Friday, April 29, 2011

Sardines, Not Just For Breakfast

I think I'm getting a bit of blogging mojo back.

No knitting to show. I've got a couple of things that are coming down the river that will be able to be shown off soon. And I'm hoping to canoodle with Toni this weekend if the mini-men will let me.

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A couple of big things have gone down here.

One involves Dr. Mad Scientist. He wasn't recommended for renewal at his school.

Not surprising. There's a big old rant here about how no one should be judged by three 30 minute snapshots of their work. But I'll save it.

His supervisor, (who word on the street is also getting shitcanned) said he's a good teacher, just not in a Big Urban High School. And neither he nor I can deny that.

I think he would do well at an Urban-Lite school--like the one he went to high school at.

Nice thing about the whole situation is that he found out now--and not say August 31st, which is more typical of the way Newark schools tend to run. He's got plenty of time to hit the pavement.

And he has been. There's a couple of jobs he found that I think would be an amazing fit, but I'm not counting my seeds before they're transplanted.

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There's another issue that's been dragging me down that I'm hesitant to blog about until it's over.

Let's just say it directly deals, again, with this highly urban setting.

I've been battling home (or maybe just open space)-sickness as a result.

The other night I got undressed to take a shower. It's been warming up enough to keep the windows open at night (ugh). So I'm sitting there by the (curtained) open window nekkid and I can hear Next Door Neighbor Kid playing frisbee with his dad in their back yard/large driveway.

And then it hit me.

I was literally 50 feet away from them stark naked with only some sheetrock, 2x4s and 1960s siding separating me from them.

50 feet.

I mean I can watch these people make dinner from my bedroom without binoculars.

I know it's not that shocking to urbanites who have lived like sardines their whole life, but it's starting to wear thin on me.

But let me leave it on a positive note.

Since we're on the subject--would you like to see a picture of my nip?

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Catnip that is! Not sure what that plant is on the right--it's not basil which was there last year, but I'm gonna leave it and see what pops up. Maybe a pretty weed?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

If you're into that sort of thing...

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Hope you had a good weekend at the very least!

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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Ooof!

Well Grandma and Grandpa Mad Scientist have moved on to the next leg of their tour.

You see, when you live in Alaska and have children living in the Lower 48 and one of them does something like pop out a baby or get married*, you do the "Kid Tour" where you visit all of your kids by skillfully taking 1 week layovers in Newark before you continue on to Ohio to visit the next kid.

Basically they hung out with the boys while I worked. Dr. Mad Scientist is on Spring Break this week and Chunky was on his last week.

But of course, as promised, we went to Niagara Falls.

First up--No. We did NOT go to the Canadian side. Nothing against Canada, it's not really worth all the hassle of securing a passport for a toddler just to get a different photo op of some falling water.

That's the first question I get asked when I say we went to Niagara Falls and it's getting kind of tiresome.

But enough ranting! Our weekend in a quick photo-nutshell!

We rented a Toyota Sienna minivan and drove up there.

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Wow. What a sweet ride. Almost makes me want to buy a minivan. But I'm not quite there in my life. I'll keep rocking my modest sedan.

We got in about 5pm Saturday and checked into our hotel.

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Holiday Inn, Niagara Falls, New York. Great hotel. Very clean. Friendly service. Close to the Falls. Only problem was the toilet in our room backed up. But did I mention we brought our own plumber? Hee hee! Grandpa Mad Scientist!

We had dinner at the hotel's restaurant. I almost ordered this off the menu.

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But too much white whine puts me to sleep.

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Dr. Mad Scientist and Chunky made me sleep with Moochie. Yeah, I could never co-sleep with my kids. How does a 2.5' person take up so much room?!

But before I went to bed on Saturday night, Grandma and I hit the casino--my first time!

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I spent $20 and I lost $20. Dr. Mad Scientist won back $10 of it the next night. I think I'm too cheap to be a good gambler.

Sunday we set off to see the Falls.

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This picture is so dear to me--Chunky throwing gang signs, Moochie looking away, Dr. Mad Scientist trying to get him to look at the camera and Grandma and Grandpa with their eyes closed!

The Falls were amazing!

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The weather was less than favorable. It was very chilly and very windy (and it even snowed)! But even despite this, it was great. The crowds were light. They say in the summer the place is packed. No thanks. That would have drove me bonkers. As it was we were able to get great access for pictures and wonderful parking!

Later on in the afternoon we went to the Aquarium.

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The boys watching the sea lions swim around.

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We finished the day up by eating out at the Hard Rock where Moochie had to eat all the condiments and Chunky enjoyed doing air guitar solos.

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Overall it was a great trip! It was a lot of fun to see the boys get to hang with their grandparents. Especially Grandpa since the last time Chunky saw him, he was only 8 months old at the time.

This picture pretty much sums up Moochie's time with Grandpa--

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They spent all the time on the road there and back goofing around. Hee hee!

It was sad to see them go!



*Biggest Sister Mad Scientist gets married on the 29th!

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Checking Out As They Check In

Grandma and Grandpa Mad Scientist will be boarding their plane soon bound for Nueva Jersey.

The floors are all sucked clean, the bathroom has been wiped down and holy hell, the bedsheets have been ironed.

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Seriously? Why the hell am I ironing bed sheets? Who does this? I just felt they needed it.

If it was my Mom and Dad coming to visit, I don't think I'd bother. Ha ha! Sorry Mom and Dad!

I'll be back sometime next week or next weekend with lots of pictures of fun with Grandma and Grandpa and our trip to Niagara Falls (we're sending Moochie over in a barrel! Hee hee!).

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Monday, April 11, 2011

Manut Maid

My Dad had this guy that was his friend -- they were coworkers? Air Force buddies? Something...

But when they moved out to the Valley (the Matanuska Susitna Valley that is) from Anchorage or whereever the hell they were living, they felt the need to socialize with us.

They were originally from Georgia and they had three boys. Now the two older boys were numbnuts. The social equivalent of cold oatmeal. The youngest boy was more of a spazz. Like he had to make up for the personalities his brothers were lacking.

And the wife was kind of an airhead. But she with her thick Georgia accent gave our family some good schtick that has peppered my childhood and even yes, my adult life.

For example, one of the scant times we visited them at their house we were offered "gooey rolls" (cinnamon rolls to us crazy Northerners) and to drink she proffered "Manut Maid." Which is how she said "Minute Maid" in her Georgian accent--and how I have always pronounced it ever more.

So where am I going with this lame rememberance?

Cookie of the Week of course!

This name of this week's cookie, I feel, should be pronounced with a thick Georgia accent.

Pecan Praline Cookies

Pee-cahn Pray-leen Cookies!!

I wasn't too happy with the way the first batch of cookies turned out. But with some tweaking--i.e. adding a bit more flour to stop the massive spread these cookies did--they turned out great.

Sweet, chewy, and nutty.

Normally I don't post the recipes for Cookie of the Week because I get them from cookbooks. I see other dessert bloggers posting recipes straight from cookbooks--but doesn't that infringe upon some kind of copywrite? I realize recipes are a bit trickier than other written things, but when you gank it straight from someone's published book, I dunno. Things start getting gooey.

However, since I modified this recipe, post I shall.

Pee-cahn Pray-leen Cookies
(Pecan Praline Cookies)
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
3/4 cup butter
1 egg
1 teasp. vanilla
2 cups flour
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cream together the butter and the sugar. Add in the egg and the vanilla. Next add in the flour. And finally stir in the pecans. Roll into 1" balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 7 to 8 minutes. If you find the cookies spread and become flattened, add a 1/4 flour to the remaining dough.

Y'all come back now, ya hear?

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Friday, April 08, 2011

Keep On The Sunny Side

On the eve of what will probably be a shut down of the US Government (I won't go into it other than to say, "Stay strong my Government Weenies!*"), I have come upon a small anecdotal, completely unscientific sign that the economy is bouncing back.

Back when I wasn't up to my eyebrows in my paper pushing nightmare I call a job, and I used to be able to take a lunch hour--instead of shoveling a peanut butter sandwich into my mouth at my desk--I used to walk from Newark to Harrison to buy a bottle of soda.

To the unknowing, Newark is separated from Harrison by the beautiful (snicker) Passaic River.

To get there, you have to cross a bridge.

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Scene from the bridge I cross on to get from Newark to Harrison, circa August 2010.

On my way back from purchasing my soda, if I have change, I do this weird thing that I started doing two years ago when our firm moved to Newark and I started on my Friday Afternoon Caffeine Pilgrimage.

I leave a penny on the railing of the bridge.

Part of the reason I do it is because I know what small thrill it is for me to find a penny/nickel/dime/quarter on the ground. It's kind of fun to leave it there for someone to enjoy picking up. Plus, because it's on the railing, it's obvious that it was left there intentionally--not just escaped out of my pocket landing on the ground.

The other part of the reason is I'm just weird.

There for the longest time, every week the penny would be gone, assumably picked up by one of the other pedestrians crossing the bridge.

However, this week, when I crossed the bridge heading to buy my soda--I was greeted by my penny.

Bridge Penny

I seriously cannot remember the last time I trekked to Harrison to buy a lunch-soda. December? January? Maybe later than that??

But there was my penny in April!!

Perhaps people are starting to become more stable that they don't need to pick up my bridge penny anymore?

That's what I would like to think anyway.

* I am the offspring of two Government Weenies, I am related to many Government Weenies by blood and marriage, and I used to be a Government Weenie myself in a past life. Weenie is a term of endearment.

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Thursday, April 07, 2011

Emergency Knitting

Mr. Mooch has been cutting out his afternoon naps on the weekends.

Quite annoying.

So on Sunday when I pulled up in front of the apartment after running some errands and noticed this in my back seat--

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I turned off the car, cracked a couple of windows, popped in some tunes...

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And grooved on my car-sock...

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Got a whole half hour of sleep out of him before my damn neighbor walked up to the car and asked me loudly what I was doing just sitting in my parked car--waking up my little Mooch.

Grrrr!

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Wednesday, April 06, 2011

WIP Wednesday

I'm stalling...

I don't normally do WIP Wednesday.

But it's bath night. And Moochie hates baths/showers.

So you get to see a WIP.

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What could it be now?

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Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Quack Quack Honk

Duck.

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Duck.

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Goose!

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Moochie made me make a detour through the park when we went to buy a Sunday paper Sunday morning.

He loves checking out the "quack-quacks."

Can't wait till the baby quack-quacks hatch!

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Monday, April 04, 2011

Monday, Monday

You know what that means!

Cookie of the Week!

It's a recycled cookie. Not to be confused with a tossed cookie--meaning I've blogged about this recipe before.

I took this:
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homemade cranberry almond granola...

And made these:
Granola cookies

Mmm....granola cookies!

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Sunday, April 03, 2011

Fun On Wheels

A weekend and a half until Grandma and Grandpa Mad Scientist land in Nueva Jersey.

So I tackled some of the spring cleaning on my list. Aside from cleaning the microwave (oh blecccch!)

I cleaned out my car which was full of dirt, salt, kitty litter (don't ask) and glitter (from the art projects Moochie makes at school).

I also had to flip this--
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Forward facing.

Yes, I realize that Mooch is nearly 2 and a half now and he was still rear facing.

No, we didn't care about safety. We were just lazy. Installing a kid's car seat properly is a royal pain in the ass. Locking clips, towels, LATCH hooks...ugh.

I also took out Chunky's booster seat. Sniff sniff. He's surpassed the size/weight and age limits for state laws requiring booster seats--and the new recommendations they just came out with.

Mark my words, I'm going to have a 5th grader taller than me. Sob!

Anyway, moving Moochie's car seat front facing meant I had to take out the car trashbag that I had hanging behind his seat on the neckrest of the passenger's seat.

But it didn't fit anywhere. So I had to make a new one.

I had ordered some oilcloth in anticipation of this moment.

I bought a 1/2 yard of 2 types of oil cloth from Fabric.com and they mailed it to me on these gigantic industrial tubes.

The boys enjoyed them.

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Anyway, with a little measuring, and a little time with Toni Janome, I came up with this.

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A small oilcloth-lined bag. The oil cloth gives it stability and helps the bag keep its shape.

The whole thing fits nicely around my duct-tape festooned drink holder.

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And I have to say it matches my calico toll change sack and polka dot sock bag also adorning my now glitter-free car (those two things were gifted to me by other knitters).

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