baggy sweatpants, elastic around the ankles, traditionally in zebra or another unfortunate print; these little items are my husband’s kryptonite. Jeff is generally a non-judgmental live-and-let-live kind of man but something about seeing his son in the Zubaz makes him a wee crazy.

When faced with taking a be-Zubazed Bob to the park, Jeff is instantly mortified. There is a great deal of bargaining, bribing, and pleading involved in trying to separate Bob from his beloved jammies. It has been intimated that my extreme amusement during these episodes is not helpful.

Jeff has yet to offer an explanation for his aversion other than a frustrated growl followed with the words, “Just… no.” I believe the baby-Jersey-man pants may cause him to flash forward to a vision of Bob of the future : Zubaz + tight thin strapped tank top + steroids + Nextel on a belt clip + protein shake + gelled do + H2 + Axe body spray. While not necessarily a bad thing (except for the roids and the Axe) these lifestyle choices would leave little in common with Daddy and his sweet, heavily self-tanned son and that would be sad.

I am not saying that my husband has any expectations for our son other than hope for his future health, happiness and ability to support himself without moving back in with us in his 40s. Yet I do think the snapshot he has in his head for future Bob looks less like Joey Fatone circa 1999 and more like Sufjan Stevens with a PhD in astrophysics. (“You are a magician with that banjo Dr. Rosenberg!”)

I have toyed with the idea of outfitting Bob, myself, and the pets in matching Zubaz for a family portrait to give to Jeff in honor of our wedding anniversary this week but I have chosen instead to remain happily married.

Viva La Zubaz.

Monday, July 13, 2009


If there is mousse involved, I probably did not make it.

Tomorrow is my turn to provide “snack” for Bob’s summer school class. The guidelines are simple: A fruit or vegetable, a carb, and a protein. I’ve seen the other snacks roll through in the last few weeks. Cereal, rice, baby carrots, yogurt – what you’d expect. Occasionally an inspired mom will bust out with the errant mango chunks or micro-waved potstickers, but mostly it’s a string cheese festival. Then, there was Mrs. G.

Mrs. G had a kid in the school last summer. Bob was not in school then and I do not know Mrs. G, but her snacks are the stuff of legend. The teachers describe her as the “Foodie Mom.” She brought hand rolled sushi, homemade spring vegetable hand pies, oiled cutting boards filled with organic charcuterie and dried figs. The kids loved it.

I am by no means a foodie or even a foodie-lite but I am sort of nuts (ask anyone) and also oddly competitive, especially in areas that Do Not Matter.

Here’s my crazy: I spent an hour today brainstorming Amazing Snack Ideas. This is time that would have perhaps been better spent doing really almost anything else. Taking my once every 48 hours shower? Enjoying a TiVo’d episode of Tori & Dean? Preparing “snack” for people that actually live in my home and are at this moment foraging for weird old bean dip in the back of our refrigerator?

Here is today’s remedial mini-epiphany: I do not need to compete with a Mommy faux -Nigella Lawson by learning to press my own tofu or by baking individual brie and rolling out a carving station for a dozen three-year-olds. I am not Foodie Mom. I am Always-Leaves-Her-Travel-Mug-of-Coffee-By-the-Sign-In-Sheet Mom and I am sticking with my strengths.

Oh and tomorrow is: watermelon, string cheese, rice cakes.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Smacksy Sunday Link: Mouthy Housewives

Here’s what you need to know about
These gals give sage advice.
They are exceptionally funny.
They tell it like it is – or how it would be if witty, genius ladies were running your mess.
You should so go there and read all that.

I’m not just saying this because they gave my post Little Emcee the Mouthy Housewives Seal of Approval as their post of the week. (Although this does prove that in addition to all of their other dazzling qualities, they also have excellent taste.)

Happy Sunday.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Smacksy Saturday Photo: Defined

boy \ 'boi \ n: a noise with dirt on it

- Not Your Average Dictionary

Friday, July 10, 2009

Little Emcee

Our son Bob is obsessed with the 2009 Grammy awards. Through the miracle that is TiVo, in the last five months he has watched his favorite musical performances from the show no less than 60 times. More specifically, he wants to see Coldplay, The Reverend Al Green, Carrie Underwood, U2, and Radiohead. In that order.

Bob started (first 20 or so views) just quietly watching with a polite golf clap after each performance. He then began throwing in a few dance moves during "Viva La Vida". Radiohead’s performance of "15 Step" accompanied by the USC Marching Band was, at our house, further accompanied by Bob Rosenberg on the recorder. Finally, in the past month, he has taken to imitating the introductions to the bands.

“Ladies and gentleman, Reverend Al Green!”

“And now, U2!”

“My former tour mate, Carrie Underwood!”

The intros have started bleeding into other areas of life.

“Ladies and gentleman, bath time!”

“Next up, dinner!”

This week Bob took it to another level. He was tucked in for bedtime prayers. As we put our hands together, he cried out, “Wait! My intro!” He stood up, beat out a tidy little drum solo on the wall and then announced, “Ladies and gentlemen, God!”


Radiohead - 15 Step (Grammys 2009)

Family Friday is a thingy at a Mama Blog I like at Homemaker

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Into the Fold

I love order and organization. (At the moment, there is not much evidence in our home that could possibly prove this to you so you will have to take my word for it.) You may know of my somewhat challenging laundry situation. I fold a small island of shirts every week. In order to keep the stacks from toppling and merging into one big cotton pile of I-just-wasted-40-minutes, I use the Japanese t-shirt folding technique.

This thing has been around on YouTube for years and is still my secret laundry boyfriend. Or as my kid would say, “I just love it, love it, love it all the time.” I enjoy the classic Japanese video but you can also find the video instructions in English.

Apparently there are some Gap retail alumni who are still obsessed with the Gap fold, which utilizes a plastic folding board as its centerpiece. The sleek Japanese fold offers similar results but requires no equipment.


(The Japanese phrase above translates to “Good Luck.” Or possibly, “I cut and paste information I find on the internet without a real vetting process.”)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Farewell Sweet, Sweets

So I found out that I can’t eat wheat or gluten-y things anymore. I will admit that I spent a day or two mourning the loss of glazed old-fashioned doughnuts and pie and pie and pie. Though once I realized how many ways of rotten I felt when I ate the stuff, not eating those lovely dough wads and their glutinous brethren was easy, if only because the alternative was so rough.

I’m an all right cook but my thing has always been baking. I know the whole nature of my baking deal is going to be changing. It will be different and feel kind of weird and I will miss my old recipes as I get new ones from sites like Karina’s Kitchen and troll the aisles at Whole Foods doing price comparisons on bean flour.

However, I do not go gentle into that buckwheat and millet.

Here is my favorite wheat packed super easy cobbler recipe that's been a part of my summers for the last 20 years. You can make it with berries or cherries but I love(d) it with peaches. It is an odd assembly that feels and looks wrong when you’re doing it but is pretty impossible to mess up. Batter on the bottom of the pan, then fruit, then pour water over the top of the whole thing. I know. Strange. Sometimes they use this same method in buckle recipes. As it bakes, the batter rises up over the fruit and the whole thing becomes a golden brown juicy layer of goodness with a light syrup on the bottom. The original recipe came from Applehood and Motherpie, Handpicked Recipes From Upstate New York (Junior League of Rochester, 1981).

Make it. Have some. For me.

This watery mess...

...becomes this-oh-how-I-love-this.

Easy Fruit Cobbler
6 – 8 Servings

Biscuit Batter
¼ cup butter
½ cup sugar
1 cup flour
¼ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ cup milk

Fruit Filling
2 cups berries, pitted cherries or peeled and quartered peaches
¼ -½ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1 ½ cups water

Biscuit Batter
Cream butter and sugar together. Mix together flour, salt and baking powder. Add to butter alternately with milk. Pour into shallow greased 2-quart baking dish.

Fruit Filling
Spoon 2 cups fruit over Biscuit Batter. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Cover with water. Bake at 375 degrees until set and light brown on top, 45 – 50 minutes. Fruit will sink.

And like everything in life, this is good with ice cream.

You Capture is a weekly photo challenge at a mama blog I like:
I Should Be Folding Laundry
This week's challenge was a choice: Food or 4th of July (I guess you can tell which one I chose.)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

So I Thought I Could Dance

When my mom cleaned out her attic last fall, I came into possession of three storage bins packed with my own childhood stuff that I had not laid eyes on since my senior year of high school. As I have documented here, I am on a mission to de-stuff my stuff. As I dug my way through the bins, my vintage ephemera (old crap) fell into one of three classic categories:

Items I no longer had a use for:
Example - A plastic Foxmoor Casuals bag stuffed with notes passed between me and Dioni Verduzco circa Miss Konecny’s third period typing class in eighth grade.

Sweet, sweet circular file material.

Items someone else might be in need* of:
Example - 13 issues of Seventeen Magazine circa 1977-1982 - “Phoebe Cates fashioned this kicky poncho herself, in just a weekend!”

My 1977 Back-to-School Issue currently has one bid ($1.99) on eBay.

*The word “need” is subjective.

Items that rule:
Example - A 1st Place Disco Dance Trophy from 1978. This honor was awarded to my own John Travolta (an eighth grade David Clarke) and myself in the Junior High multi-purpose room in a school-wide assembly. I do not remember what song we danced to (Disco Inferno? Boogie Wonderland?) but I am certain that there was much Spandex involved and zero cool people. My career in dance would never again know such lofty heights.

Tragedy + Time = A New Piece of Awesome to Display On Our Mantel.

More buried treasure like that please.

Monday, July 6, 2009

459 Words About Laundry

Not long ago, our son woke from a nap wailing, “I don’t want to do laundry!”

I don’t know where he gets it.

For three people, we generate a ridiculous amount of dirty clothing. Bob has more costume changes in a day than Cher. Between the potty accidents, novice level eating utensil skills and the general boy-ness of it all, we’re looking at about 5 complete changes every 24-hour period. It takes mere minutes for a fresh fitted sheet on our bed to resemble the Shroud of Turin. The dog and cat both sleep with us in the bed. The level of fur and dirt and half eaten snacks hiding between the sheets proves that Daisy and Pearl are not sharing our bed - we are sharing theirs.

I was on the lookout for some way to make the laundering process cheaper, efficient, and more pleasant. I turned to my guide, the internet. Trent the blogger over at The Simple Dollar is semi-obsessed with making his own laundry detergent from scratch. He is convinced that it saves him a bunch of money. His original post about make-it-yourself detergent then spawned 5 or 6 subsequent posts and a heated debate among his readers. There are over 500 comments on the original post alone. More reasons I love the internet.

We have a front loader and need to use a low-sudsing soap so I won’t be trying Trent’s bucket of home-made slime. However, in the name of green and money saving, I have gone back on my dryer loving word and have resolved to line dry some of the laundry during the summer months. I know lots of people do it and it’s not like I’m churning my own butter here but the full clothesline does have a pioneer quality about it. As a bonus it gives the backyard the feel of a set from a high school production of West Side Story.

On the web, I found volumes of laundry strategies and systems. As efficiency goes, I tried the Mon-Whites/Wed-Darks/Fri-Sheets-and-Towels, The Load-A-Day-Every-Day, and The Do-It-All-On-One-Day-Only-Once-A-Week. While the idea of a set template appealed to my OCD, my search brought me back to the conclusion that with laundry, like much else, there is no hidden magic. The only way to get it done is to just shut up and do it.

For now, I will be sticking with the Throw-A-Load-In-When-I-Think-Of-It method that I have come to rely on. My goal will be to try to keep the clean stuff coming before Bob has no choice but to dress in an ill-fitting Christmas themed pajama top and we are all wearing bathing suits as underwear. Not that this has ever happened… too much.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Smacksy Sunday Link: The Typing Makes Me Sound Busy

This photo was taken by someone who has a fancy lens.

Jelisa “J-Money” Castrodale is a funny writer. She shares laugh-out-loud tales of her crap love life, toilet drinking dog, and overdrawn bank account on her blog, The Typing Makes Me Sound Busy. I like it. You will like it too because you like reading funny things and obviously have excellent taste in blogs.


Saturday, July 4, 2009

Smacksy Saturday Photo: Freedom

You can't separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom. - Malcolm X

Happy 4th of July everyone.

Friday, July 3, 2009

They Say It's Your Birthday

Our kid Bob loves birthdays and everything about them. Once he gets to know you, he will want to know what month your birthday is in and will memorize this information so that he can be prepared for future cake and balloons.

We play “pretend birthday” a lot at our house. Bob has a small wooden birthday cake that he decorates. There is singing of the classic Happy Birthday song, including the “and many more” tag. There is the ceremonial blowing out of the pretend candles. The wooden cake is cut and distributed around the house to pets and people. There is make-believe eating, exaggerated swallowing, and much belly rubbing. We are also given our new age for the day.

Today it was my pretend birthday. After blowing out the “candles,” I accepted my piece of triangular wood. I then asked Bob the traditional question, “How old am I today?” He replied, “You are seven days a week.”

I am choosing to take this as a compliment.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Enough Already

My life is terrific. Even if I momentarily decide it isn’t, it still is. I have nothing to complain about but if you give me a minute, I will. This is a bad habit and I want to put a lid on it. I made a decision to start keeping track of my crabbing tendencies in order to try to let this go.

8:24 AM
My son ran in breathlessly from the backyard, “Mama! There are Daisy’s poos in the yard for you to pick up. Get some poo bags!” My reply, “I’ll get right on that,” wasn’t exactly a complaint but my follow-up, “Because everyone knows how much I love touching the poos,” probably qualifies.

10:55 AM
My son and I were in the car on our way to summer school. A blue Chevy Impala idled in front of us in the left hand turn lane. The light was green. No oncoming traffic. The Impala was not moving, not turning, not nothing. I was about to help this delightful motorist with some gentle words when I realized that perhaps my vocabulary choices might be inappropriate in front of my 3-year-old passenger and would also fall into the complaining/soft cursing category. I said nothing. I thought of how hard it is to say nothing. I then realized that thinking, “it’s hard to say nothing” is a complaint and then I got trapped in a complaint mind loop.

1:30 PM
Caught myself complaining via instant message. I was writing to my husband about the difficulty I was having getting Bob to go down for a nap. I have found that the difference between complaining and merely “reporting the facts” often has to do with the use of four-letter words in your “report”.

4:10 PM
“Mama, want to go to the library now! Not later, now! I need M&M’s to make me feel better now! I need my dog shirt now!” Bob was on a roll.
“Enough with the whining,” I said. No mistaking my tone, I really whined this directive to my son. Then I sighed. (Wordless complaint.) This is pretty much exactly what they are not talking about when they refer to good behavior modeling.

I have heard that it takes 30 days to form a pattern and 90 days to break a habit. I have taken a leisurely 44 years to form my complaining pattern. I will be shocked if it takes a mere 89 more days to break the habit. For now, I am finding that this level of self-awareness is causing me to talk a lot less and no one seems to be complaining about that.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Beav: A One Act

Someone who sells nice photos to took this.

(Jeff has just arrived home from work. He enters through the front door. Bob rushes to greet him.)

Daddy! Daddy! I have a beaver!

Wow! What does that mean?

I have a beaver! I am bea-ver-ish.

He has a fever. 100.6°

Oh. Are you OK Buddy?

I have a hundred beaver Daddy.

He seems a little off.

It’s the children’s Tylenol talking and you know, he has a beaver.

No Mama, beavers are animals. I have beaver, not a beaver animal.


I love animals.