Monday, December 27, 2010

Porpoise Orcs in the Jack Wagon

 A while back I listed some of my favorite curses of the kids. Well, it's time to add to that list. They are growing up, getting bigger and coming up with new things. Here are some of the latest:

Dip wad

Jerk wad

Diphthong - this one has a nice ring to it. I had to look it up because I couldn't remember what it really was - From wikipedia : "A diphthong, also known as a gliding vowel, refers to two adjacent vowel sounds occurring within the same syllable. In most dialects of English, the words eye, boy, and cow contain examples of diphthongs." but I think it makes a nice curse too.

Porpoise Orc - this also has a nice ring to it. I have no idea what it means.

Dork chop - this came from a book we were reading and we all cracked up upon reading it.

Jack Wagon - this is from a recent Geiko commercial and we all really like this one. It has a certain naughtiness to it, but really, it's not that bad, right?

And we made the mistake of telling the boys that "bloody" is a curse in some countries. They were amazed and spent quite a bit of a time saying bloody this and bloody that for several hours. It was amusing yet somehow disturbing. But it's definitely preferable to F#$%#% this and F#$%#% that so I won't complain.

But nothing beats 'hot snot rug' and 'foolie kadoolie' in my humble opinion.


Friday, December 17, 2010

The Ferrous in the Land

So we have a cast iron skillet now. Pretty cool. I did some research and got a nice one off ebay. It works great! So far I've used it to make an awesome grilled cheese sandwich, some tasty scrambled eggs, some hash browns and a few other things. There was a study done in the 80's showing how foods cooked in cast iron pans, especially acidic foods, increased the iron content of the food, sometimes quite a bit. Cool!

I'm not anemic, but my iron levels when I give blood are always borderline. Sometimes I can give blood, sometimes I can't. It will be interesting to see if this makes a difference. I think it will. I've noticed an odd thing happening lately. Everytime I walk past the refrigerator, all the magnets shoot off the fridge and stick themselves to my body. I have to pry them off and then they stick to my fingers. I need to have someone help me or they'll stick there all day. I think it's all the iron.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

And They All Fell Down and Died. The End.

The other day the kids were on each other's nerves. It had been a busy weekend and I had been busy and not giving them the attention they deserved. Everyone needed a break. So, I sat down on a kitchen chair, pulled out one of the many library books I had recently borrowed and began to read. I started with Sleepless Beauty by Frances Minters - a rather cute retelling of the Sleeping Beauty story in modern times and in rhyme. There was some confusion over the end because it ended differently than the original, but I think everyone was OK with that.

Then we went on to Grandma Chickenlegs by Geraldine McCaughream - a retelling of the Russian folk tale of Baba Yaga. It was cute and colorful and everyone enjoyed that as well.

Then, last, we went onto The Tinderbox by Hans Christian Andersen. It's a tale about a soldier who acquires a magic tinderbox that summons three dogs to do his bidding. I vaguely remembered the story from my childhood, but not in detail, so I had borrowed it from the library. Well, let me tell you it's quite the story! And not necessarily in a good way. I rather expected the soldier to be a good guy, but by the end of the story, amid my exclamations of "My Goodness!" And "This is not at all like I remembered it!" we were all amazed. (and not necessarily in a good way.)

When the soldier killed the witch - well, OK. She was a witch (or was she just a harmless old lady?). Things like that happen in stories. But at the end, when he has his dogs brutally slaughter the king, the queen and the court, that was a little much. The king and queen weren't bad - they were only trying to keep the princess safe. Afterall, some crazy guy was kidnapping her. (The kids really got a chuckle out of the "and they were all tossed up into the air and they all fell back down and died" part. That was where I said "Oh my goodness!". They made me read that part twice.

Then, what does that stupid princess do? She happily marries the soldier! What sort of a crazy fool is she?!?! This detestible, psychotic, homicidal soldier comes along, kidnaps her, slaughters her family and she looks up at him with doe eyes and says "Oh, my hero."??? What sort of nonsense is that?!?! The kids were as appalled as I was in a 'what-a-stupid-story' kind of way. That was a couple of weeks ago now and Snickers in particular keeps bringing it up. The sheer stupidity of the ending and the overall lack of morals of the soldier is really bothering him.

I'm glad to see that my kids have some sense! Sure, it's a classic, but bah! Utter crap! Time to go back to the library to find some new stuff to read.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Ask Me About My Book

So, the Hubbinator is writing a book. So far it's really good. Once it's done and published I'll put a link here. But that's not what this post is about. This post is about the Hubbster's new shirt. He got a shirt from a friend that says "Ask me about my book." He wore it the other day. He may never wear it again.

Everytime I, or one of the kids saw the shirt, we said, "So, tell me about your book." And without fail, every time he said, "Huh? What book?" It went like this:

Me: "Tell me about your book."
Hubby: "What?"
Sweet Pea: "So what about your book dad?"
Hubby: "Huh? What book?"
Snickers: "What about your book dad?"
Hubby: "What? What do you mean?"
Me: "Tell me a little about your book."
Hubby: "Huh? Oh! Grrrrr"

The last straw came when he got up Sunday morning and came down with the shirt on.

Doodlebug: "Hey Dad. What about your book?"
Hubby: "What? Huh?"
I pointed to his shirt.
Hubby: I'm not wearing this anymore!


Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas Cookie Season!!

It's Christmas cookie season! One of my favorite seasons! I have a legitimate excuse to bake. I've compiled a list of the cookies I'm planning including several traditional favorites and some new ones to try. I'm sure I won't have time to bake all of these this year. At least not and stay sane. But I'll pick a few favorites and will make plenty to share.

I'll even post pictures and recipes as I begin to get into the baking. Here are some of the things I'm planning on baking:
Butter cookie cutouts - These are a staple. Delicious plain, sprinkled, frosted and thumb-printed. You can't go wrong with these!

Chocolate pepper balls - These delicious little beauties are my favorites. The Hubinator hates them with a passion. The kids aren't too fond of them either. They are the 'bad habit cookies' because the recipe includes whiskey, coffee and lots of spices. The only thing missing (as the Hubby likes to point out) is the cigarette butts. Maybe I'll try that this year. And the thing is, looking over the recipe these are something I would never have made in a million years if I didn't know how good they were. They are chocolate cookies but the recipe includes a lot of spices including black pepper and cinnamon. It just sounds like a weird combination. Then toss in some whiskey and some melted shortning and you end up with a gluey, lumpy dough. It really looks
disgusting. Then when they are done cooking, they are rolled in a chocolate frosting that includes some whiskey and some coffee. The whole combination sounds disgusting to me. But for whatever reason these are toe-curlingly delicious! [Your mileage may vary]

Spritz - These are a favorite of Sweet Pea and Hubby. they always come out nice and tender and tasty.

Some other possiblities include peanut butter buckeyes and pizzelles (both favorites of the Hub), nutmeg logs, chocolate pinwheels, fudge, shortbread and something mint that I haven't quite decided on yet. So many possibilities so little time!

What are your favorites?


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Cat vs Gerbil - Round 1

So, we have a cat now. I know I know, I didn't tell you. I usually post every single little boring detail about the pets here, but I go and get a cat and don't even bother to mention it! Well, I'm mentioning it now. We have a cat. Got it at the SPCA in the easiest pet adoption ever. It was a piece of cake. (If you're looking for a cat or dog, most definitely check out your local SPCA - there were so many animals there and they made it so easy.)

Dutchess is the sweetest little kitty ever. She's not quite a year old and has super soft black and white long fur. She has a little pink nose with the cutest little black heart on it. Just look at that nose! And those whiskers!

But I'm not going to go on and on and on about how cute my little kitty is. Everyone has the best kitty and you don't want to hear about mine in nauseating detail.

But I will attempt to entertain you briefly with the tale of the kitty vs. the gerbil. You remember the gerbil right? Evil little red-eyed frosty - the most aggressive rodent since Godzilla (Godzilla was a rodent, right?) The one who will literally attack your hand when you reach in to feed him? Yes, that one.

The cat, being a cat, is fascinated by the gerbils. We have to close the door to the room they are in because she will circle and circle and circle the cages, and the poor little critters will thump their feet on the ground in some sort of gerbil warning system and will just look utterly terrified. So, to avoid torturing the gerbils, we keep the door shut. But the other day, the cat approached the cage and little frosty approached from his side. They were face to face. For a moment, they stared at each other, beady red eyes burning into bright yellow lamp-light eyes. The cat reached in with her nose for a sniff.

Frosty attacked! It was awesome! For several minutes we just watched as the cat would sniff, or reach out a paw and Frosty would attack. He was fearless. I think even without the bars of the cage there he would have attacked. I think he may even have preferred it if the bars were not there. He would have enjoyed grabbing onto that fuzzy feline with his wicked little gerbilly teeth and taking her down.

But we really like our new cat and didn't want it to end badly so we eventually split them up. Before the cat ended up with a bloody nose or paw or worse.

And at this point, I must say, in spite of his evilitude, I now have a certain amount of respect for the fearless little rodent. He stood up to a monster that outweighed him a hundred times over and given the chance Frosty would have ripped her to shreds or died trying. That takes guts.


Monday, December 6, 2010

There's a Satyr in the House - Quick! Get My Pan Flute!

That's right. A satyr. You know. Those goat legged things from mythology class. Hairy goat legs. Yes. Those.

And no, this is not a post about how I hate and refuse to shave my legs. Because I do shave them. Often.

This is about pants. I was at a department store the other day and they had these big, bulky, fuzzy, furry, fleecy, ginormous pants for sale. They looked so so so cozy and warm. I've seen these all over the place this holiday season. I've seen them in the kids department with cutesy pictures of sheep and kitties and unicorns and hearts and rainbows all over them. I've seen them in the woman's department with animal print patterns and pictures of clouds and flowers and duckies and hearts all over them. And I've seen them in the men's department in dark manly colors. All are fuzzy. All are fluffy and warm. All are slightly ridiculous. You know the ones I mean.

So what did I do? Yes, I admit it. I bought a pair. For lounging around the house. Why, oh why would I do such a thing? Because they looked so warm and cozy. And winter here can be so cold and long. Admit it, you've thought of getting yourself a pair too.

And being me, and being tall and having a slight aversion to print pants, I got them in the men's department. Getting them there almost guarantees they will be long enough, whereas if I get pants in the women's department it virually guarantees they will be several inches above my ankle bone. (and really, who wants cold ankles?) It also guarantees that I won't have to walk around in sheep, rainbows or kittens. I mean, these huge furry things are ridiculous enough without covering them in some cutesy print pattern. Let's try to be a little subtle here, OK? And another plus is that the men's version often have pockets, which the women's version often do not.

So, dig if you will, a picture. (no, I can't just say, "picture this". It comes from hearing Prince too much in the 80's. I've been corrupted.) So, like I said, dig if you will, a picture, of me in these fuzzy pants. Very thick pants. Very bulky - the waist cinched in because they are a little too big, the pockets, bulky and lumpy around my hips. Very attractive, no?

So, anyway, I was wearing these pants the other morning before breakfast. The hubinator noticed them. I mean, how could he not, the bulk made it hard for him to squeeze past. It went something like this:

Hubby: (slightly incredulous) What are you wearing?
Me: Um, fuzzy pants.
Hubby: Those certainly are some fuzzy pants!
Hubby: It's like living with a satyr.
Hubby: All you need is a pan flute.

Needless to say, we both broke down in hysterical laughter. Both from the comments and from the sheer ridiculousness of those giant, fuzzy, bulky, but oh so cozy and warm, goat-leg-pants.

You should get some. If for no other reason than the entertainment value.


Friday, December 3, 2010

Holy Yum Batman!! Mini Hot Fudge Cakes!

 First, prep your ramekins with a little cooking spray.

Then mix up some tasty ingredients:

Then cook 'em.
When they are done, take them out of the oven and admire them.

Then, of course, devour them right up.

Holy cow these were really delicious. Excellent chocolate flavor! Not overly sweet, but sweet enough for the hubby who is not fond of semi-sweet, bitter-sweet or anything less than sweet. Sort of like a brownie, but even better. Mmmmmm!

But don't take my word for it. Make some for yourself. Here's the recipe:  

Mini Hot Fudge Cakes

3/4 cup flour

2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp instant coffee powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup semi sweet or dark chocolate, finely chopped
2 tbsp powdered sugar

Sift together flour, cocoa, coffee powder, baking powder and salt.

In a large bowl, beat the butter with a mixer at medium speed about 1 minute. Add granulated and brown sugars, and beat until well blended. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until well blended.

Fold flour mixture into sugar mixture. Fold in chocolate.

Divide batter evenly among 10 4-oz ramekins. Arrange ramekins on a jelly-roll pan. Cover and refrigerate 4 hours or up to 2 days.

Preheat oven to 350.

Let ramekins stand at room temperature 10 minutes. Uncover and bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until puffy and slightly crusty on top. Sprinkle evenly with powdered sugar. Serve immediately.

Makes 10 servings.

Calories: 260 per serving and worth every calorie. Really!


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

So, I finally finished painting Sweet Pea's room. That only took forever! Here are some pictures:

The bear peeking out from behind the dresser:

The bunny:

Some clouds (it's always fun to look for shapes in the clouds):

The tree full of porcupines, squirrels and birds:

Flowers and a hummingbird:

An owl in a tree:

Now, the painting is done, but the room isn't quite finished. I still need to make a few trees (you can see the trunks just waiting in the picture above with the owl). That's a project for another day.


Monday, November 29, 2010

Mr. Boingy Pen

So, I have this pen. But it's no ordinary pen. See, it's got a little spring on the top with a bouncing head. It smiles very widely and has a tuft of orange hair on the top. It has a little holder that it sits in so it stands upright. The holder has a suction cup so it can stand securely on the tabletop. Sounds cute, right? That's what I thought. But now I'm not so sure.

See, the other night we heard a funny sound. When we went out to the kitchen to investigate we found Mr. Boingy Pen on the floor. Securely suction-cupped to the floor and bouncing slightly on his spring, grinning from ear to ear. Eerie. And slightly disturbing.

While discussing it over breakfast, the hubby picked it up. It continued to grin straight ahead, and then slowly, oh so slowly, its head bobbed and turned so it was looking at me. What the heck?!?!? It did this several times.

Right now, as I write this, it is staring into the fish tank. If there are fish missing in the morning, or if anything about the tank is even slightly out of the ordinary, that pen may have to go.

Shhhh. Not too loud.


Friday, November 26, 2010

Telling the Future with Caterpillars

Woolly bear caterpillars can predict how long and cold the winter will be. The larger the black bands, the worse the weather. Well, Sweet Pea found three of the little guys this year. The two from the zoo indicate that the winter will be very mild. But the one from Onondaga Lake Parkway says it will be a long cold one. I'm going for the majority rule on this one and expect a mild winter. Either that or the zoo will see remarkably mild winter weather, but the snow coming off the lake will bury the parkway in cold wintery snowiness. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Caterpillar small -
Fuzzy portent of winter's length
Mild winter ahead

(Yes, I know. I have an extra syllable in the middle line. I decided to give up preciseness for a little creativity. I just like it this way, OK?)


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Rambling, Nonsense and Occasional Posts of Interest

 Hey! It's my one year blogiversary! Last year on November 24th I posted my very first blog entry! It's now a year later and I haven't managed to say anything of much importance, but hey, it was fun getting there. I hope you stick around for another year of rambling, nonsense, and occasional posts of interest. Thanks for reading!

Have a happy Thanksgiving tomorrow everyone!


Where Do Baby Carrots Come From?

Where do baby carrots come from? I think I know. I found these carrots in our garden. I like to think they know winter is coming and are snuggling together for warmth. Despite their cuteness, they went into the soup the other day. At least it was a nice warm place to be!

And to finish off today's post, here are a few carrot haiku's inspired by the little orange lovelies:

End of the season
Preparing for winter's cold
Two carrots snuggling

or maybe

Two carrots entwined
How do carrots procreate?
An erotic twist


Monday, November 22, 2010

For Your Viewing Pleasure

Yes yes yes. I know. Halloween was three weeks ago! What took me so long to post these pictures of the costumes I worked so hard on?!? Well, I'm a busy woman you know. Very busy. Lots to do.

So, without further ado, here they are. Pac Man, Ms. Pac Man and Blinky. For your viewing pleasure:


Monday, November 15, 2010

These are some of my favorite things . . .

I like music. One artist I have been listening to lately is Beth Hart. On her Screamin for My Supper album there is a song titled Favorite Things. Very cool song. It made me think about some of my favorite things:
  • Little arms wrapped around my neck, little fingers in my hair, little kisses on my cheeks and nose, a little hand in mine.
  • The sound of the vaccuum cleaner while I'm ensconsed, sleepy and warm under a blanket (hasn't happened in years, but I always liked it)
  • Melting chocolate on my tongue 
  • Snoozing beside the bulk of my hubby, warm and safe
  • Snuggling up next to a little warm body curled into my side, hair and breath in my face
  • The darkness of tree bark in the rain against autumn-yellow leaves
  • The icy etching of frost on leaves, branches and stems
  • The sound of the robins in the early evening, warbling in the sunset and moonrise
  • A heartfelt song, sung with passion and feeling
  • The sound of the mixer and the dust of flour and sugar as I bake on a cold wintry day
  • The background sounds of laughter and little voices as I work around the house.
  • The twinkle of the Christmas tree lights on a cold snowy evening.


Friday, November 12, 2010

Hip-Deep in Books and Oblivious to Everything

Doodlebug brought a book home from the library once about Anansi the Spider. Anansi is a character from a western African folk tale. For whatever reason he loved the book! It really struck a chord with him. It was all bright colors and a simple yet fun story. And there was a spider named "Cushion' which really struck him funny. So, we've gotten that book from the library several times.

Well, I realized that the author, Gerald McDermott has written many stories of a similar vein - old folk-tales retold. Among them are Zomo the Rabbit (A Trickster Tale from West Africa) and Jabuti the Toroise (A Trickster Tale from the Amazon). So I stopped by the library to pick them up. And wow! Let me tell you! Get me in the library and it's hard to drag me out. I spent an entire hour in one row of books. (I'll have to tell about the time I spent almost an entire hour on one shelf. The shelf with the books about the old west no less. How strange and unusual! I didn't even know I was interested in that stuff. And if you asked me, I'm not particularly, but for some reason, it was interesting that day - from Montana homesteaders to the Kansas dust bowl to Tombstone Arizona to Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee I was hip-deep in books and oblivious to everything.)

But back on topic. I spent an entire hour in the "Juvenile Non-Fiction" section in the aisle with the fairy tales and tall tales, trickster tales and folk tales. (Why this is considered non-fiction I don't know.) Wow, there's a lot of stuff in that aisle. From the original Grimms fairy tales to modern retellings, African folk tales, American mid-west tall tales, Korean sky tales (wha?), princesses, coyotes, spiders, castles, kingdoms, grails, kites, rice paddies. Scottish and Jewish and Korean and American Indian, Carribean, African, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, you name it. Stories from everywhere, every time about everything. All beautifully told and illustrated. Wow! I managed to read 4 or 5 there (these are children's books afterall) and borrowed about 10. Some for me, some for the kids.

For Doodlebug (and me too) I found a set of books by Eric Kimmel, illustrated by Janet Stevens, about Anansi the Spider. They are very cute! I really like them. I hope Doodlebug does too. I read Anansi and the Talking Melon right there in the aisle and it is a great story! Very cute and wonderfully illustrated.

But, overall, that's pretty good - me coming out with only 10 books. That's good for me. When I go to the library I almost always come home with about twice as many as I can possibly read in the amount of time I have. Even considering that I have 3 weeks and can renew 3 times for a total of 9 weeks! I still get too many and end up returning about half of them unread. I guess my eyes are bigger than my reading time, or something like that.

Maybe when I'm old and crotchety I'll spend every day at the library reading my way through every book. I have so many books at home I want to re-read (my entire Ray Bradbury collection for one) but who has the time when there are so many books I haven't read yet? Not to mention who has time when there is crafting and scrapbooking and drawing and painting and writing and playing and exercising and baking and dulcimer-ing, etc, etc, etc to be done.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Sometimes the Way Back is So Much Easier

Every once in a while I go rollerblading. It's a lot of fun, a good workout, a chance to enjoy the fresh air and I really like it. But occasionally it's not so fun. Like the time I went skating during flying ant mating season. Holy Ick Batman! Flying ants everywhere! Now, I know that they are just bugs and relatively harmless bugs at that, but for some reason they really ick me out. They just look gross! Of course, swarms of any kind of bug, even cute ones like lady bugs or those cute little tiny gold beetles would probably be gross too, but for some reason, flying ants are particularly uggy.

So, I got out of the car and saw a bunch of them flying around. Not so bad. Just a few bugs, right? So I put on my skates and headed out. Ick, a few bugs on my shirt - just shake them off. Make sure I breath through my nose, not my mouth. Don't want to breath the little buggers in. Alright, a few more on my shirt. And a few in my hair and on my helmet. I can take it. After a couple of miles I'd had enough. I couldn't take it! They were all over the place. So, I turned around and headed back. Return trip same as the way out - bugs in my hair, on my shirt, on my pants. I finally got back to the car and they were all over the car! Eeeewwww. So I opened the door and threw myself inside, slamming it behind me. Thank goodness only a few followed me in. Oh, it was so so so so gross. They were all over the windshield and the mirror. It was like Hitchcock's The Birds, but different.

Then there was the time I tried to skate in the wind. Now, I've skated in the wind before. It's a lot more work if you're fighting the wind, but it can be done, usually. This time was downright ridiculous. I swear it must have been blowing at 40 miles per hour. I didn't realize how windy it was or I wouldn't have tried. I got my skates on and headed out. And then realized Wow! It's windy. But I gave it a try. I fought and fought the wind. My thighs and calves and feet and butt were screaming after just a few yards. I kept trying, but if I slowed down at all, I would come to a complete halt and at one point even rolled backwards. OK! That's it. I gave up. After only 1/2 mile or so. It was pretty funny actually, I had to keep pulling over to the side (which I never do) to rest and try to wait out the gusts. But it was no use.

However, the way back was a piece of cake. All I had to do was stand there and let it push me back. I rolled pretty darn fast. As I was almost back I saw an older guy struggling with the wind. I just shook my head, then told him the way back was much easier. As I was finishing removing my skates about 5 minutes later I saw him heading to his car too.


Monday, November 8, 2010

Crispy Potato Balls and Other Tasty Things

I was cleaning up the other day (about time!) and came across some recipes I had cut out of a magazine in the spring. And let me tell you - I don't know how I could have just set them aside and forgotten about them. I was drooling just looking at them. An awesome chocolate loaf cake, a vanilla tart with a nutmeg crust, some divine shortbread sandwich cookies. Drool! And even some non-sweet foods like crispy potato balls and a delicious looking chicken dish. Wow - I hit a gold mine with that magazine.

So now I need to start cooking and baking. I'll share results and recipes and if things come out as good as they look.


Friday, November 5, 2010

I Leave a Trail of Items Behind Me

Why, oh why do I do it? I go to the grocery store for a handful of items. Just a few. Plenty of space in one of those little hand baskets for the items I need.

Or maybe not . . .

There is always something extra. Oh, potatoes are buy one get one free! And I need potatoes. OK, put both bags in the hand-basket. Oh, and the gallon jugs of Hawaiian Punch are on sale. Grab one of those. Oh, look. Toilet paper - you can never have enough toilet paper and who can turn down a sale like that? 20 rolls for only a few bucks! Oh, and look. Cases of soda on sale. I finally get to the checkout with two or three things under each arm, Two things dangling from the fingers of my left hand, an overflowing, carefully-balanced pile in the hand-basket in my right hand. A trail of items behind me.

Will I ever learn?


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Red-Eyed Demon-Rat

What, again with the evil gerbil? Get over it already! But I can't! He's truly evil! And he's living in my house!

An Evil Gerbil Haiku:

Gray furry cuteness,
A cloak hiding pure evil,
Living in my house.

Red-eyed demon-rat.
Disguised as a pet gerbil.
How long do they live?


Monday, November 1, 2010

Moved To Poetry By a Bright Orange Tangerine

I recently bought a bag of tangerines at the grocery store. Since it's not really citrus season I didn't expect them to be very good, but I'm optimistic. I'm a big fan of oranges and minneolas and honeybells and the occasional grapefruit. I like lemon and lime flavor. If it's citrus, it's usually pretty good. But I've gotten my share of stringy, flavorless, dry, tough oranges at the wrong time of the year. So I was pleasantly surprised. So much so that I'm now on my second bag of them (over several weeks - not in one sitting) These tangerines are delicious! Very juicy and sweet! So good in fact that I was moved to poetry.

A Tangerine Haiku:

Bright orange tangerine
Burst of sunshine in my mouth
Juices dripping down


Friday, October 29, 2010

Is He Gnawing on a Carcass?

 So, we have a betta now. Yep, just what we need - another fish. It's a red crown-tail betta.
So, let's see - we have the aquarium with:
  • One fancy guppy named Shiny. He's the sole guppy in the tank because I suspect he's been terrorizing and brutally murdering the few friends we've put in the tank with him.
  • One sweet little loach. Technically his name is Cord, but we just call him Loachy. He's like a tiny snake-fish. He slithers all over the tank in the cutest way. Very entertaining!
  • Two albino catfish named Whiskers and Zoidberg. They are the sweetest things. We got the second one because the first seemed lonely. How can you tell if your catfish is lonely? I have no idea, but he seemed to be moping around. Now that we have two they both wiggle their little fishy bodies all over the place and both seem very happy.
  • One african dwarf frog. I have no idea what his name is. He has a name, I just don't remember it. He's cute enough, but boring and you really don't see him much so I tend to forget he's there.
  • Two new little ghost shrimp. I suspect that these guys also terrorize each other and suspect that we will be down to one, probably the larger of the two, pretty quickly. But they were only 49 cents so I won't be too upset if one disappears.
Then we have the feeder guppy bowl with 4 unnamed female feeder guppies. They look identical so we would never be able to keep names straight anyway. Especially now that 'Crooked Tail' is gone. She was the only one who looked different than the rest. They share the bowl with 4 black mystery snails. (Frisky and Mister Sinister's children). I've discovered that snails are foul, dirty little creatures and that the aquarium is much much easier to keep clear with the snails out of it. Don't get me wrong, I think they are cute and I love to watch them crawl around the tank and use their little siphons and provide shelter for the guppies who like to hang out underneath them, but they really are dirty. And smelly. Don't forget smelly. Oh, and you think a live snail can stink up a bowl? Try smelling a dead one! Whew that's nasty. Anyway, only one of the snails really has a name and that's Snailerbiggius. He is quite large! The others are interchangable and sometimes go by Snailermediumus, Snailersmallius or just 'That Snail There'.

Then there is the bowl with the 4 mail feeder guppies. Again, these guys are unnamed mostly because we can't tell them apart anyway. One is slightly smaller than the others (and seems to be harrassed by the other 3 because of it) but he still has no name.

And just to mix things up, I added our new betta to the male guppy bowl. Now, I know that betta don't mix well with other fish and I would never put it in with something with fancy fins like another betta or a fancy guppy, but I read online several people who had luck mixing betta with boring, relatively placid fish like feeder guppies. (and whatever you read online must be true, right?) All depending of course on the temperament of the particular betta. We had a betta several years ago and we really like him. Velvet was an awesome fish. We got him at a wedding - he was a party favor - each table had one in the center. He was a beautiful dark blue. We had him for quite a while until he died of some fin disease. Poor Velvet.

Well, the new one (as yet unnamed) is a red one. I'm hesitant about red pets. After all, there's the demon gerbil with the red eyes. He is uncommonly evil! I hesitate to give him food because he will attack my hand when I put a handful of food in the cage. He even bit poor little Doodlebug and drew blood and that was through the bars of the cage! I've considered (not seriously) ending his life in a number of terrible ways but then I'd have to touch him and he'd probably chew my hand right off. I swear we all have nightmares about him escaping his cage. Seriously. He's that evil. For a short time the kids decided that he wasn't evil. He was just afraid. Afterall, he's just a little animal, right? Wrong! We've all decided at this point that he is pure unalterated evil. (I sense a horror novel in the making)

But, back on track. Red pets. Red is a warning color in nature, is it not? Red snakes are often poisonous, red bugs are often foul tasting, you get the idea. So getting a red fish, and hoping he's not too aggressive to live with some guppies is pretty silly, but hey. I'll give it a try.
He seems to be doing OK so far. He will chase the guppies, but gives up quickly. I did see him with his head in the castle, which is the guppy hiding spot (I didn't think he'd fit) and assumed he was probably gnawing on a carcass, but no - so far so good. We'll see if it continues.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sweetilicious Squish

Some haiku to honor halloween Peeps - those squishy, tasty, pumpkins, ghosts and cats:

Peeps. Marshmallow Peeps.
Sugary crunch, fluffy squish,
Soft, tender and sweet.

Peeps. Marshmallow Peeps.
Chickies, Bunnies . . . and pumpkins?
Not just for Easter.

Peeps. Halloween Peeps
Pumpkins, ghosts and chocolate cats
Sugary squishness.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Looping, Swooping, Swirling, Crazy, Head-Circling Butterflies

 So, just what have I been up to lately you ask? Oh, nuthin'. Well, a little bit of stuff. Let's see. Halloween is coming up. The butterfly costume is coming along nicely. We have a brown dress covered in leaves and butterflies. I may add a few twigs now that I think of it. And we have several hair combs all decked out in butterflies - looping, swooping, swirling, crazy, head-circling butterflies. And some moss and bird nests for head wear and shoulder wear. I think this one is almost done.

And, what is today? Oh, it's Tuesday. And when do I need the other two costumes done by? Friday. What?!?!? Friday!?!?!? Yep, that's where I am. In the holy-crap-I-will-never-have-enough-time-to-finish-this phase. Who needs sleep?

I started the Pac Man and Blinky costumes Saturday, but didn't get as much done as I had hoped. I spent some time sprawled across the deck cutting out huge sheets of foam board with my utility knife, scoring them and piecing them together with duck tape (Quack! Here at Ginormous Duck it is duck tape, not duct tape!) and masking tape. I have Pac Man mostly done. It's awesome! And now, as I write this on Monday evening, I have Blinky mostly done. The pieces are cut out, taped together and looking great.

Now, when I say almost done, I mean the cutting and taping is almost done. Let's not forget that I need to come up with some sort of strap contraption so the kids can wear these things without having to hold them up with their heads or their widdle arms. And they still need painting. They are both just white foam board right now and need some paint - hopefully one coat will do it.

And, while I'd like to say I planned it this way, I have to admit it just sort of happened. But Snicker's Pac Man came out so that he will be able to sit down while wearing it. (Assuming he has a bench to sit on with a lot of room). And Doodlebug's, well, his is veritably ginormous so he'll be able to sit down inside it. Maybe I'll build a bench in there. There's certainly enough room.

Doodlebug's already had to have his re-engineered slightly. The first plan would have ended up with him in a massive costume, with only his hands sticking out the sides. Not his arms, but just his hands from the wrist down. That would make it very hard to do anything. Now, with the new plan, he can have more arm exposed if he chooses. Of course in both the Pac Man and the Blinky they won't be able to get their hands together which will make it hard to hold a trick or treat bag, but hey, we'll work around that somehow. There's plenty of time, right?


Monday, October 18, 2010

Doo-Dads and Thing-A-Ma-Bobs

Over the years we've had our share of trips to McDonalds. Much less frequently now - it's too expensive, too fatty and salty and just all out unhealthy - at least for the really yummy stuff, so we've scaled back (much to the kids regret). But we've managed to experience quite a slew of Happy Meal toys over the last 10 years. From tiny little dolls to plastic cars, movie-related gee-gaws to pop-up, flip-over, twist-around doo-dads, light-up thing-a-ma-bobs to glowing whats-its. All of them fun.

For about 5 minutes.

Then they are tossed aside and finally trashed. But the one that has stuck around all these years, the one with staying power, the one that we still pick up whenever we come across it and spend 10 minutes playing with is a tiny little hand-held video game. I think it's a Sonic the Hedgehog game. A little circle-y shape careens down a road, avoiding x's and squares and gobbling up dots. There are 4 levels and it gets faster with each level. We must have got those over five years ago! And we still play with them whenever they surface from the bottom of the toy box! (I think we have two of them). Now that was a worth the cost of a happy meal!

As for all the others. Well, you can't have a hit every time. Or even much of the time apparently. We have a few that earned more than the trash can treatment - there are some little plush penguins still kicking around, an iDog wanna-be, a Ty lion or two, even a Kidz Bop CD, but nothing quite as thoroughly enjoyed as that little game. Where is it? I want to play!


Monday, October 11, 2010

Barbara Hindenburg Duck

This is Barbara Hindenburg Duck. Barbara being her first name, Hindenburg being her middle name and Duck being her last name of course. She's one of us here in the Ginormous Duck family.

And how did she come by this unusual and delightful name? Well, when the kids were much younger they were fans of Veggie Tales. Those wonderful cartoon vegetables that teach lessons on being good human beings, often through the retelling of bible stories. It's very kid-friendly and fun. Dave and the Giant Pickle was a favorite as was King George and his Ducky. And one of the best parts of the show was the "Silly Songs With Larry" segment where Larry the Cucumber sings some very silly song and is often interrupted by Archibald the Asparagus who is very proper and doesn't approve of the silliness.

Everybody wants a water buffalo, yours is fast, but mine is slow. Where do you get them I don't know but everybody wants a water buffalo-oooo.

Everybody wants a baby kangaroo, yours is pink, but mine is blue. Where do you get them I don't know . . .
Another of these songs was Larry the Cucumber professing his love for Soap Opera star Barbara Manatee.

Barbara Manatee, you are the one for me...
So, needless to say, this particular manatee struck me as a Barbara. Maybe it's the lips. (You can't seem them in the picture, but she has some nice pink lips.)

And Hindenburg adds a note of formality and soberness to this serious animal. And she is shaped rather like the hindenburg, don't you think? Oh the huge manatee!


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Ten Ten Ten Ten Ten

Alright, how cool is this? It's 10/10/10 at 10:10 AM. Awesome!


Monday, October 4, 2010

Mail-Order Larvae

 So, I just finished ordering mail-order larvae. That's right. Mail-order larvae. You see, Snickers just got a ladybug kit (a belated birthday gift). It comes with a nice little ladybug habitat and a coupon for ordering some ladybug larvae. Very exciting! So I placed my order and now we have to wait 1-3 weeks with bated breath for it to arrive.

And, to top it off. Remember this?

That cute little blackberry eating monstrosity I discovered a few weeks back? Do you know what it is? I couldn't believe it when I saw it. Drum roll please . . .

It is . . .

Ladybug larvae!! Yes indeed. Who knew? Apparently ladybugs are little cuties in more than one part of their life cycle. Very cool!


Friday, October 1, 2010

Halloween Costumes

 So it's getting closer to Halloween. We've started planning costumes. (Because I have a lot of spare time to make costumes, right?) Snickers and Doodlebug are going as Pac Man and Blinky (or maybe Inky, or Clyde). I'm rounding up cardboard and paint and hoping I can put something decent together.

And Sweet Pea is going as a butterfly tree. Yep, that's right. We saw a picture in a magazine. It involves brown clothes, lots and lots of fake butterflies, some wire, a hot glue gun, fake leaves and crossed fingers. It should be very unique.

The Hubster will wear his usual gorilla costume. And I'll put something together - I have witch hats, feather masks, wings, anntenae, striped tights, pointy shoes, etc etc etc. I'll come up with something. How about you? What are you going as this year?


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

No, I'm not gonna do it. I'm not gonna do it. imnotgonnadoitimnotgonnadoitimnotgonnadoit

 So I decided to get my flu shot the other day. I knew Walmart was having a flu shot clinic daily so I stopped there. The boys were with me. I didn't mention it to them at first because I didn't want them to get too stressed out and I wasn't sure they would give the shot to kids. (I was torn between giving them some time to think about it and accept it, and springing it on them so they didn't have time to think about it. I'm still not sure which would have worked better.)

Anyway, we get there and I tell them what I'm planning. They were none too happy, but not too stressed yet, afterall, it wasn't a sure thing for them.

Then we get to the flu shot table and I see the sign. Ages 4 and up. Hey, guess what boys?

Once again, they were none too happy. Or should I say, they both ran about 15 feet away, in opposite directions and started gibbering 'No, I'm not gonna do it. I'm not gonna do it. imnotgonnadoitimnotgonnadoitimnotgonnadoit.'

Needless to say, after much cajoling by me and the nurses, much yelling and whining by the boys and some bribery by me, Snickers and I got the flu shot. Doodlebug elected to put it off a few more days and go with Daddy to have it done.

Maybe next year I'll try warning them ahead of time. Or maybe not.


Friday, September 24, 2010


 The 'bucket of popcorn' cake came out awesome. It looked cool and tasted pretty good too. I used my favorite vanilla cake recipe, but that recipe is really best with a chocolate ganache frosting - something nice and chocolately, so it wasn't as tasty as I would have liked, but everyone seemed to enjoy it. Here's a picture of it:

The hubby had a nice birthday and doesn't seem to mind too much that's he's now as old as I am. Well, he'll never be as old as I am. I'll always be 5 months older. But now he has the same number I do. 40! A nice round number I think. It's even. It's divisible by 2, 4, 5, 8, 10 and 20. It has a 4 in it. And a 0. It's less than 41 and other numbers higher than 41. It's a good number!

Here are a few other pictures - the sheep cake:

And the sheep cake's socks:
And here he is all lit up. How pretty:

And some matching sheep cupcakes (I had to get some chocolate in here!)

And the Sheldon J Plankton cake:
Next up is some sort of cake for the 'Squirrels in Costume' party. Yes, that's right. Squirrels in costume. How's that for a theme? I love it! I don't recall how Sweet Pea came up with that, but we were brainstorming one night (when she was supposed to be sleeping) and somehow came up with that one. (It must have been very very late). Even better than Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings. Certainly more imaginative! So now it's time to plan invitations, decorations and the cake.