Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Happy Mardi Gras

Happy Mardi Gras, everyone. These are a few pictures from our honeymoon in New Orleans in 2003. I love New Orleans. You will not find better food anywhere in the country. I hope the city has a safe and happy celebration this year. And I hope to get back down there sometime soon. Let the good times roll!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Monday Catch Up

Here is Daphne with her newest cousin, Jackson. Jackson came to visit us over the weekend with his mom and dad and his good boxer dog, Roscoe. We had a big time doing not much of anything. It was more about the fellowship than the action, and that is fine with me. It was a good visit.

After everyone left on Saturday, we decided to go on a field trip to Chrysalis Vinyards, which is a winery about 20 minutes away. It was a little chilly, but not too bad, and Daphne got to run around outside and see cows and geese, and we got to have a nice picnic lunch and a small glass of local wine. I can't tell you how much I am looking forward to spring. It is really going to be pretty here when things start to bloom. It snowed again yesterday, but only for an hour or so. Winter is fighting hard to stay, but its time is nearly up.

Today the sun is shining, but it is really cold and very windy. Tomorrow should be better. I saw a big giant hawk in one of our trees this morning, and had a great cup of coffee. I think I am finally figuring out my new french press. It came with NO instructions.

There goes my trash can, threatening to blow down the street...be right back...

OK. Rescue complete. Anyway, hawk, good coffee...this day is starting off pretty good. Gonna go hang out with Daphne now, if I can tear her away from Clifford. But first, maybe one more cup of coffee...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Paper Cup of Happiness

Cupcake making was not as treacherous and messy an endeavor as I thought, and here is the result. It's not so much cakey as it is brownie-like. Mmmmm. I was going to make frosting at nap time, but they don't need frosting. What they really need is a nice big scoop of vanilla ice cream. But they are fine on their own. This day is getting better.

Still Awating Spring...

Well, it is a truly miserable wintery day. It started off OK, with giant pretty snowflakes. But that has turned to sleety rain and bitter cold, and from what I am told, the Big Wind is returning tomorrow. Y'all know how I feel about the Big Wind. So, there is nothing else to do on a day such as this but to make cupcakes. There was a lady in the Williams Sonoma outlet the other day going around telling everyone that their organic cake mix made the best chocolate cake in the history of the world, so I bought a box. I have been promising Daphne we could make cupcakes, and using a mix is really the only way to bake with her as my sous chef. It is necessary to make the whole process as quick and with as few steps as possible. I predict at least 30% of the batter will end up on her hands (when she sticks them into the bowl because she just can't help herself), and then subsequently in her mouth and all over her clothes, my clothes, the kitchen floor, and all other available surfaces within range. Just waiting for the eggs to come to room temperature, and the fun can begin.

The Williams Sonoma outlet store was also selling a great cookbook called One Dish Meals. Kev's mom bought it and I copied (don't tell) several recipes before she left. Last night, I made this one, above. It is Baked Sausages with Herbed Beans. I thought it was really good. I never ever use canned beans, so this was a little worrisome for me, so I also bought a bottle of Bean-O, and suffered no post-bean problems. One dish meals is where it's at. Thanks, Williams Sonoma.
OK...cupcake time. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A couple of Pictures

Here is the Peanut Plant - still going strong at seven weeks.

And here is our new coffee pot. Our other one cracked. This one is a French press. It makes darn good coffee. I just had some.

Another Action-Packed Weekend

Friday the 13th, Valentine's Day, President's Day, and houseguests, all in the span of four days. Phew! Here is a recap of the fun:

On Thursday, Kev's parents arrived, bringing with them two good puppy dogs. Daphne was excited to see them all. We had no food in the house, so we went to Fireworks (a local pizza place which has been highly recommended by the neighbors) and it was GREAT.
On Friday, I got the chance to check out Wegmans and I was not disappointed. In fact, I was so happy that I almost cried, right there by the fishmonger. This place is almost as good as Central Market. It has everything I have been missing in a grocery store, plus it has a day-care area where you can leave your kids (once they are potty-trained) while you shop. It was a happy happy day.
That evening, Kev's parents babysat so we could go out. We walked down to the neighborhood pub and had the best fish and chips I've ever had, and then went to see Slumdog Millionaire at the local Tally Ho theater. A good night out.
Saturday we went to the farmer's market, which is always fun. I went shopping with Kev's mom, and he played guitars with his dad.
Sunday we had a good breakfast, and after our visitors said goodbye, I read a book. It's been a LONG time since I've done that.
Yesterday, Kev was off work for President's day, so we got a couple house projects done.

That's just a few highlights. The weekend was mostly about family, good food, shopping, napping, and music. It was all good. And we'll do it all again this weekend and the one after that, as we have two more sets of guests coming. The perfect way to get through these last few weeks of winter. Spring will be here before I know it.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A Mighty Wind

Hi. I have been awake since 3:30am, and I am not happy about it. Some sort of storm came through last night, bringing no thunder, but huge gusty winds. Our 100 year old house is sturdy, but very very creaky when 60 mile-per-hour winds blow by. So, at about 3:30, it woke me up and I couldn't go back to sleep. I stayed in bed a while, waiting to be hurled into Oz, which thankfully didn't happen. So, at about 4:30, I just got up. It was pointless to try to sleep. Now, I am hurting with no nap in sight. Plus, I have to haul Daphne down to the Safeway in the stroller today because I have company coming and we have no food. I am hoping for, but not expecting, the wind to settle down a little before we head out. If it doesn't, I'll have to put on some roller skates, put a sail on the stroller, and windsurf to the grocery store.

I suppose it's a fair price to pay for yesterday. You cannot imagine a better day. It was about 68 degrees and sunny with a very light breeze. We spent the morning walking all around town, and the afternoon playing, mostly outside, with some of the neighborhood kids, who came for a play date with Daphne. Spring is going to be so great. Unless it's windy.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I Was Just Thinking

I could really go for a nice big loud thunderstorm. I cannot remember the last time I heard thunder. It looks like it might rain any minute here, so maybe I'll get my wish.

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch...

So, while Daphne and I were hanging out in Texas, Kevin had several days to himself. I am not sure he truly appreciated it. In my opinion, every single minute of rare alone-time should be savored, but I think Kev really missed having us around. I guess we are just THAT fabulous.

He actually got a lot done while we were gone, and I am happy to say he also went out and did some fun stuff around town and didn't spend the whole time cleaning and working. He did take very good care of the peanut plant, which you can see, above, is thriving. Now maybe we can manufacture our own peanut products without worrying about the Evil Peanut Disease that is going around the grocery store circuit. Shoot, I'll be happy if we harvest just one edible peanut. I think that would be cool.

He also managed to complete the recording of a new PPHPHB song! I say "new," but this song has been around for a couple years, waiting to be recorded. Sigh. There are so many songs that are back-logged due to having a baby and moving across the country and so forth. And I think I might have been kicked out of the band for poor participation. Kev thinks I don't want to be in the band, but it's not true. I really do. It's just hard to find the time. I'd really like to play my violin and my guitar again. Maybe someday. Anyway, it's a really good song, and I will give you a link to it, but you have to promise that you won't hold it against the song that it doesn't sound as good as it really is when you listen to it through crappy computer speakers. Figure out some way to put it on your iPod or something so it will sound better. If you want to hear it, go here and click on "The Beautiful People" (I think it's #5). The beautiful people are real people in Dallas who go around town for the sole purpose of being seen. They are very annoying, in a sad sort of way. I hope you like the song. It's all Kev. Maybe I'll be on the next one.

This is where all the magic happens, by the way. Our attic is the new music room. Sometimes we take Daphne up there and try to have family band time. It never lasts very long, but Daphne's getting bigger. Soon she'll be old enough for us to force her to take drum lessons so we can have the rhythm section we've always wanted. Just kidding. I won't force her. I can probably just bribe her with cupcakes.

Anyway, I'm glad Kev got some stuff done while we were gone, and I'm glad he missed us. We missed him, too. (Now, maybe he'll let me back in the band).

Monday, February 09, 2009


Well, last night, Daphne and I returned safely home from our big trip to Texas. As many of you know, I am afraid to fly, so when I do, I have to take a Xanax. It is great...it makes me all calm and able to fly without having a huge embarrassing panic attack, which is what happened last time I tried to fly without it. But the drawback is, the stuff knocks me out. It is almost 24 hours since I took it, and I am still kinda out of it. It amazes me that there are some people who take Xanax every day. It must be a lower dose or something, otherwise I don't know how they'd function.

Anyway, under such heavy sedation, I don't have it in me to blog a big blog. Suffice it to say, we had an EXCELLENT trip, and I got to do everything on my list except go to Central Market. I could have gone, but I chose not to. I think if I had gone in there, I might never have come back to Virginia. OK, I'm exaggerating. I can live with Safeway. For a little while. There is talk of a place called Wegmans, which I will check out and report back on. It may be the grocery store I've been looking for here in the Mid-Atlantic region. Or, I'll just have to make a bi-weekly pilgrimage to Trader Joe's.

I want to mention that I did get to watch the Mavericks, and they won 5 out of the 6 games they played while I was there. Woo-hoo! I can't even tell you the name of one guy on the Wizards. Does Antwon Jamison play for them? I like him. He used to be a Maverick.

The picture up there was taken at Sonny Bryan's where I got to eat good barbeque for the first time in a LONG time. The barbeque was followed by delicious blackberry cobbler, which nearly sent me into cardiac arrest. I haven't been that full in a long time. But it was worth it. Anyway, I took the picture because it illustrated creative use of Texas license plates. I still haven't decided what to do with mine. During dinner at Sonny Bryan's, Daphne befriended a table-ful of first and second grade boys. She introduced herself, and at the coaxing of their moms, they reluctantly shook her hand and talked to her a little bit. The next night, when my parents took her to the Black Eyed Pea for dinner, she was upset. "I want to go to that restaurant with the big pile of boys," she complained.

Lots more stuff happened, almost all of it fun. If you want to see pictures, please go here.

I have no idea when or if I'll ever be back in Texas, but I hope I am. It's not so bad at all, really.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Howdy Folks

Just a quick post to let you know we made it to Texas safe and sound, and are having a great time. I have been checking things off my list. At this very moment, I can smell my mom's spaghetti...we're having it for dinner soon. Texas tales coming soon, but now it's eatin' time.