Why do we drive on parkways and park on driveways?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Squash extravaganza!

I love fall, and "cold weather food." Thus, the crops of pumpkins and squash coming in mean I can play in the kitchen to my heart's content. My favorite so far is a pumpkin pie with a gingersnap crust. These two recipes are good, as well.

Squash soup

  • 1 butternut squash and 1 buttercup squash
  • 2 big onions
  • 1/2 c. butter
  • paprika, kosher salt and ground pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 c. chicken stock
  • 1 pint heavy cream

Quarter and roast the squash. While it's roasting, , caramelize the two big onions, sliced, in a 1/2c of butter. Season the onions with smoked paprika, kosher salt, and ground pepper. When the onions are a golden brown,  add the brown sugar, and let the onions finish cooking.

Add  1.5c of chicken broth and let it simmer a bit. As it cooks down, scoop out the roasted squash and add it to the pot. Add a pint of heavy cream, then hit the pot with a stick blender until it's velvet smooth.

Goes really well with a fresh, crusty bread.

Sweet Potato Pumpkin Dip
  • lb pumpkin
  • 1 lb sweet potato
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 2 tbs molasses
  • 1/8 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbs nutmeg
  • 1/2 tbs cinnamon
  • 2 tbs honey

Cut the pumpkin into four pieces and roast the pumpkin pieces and the sweet potato in a 350 degree oven for one hour.   After the pumpkin and potato are cooked and cooled puree them in a food processor. Melt the 1/2 stick of butter and in a large bowl mix the puree, melted butter and the rest of the dry ingredients. Mix well and serve as a dip or a side dish to a meal if you really want to.

Goes really well with graham crackers or gingersnap
Publish Post

Monday, September 27, 2010

A shameful lack of pop culture knowledge displayed.

Going over SnarkGirl's vocabulary sentences last week, I came across her sample for the word "treacherous:"

(No, it's not a political sentence, though I thought of a half-dozen as I looked at her spelling list.)

"Stay close to the candles; the staircase....can be treacherous."

This, of course, made me giggle like a Japanese schoolgirl witnessing her first Kanamara Matsuri, because it's a quote from one of the best God damned movies of all fucking time. That's right --  we're talking "Young Frankenstein," bitches, and my kid loves the movie as much as my husband and I do. We've been known to lob quotes at one another randomly, and I love the fact that she can join in with abandon, and get most of the quotes right.

She giggled fiendishly as I went over her work, and when I honked out a laugh upon reaching the sentence, she did a little happy hop-and-clap, and we shared a high five. She could not wait to turn her work in, sure that her teacher would appreciate her cleverness.

Being a Mel Brooks aficionado, and frankly, being surrounded by people (in meat space and the virtual world) who have the staggeringly good taste to appreciate the movie for the genius that it is, it never even occurred to me that there would be people out there who just didn't. Fucking. Get it.

Like SnarkGirl's teacher.

She came home entirely crestfallen, and asked me how anyone could not have seen such a great movie. I admit, I am puzzled myself.

Doesn't everyone appreciate Mel by-God Brooks?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Tale of Panther.

Walking through our neighborhood is always an adventure. The route to OctoBoy's school, in particular, is fraught with interesting sights. Panther is among them.

Panther is a mutt; he appears to be a cross between a Black Lab and an AMC Gremlin. He is the neighborhood "mean dog." Walking by his house, you're taking your sanity and hearing in your hands, because his yard is roughly half a block long, and he will bark his balls off for every inch of that fence. It's not a very secure chain link fence, either, so it rings and sings as he hurls his body against it in an attempt to devour you. A trip past Panther's house is a good way to be sure your adrenalin gets pumping.

The only one Panther will not bark at is Bruce, because Panther is not stupid.

On the way home from school, Ginger Beastie and I girded our loins for a second trip past Panther's domain, and ran in to Bruce again. He was amiable enough, as Ginge was willing to share her fishies with him as we processed by.

At one point, the sidewalk narrows, and Beastie and I nipped in from of Bruce and his owner to get by; at this point, Panther went bat-shit. He jumped at the fence, slobber spraying, barking apocalyptic-ally.  Ginger Beastie began to wail.

Bruce barked. Once.

I've never heard Bruce bark before. Holy shit. It was a deep, meaty, from-the-chest bark that sounded like Ragnarok.

Panther did a snap-roll backwards and lit out for the far side of the yard, still barking. Ginger Beastie goggled at Bruce comically, then laughed and dropped another handful of fish. 

We may have to time our walks to coincide with Bruce's more often.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Somewhere, a .gov think-tank is wetting their pants in glee.

The fact that anyone in the UK came up with this idea, much less thought it was a good one, is proof that the mentally handi-capable have overcome the odds and finally taken over:

From the article itself, "The UK's tax collection agency is putting forth a proposal that all employers send employee paychecks to the government, after which the government would deduct what it deems as the appropriate tax and pay the employees by bank transfer."

Yeah, you read that right.  If you live and work in the UK, and if such a plan were implemented, your boss would send Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (the Brit equivalent of the IRS) your paycheck, and they would take out the taxes they feel you should pay, and forward you the rest -- rather than the current system, where the employer withholds and sends in tax. 

Now, knowing government efficiency is pretty much the same all over the world -- practically nonexistent -- what are the odds that all will go smoothly? If there's a mistake, how long will it take to get a refund? Who determines what amount is reasonable? Is there appropriate security and transparency?

This is an utterly preposterous proposal. The fact that it even saw the light of day is disturbing. The person who came up with it ought to be publicly flogged.

Yet, somewhere in the backed-up plumbing of the IRS and the shit-impacted bowels of Congress, someone is thinking, "Holy shit I wish I'd thought of that!"

Form each, according to their ability...

I fell in to a burning ring of fire...

The corner down the block is the bus stop for several of the local schools, both public and private.  Each morning, children in uniforms ranging from green/khaki, white/gray, blue/white and red plaid/white, and children in plainclothes can be seen loitering around while moms observe the antics. Eight AM is a particularly busy time, as three buses come within five minutes of each other. Managing several children of school age, younger siblings (some confined to strollers and some not) can be an adventure.

For OctoBoy, waiting at the bus stop not only means he can catch up with his preschool girlfriend, Calla, every morning as they wait for their respective buses -- hers goes to the local public Charter School, and his goes to the Parish School. Notes are compared, wild rumors are started and quashed, and generally the commiserate on the nature of parents and teachers. It's cute.

This year, we have been joined by a new family, who has a daughter in the local cult academy. (No, really -- some stripe of extreme, primitive fundamentalism that advocates full-on speaking in tongues, serpent handling, praying away illnesses and attributing said illnesses to demonic possession, ahoy!)  Calla and OctoBoy were dubious, as the mom kept shooing her child away from "those Hellbounders."

The first two weeks were a wee bit awkward, but Calla's mom and I are fairly easy-going. Both of us were polite and non-committal to being witnessed to (Calla's mom is Lutheran, and I am Catholic), and tried to keep things to neutral subjects like the weather. Until this morning, when both of us were handed a fistful of Chick tracts apiece and given a condescending speech on the Rapture, and how we would be prayed for as we burned in the great lake of fire.

By a nine-year-old.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, over?  I'm being lectured on the state of my soul by someone who is four times younger than I, and four feet tall? I struggled to maintain a straight face and polite mien, while Calla's mom literally rolled on the ground howling like a hyena, quoting the good parts between gales of laughter.

I suppose it's wrong of me to hope that they decide on another mode of transport huh? I do not think I could handle a solid year of being evangelized to.

Monday, September 20, 2010

A good litmus test to keep in mind: **UPDATED

The "Jews in the Attic" test.

(Because I can't get the fucking comment to post, I'll post my reply to Dino here: "How about innocent travelers who just want to get to point B from Point A without being strip searched, body cavity searched or being asked to remove their prostheses?

Ever had a family emergency that necessitated flying right-a-God damned way -- no time to wait? Guess that isn't an option anymore. Maybe grandpa can schedule his stroke three days out next time...

Do I think this Admin is the modern equivalent of Hitler? No. However, I'll note that -- despite multiple campaign promises to the contrary -- they've managed to not only NOT repeal the TSA nonsense started under Bush, they've expanded that shit." )

Tha muthaship has descended...

...upon our house. SnarkGirl has decided to take up the string base, which means we gots the funk. The spirit of George Clinton has infused us, and we're forced to give it up at least five times a week, for thirty minutes at a pop.

Or rather, we will have the funk, once she gets the hang of it. Right now she plays enthusiastically, but not well. In fact, it's a great deal like listening to a cat being dry shaved with a straight razor when she plays with the bow, or someone bludgeoning a semi-'tarded giraffe when she plucks it.

She looks a wee bit like a rhesus monkey on the back of an elephant when she plays, as well, because her bass is enormous; it is both taller and wider than she is.

When Bitey sees her setting up, his eyes bug out, his tail bottle-brushes and he lights up for the outer reaches of the house. He'll burrow under quilts and pillows if he can find them. The dog will sit near her and "sing" along mournfully by howling.

All of this will culminate in two spring concerts: a jazz combo and an orchestral performance. She's already excited to perform, and she's diligently learning to "swing" the bass theatrically.

We just have to survive -- sanity intact -- until April!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Blessed Yom Kippur

Wishing those of the Jewish faith an easy fast and a blessed, peaceful New Year.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Pusilanimous, petulant peevishness is in no way Presidential.

Apparently a young man -- Luke Angel -- from the UK sent an e-mail to the White House, in which he referred to Our Dear Leader (cough) as "a prick."

In response, the Obama Administration has banned this young man from the United States of America for life.

As Alan and his commenters point out, this dude is going to be the most thin-skinned ex-President ever. This action makes him look like an over-sensitive Diva pitching the mother of all hissy fits. Political figures are supposed to be a bit above petty retaliations, are they not?

Seriously -- it may look like it's all vacations and photo ops, but Presidentin' is hard. It's not a job for pussies or lily-livers. One can expect that, whatever happens, roughly half the population is going to disagree with you at any given time. Throw in that whole First Amendment angle -- wherein everyone and anyone can offer up criticism, using whatever language they deem appropriate -- and you can expect to hear some not-so-nice things directed at you, your parentage, your spouse, your sexual proclivities and your relative intelligence.

I can say that I feel Barry O's ancestry is hirsute, colorful and bastardized -- which it is -- without fear of repercussion.Plus, I can say it without falling back on "I was drunk when I said it." I'll tell anyone who asks, straight-up, when I am stone-cold sober:

I think Barack Obama is a prick.

This is not a huge secret. A great many of my friends and relatives feel the same. God knows "prick" is one of the more tame aspersions I've cast on him.Those who don't feel similarly are free to feel as they do; we can agree to disagree. Hell, they can say I'm a prick, and I really give no fuck. I'll point out that worse -- much worse -- has been said about many previous Presidents.

In other words, critical and political commentary can be rough; wear your cup. 

You pathetic little prick.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The watches of the night.

Last night was one of those "NO SLEEP FOR YOU!" nights.

First, Ginger Beastie wet the bed, which necessitated a pajama change and bed stripping at 1 AM.  There's nothing like the screech of a cold, whiny toddler and the whiff of cold pee-sheets to wake you right up. It took me about half an hour to get everything straightened out, and by then, I was wide awake.

Three cats decided to play "Elephant Chase-ass," which involved gaining 100 pounds apiece, judging by how liud their treads were, and thundering up and down the stairs, over beds and under blankets.  They united long enough to torment the dog for twenty minutes or so.

I tossed and turned, for a bit, and was settling in as Bitey decided to engage in loud, slurpy personal hygiene at the foot of the bed. He seemed to spend at leas an hour on his personal regions before finding what must have been a particularly tasty and stubborn piece of toe jam; he chewed between his toes forever.

I booted him off the bed. He bounced right up.
I nudged him again. He dug his claws in.
The third push earned a "MMmmmrrrrrroooooOOOOORRRRRRWWWWWRRRRR!" of aggravation.

Consequently, this morning was rough.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


My eldest child was four months old.
I watched, transfixed and horrified, as events unfolded.

I have not forgotten the horror I felt that day, nor have I forgotten the rage I felt when it became clear that it was not a terrible accident, but a heinous, cowardly act.

I have not forgiven, either.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

In which a transportation officer's head is bitten off and swallowed whole.

SnarkGirl starts school -- fourth grade! -- tomorrow, and OctoBoy reports to first grade on Thursday. Uniforms are clean and laid out, lunches are pre-packed and backpacks are at the ready.  Now all we have to do is deal with the buses.

OctoBoy never received a bus assignment, so I called the school district's bus coordinator this morning.

"He doesn't get a bus. He walks."

"When did this policy change? He had a bus last year."

"No, he didn't."

Uh...what? I pulled out the Big File of All Things School-related, and found last years' bus assignment card, and read off the various number groupings on the card.

"Well, we don;t have a bus for him. You'll have to deal."

"What about the 27 other kids on his bus? What about the four other kids that go to the same school and share the same bus stop?"

"They're screwed, too."

"Did you actually tell everyone this, or were we all supposed to wait at the damn stop for a bus that was never going to show? Is your office run by spineless troglodytes with the collective intelligence of slime mold?"

"Uh...we'll get it straightened out by the end of the month."

"School starts Thursday, for God's sake. I'm calling Sister Meatball and letting her know about all this. I'm sure she'll be fabulously pleased and have some input."

"Sister....Meatball? No, we can handle this. She doesn't have to know!"

Muahaha, motherfuckers. Sr. Meatball is the Big Gun, er Nun, and she's a formidable opponent. She may be a wee little thing, with white hair and a saintly smile, but she has a glare that could drop a rhino at 50 yards, and she Is Not To Be Fucked With when it comes to her little ones. She is a full napalm strike in a habit.

I called Sister. Sister harrumphed muttered some suspicious imprecations and told me it would be dealt with.

A half-hour later, OctoBoy and cohorts had their bus woes straightened out.

Friday, September 3, 2010


  • Adjustment of "personal regions" (boobs or junk) should be confined to the restrooms. I do not care how cute you think the soccer player one aisle over is; no one needs to see you wrangling your puppies into place in order to show him maximum cleavage.
  • If you're going to jam your index finger up your schnozz high enough to retrieve gray matter, for God's sweet sake, do not pop it into your mouth and slurp it with obvious relish. 
  • Having retrieved any noxious bodily secretion (such as earwax), feel free to wipe it on your person, not the desk top.
  • If it's really that itchy, see Campus Health.
  • I don't mind if you eat in class, but bringing a nutcracker and a bag of walnuts is excessive.
  • Do not give pedicures to yourself or others in lecture hall.
  • I'm sorry you're out of EZ-Wide. However, textbooks are for reading, not seeding and stemming. Yes, I saw you tear the flyleaf out of your book and roll a phat one. That's why security  was loitering in the hall after class.
  • When I see you with your lap top open and a cheesetastic, distant smirk on your face, and the three girls behind you are visibly disgusted, I will come close your porn-laden lap top. I don't care if it was "getting to the good part."
Great googly moogly.

The most useful chart ever.