Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Cone of Shame

Last week, M-dog had surgery to repair a torn ligament.  Her recovery comes with certain conditions, including a three-month restriction referred to sternly by the vet and her typewritten handout as "confinement."  She must also don a plastic cone/collar, so that she does not become a friend of self-mutilation during the healing process.

Mazie does not "do" confinement or cones well.  
The resemblance is uncanny, no?  

We're also supposed to hold up her leg while she goes to the bathroom, but she refuses to go if I'm touching her.  She whirls around in her Elizabethan (or Coneheadian)-style collar, and glares at me like this: 


Anyway, it's been a week since the surgery, and she's already trying to use her leg, way ahead of schedule.  In this case, overachieving is not a good thing.  Overall, she's been a good sport, and has avoided the worst item on the no-no list: jumping.  That is, until...

We took her for her recheck at the vet this afternoon, and she just about lost her doggy mind with excitement, clearly having no memory of the fact that this was the place where she had been anesthetized twice, X-rayed, and cut open as of late.  

As soon as we got out of the car, she leaped over my shoulder and the cone burst open, so I had to crouch down in the parking lot and try to keep a very excited dog calm (and expletives don't work, in case you were wondering) while I closed it again.  I'm sure the receptionist saw us through the glass door and thought that I was only putting it on for the purpose of the appointment.  I mean, that's what I would think.  Once I fixed it and we headed toward the office door, Mazie tugged at the end of her leash, gasping for air, and banged full force into the door with her helm (another fun nickname for the cone of shame).  

She made it in alive, however, as did I, and then the jumping started.  The jumping that we hadn't seen for a whole week, and that she was apparently saving up just for the vet to see.   

After being reminded multiple times of the importance of not "letting" her jump, and the need to keep the jumping dynamo in confinement, and after my declarations of "I swear, she hasn't been like this until this moment" fell on skeptical ears, I gratefully received the news that Crazy Mazie was healing well, and that her stitches would be out in a week.  

That is, if we make it that long.  Mutt. 

Monday, June 27, 2011

A Case of the Mondays

Even though it is summer, and summer Mondays don't qualify as real Mondays, today still felt like a typical Monday to me.  Mondays always seem to come with a catch. 

Maybe it started when I slept through the clock radio alarm and woke up with the words "asteroid" and "Michele Bachmann" in my head.  Or when I burned my tongue on my coffee.  Three times.  Or when Zoe's summer school class finished, and we drove for 20 minutes until I realized that I had left my purse behind.  

Monday.  

I spent hours this morning studying recipes I'd never made before but wanted to try.  I was careful in my planning, not wanting to waste time or money on a mediocre dish.  I pored over the pages of too-long-neglected cookbooks, trying to activate taste memories, imagining flavors and thinking about what side dishes would best complement my sure-to-be-masterpieces.  I even factored in options for leftovers.  I likely spent more time on this list than people spend writing their vows.   

After compiling a beautifully poetic grocery list and revising it twice, I then set out for the store with Miss "Are We Done Yet?" Sprott (and my purse).  Item number one on the list was a much-coveted beef brisket.  Alas, there was none to be found. I stood, unbelieving, in front of package after package of meat that wasn't brisket, suddenly disoriented and purposeless, my plans for greatness thwarted, my grocery list wilting in my fingers, until Zoe brought me back again with a curt, "Are we done yet?"  

Sadly, I will not be getting my B-to-the-R-to-the-I--S-K-to-the-E-to-the-T on this week, it seems.   

Oh, Monday. 

There is always a silver lining, though, and that is also the way with Mondays, I've found.  It all came together, eventually.  For instance, looking back on today, I've learned that Michele Bachmann and asteroids may really have more in common than I thought.  I also discovered that by the fourth try, my tongue was so numb it didn't burn when I drank my coffee.  I avoided spending money since I didn't have my purse with me when temptation called.  Finally, although I couldn't locate my brisket, I am going cow hunting tomorrow.  Kidding.  I'll try another store tomorrow.  In the meantime, I'll be attempting the first chicken pot pie of my life.   

There was also a package waiting for me when I got home today, from Two Peas in a Bucket, full of scrappy goodies, so that helped my mood.  

I'm also happy to have a page featured on the October Afternoon blog today.  

The challenge?  Integrate words and pictures from OA products into your journaling.  I had a lot of fun with this one, and will definitely be trying this approach on future layouts. 
Looking at this layout makes me jones for chocolate chip cookies.  I need to make some again, and soon!  They're easily the best chocolate chip cookies I have ever tasted.
Another page that I'm excited about is one I've created with the July Jenni Bowlin Mercantile kit and the "Kite Strings" add-on kit.  There have been sneaks circulating on the JBS Inspiration blog, on Pinterest, and on the JBS message board, and this is one of them:  
I think you will agree that this is one of the most beautiful kits EVER in the history of EVER.  It also includes two exclusives (only available in the main kit) -- a butterfly mask and a "Soda Water" stamp.   Yep, this kit could most definitely get me through many Mondays, this I know.   

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Opah!

One of my summertime resolutions was to cook a lot more often than I have been (which should be easy, as I don't cook very often on weekdays during the school year).  So far this week, I've been having fun in the kitchen, and my family (and my tummy) love me for it.  We've had baked salmon with roasted potatoes and brussels sprouts, roast chicken and gravy (mmm...gravy...) with roasted carrots (and leftover potatoes), and lasagna with garlic bread. Good eats.

Tonight, I made furikake crusted opah.


Our favorite restaurant used to be Brew Moon, until the menu started to change, the quality started to lag, and the restaurant closed.  For years, though, it was an amazing restaurant, and easily, next to the beer crackers (and, my husband would argue, the beer), the best item on the menu was the furikake crusted opah with beurre blanc sauce.  A few months ago, I saw some opah in the market, and decided to improvise, based on a memory and a hunch.

It turned out wonderfully, and it came together so quickly.

I dip the fish in some egg, and then coat it with a mix of panko and furikake.  The fish is seasoned with some salt and pepper, and pan fried in a little bit of butter and olive oil.   Once I flip the fish, I usually add a little more butter and another sprinkling of salt and pepper (just a little).  I remove the fish from the pan when it is done, and then add some white wine to the pan to deglaze it.  I pour the resulting "drippings" over the fish, and serve the fish with some rice, bok choy, and snap peas.

It's a perfect weeknight meal, since it takes only minutes to prepare (although if you want it with rice, like we do, you'll have to wait for the rice to finish). Altogether, though, from the point you turn on the rice cooker, start the fish, and throw together some vegetables, you'll be eating in about 30 minutes.

I'm not sure what's next on the menu.  I want to push myself to try new recipes, especially ones that can come together quickly.  This way I'll have a repertoire of recipes to draw upon when summer ends and the busy school year begins again.   Any recommendations?  I'd love to hear what's cooking in your kitchen.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Macking on Paper

For me, summer lovin' means paper lovin'.  Awwwwright.
I've been spending a lot of time with paper in my hands,
and it has been sweet, sweet, sweet.

I have cozied up to many a pretty piece this summer
(and have even fallen asleep with a few -- whoa)
and have experienced different dimensions of adoration.
Here are those I hold near and dear to my amorous paper heart: 

There's patterned paper love...

I've got my head in the clouds with 
"Golden Hour" from Sassafras's Sunshine Broadcast line,
my heart is quickening over the verses and musings
I'm being schooled in the art of paper love
care of BasicGrey's "Magna Cum Laude" from the Oxford line,
and oh, the drama -- I'm torn between the A side and the B side
of BasicGrey's "Daily News" paper from the Out of Print line,
and the same can be said for the "Album" paper from the Jenni Bowlin Haven line. 
I can't wait to get October Afternoon's Boarding Pass into my clutches.

Then there's magazine love...

I played hard to get for a long time with this magazine. 
I used to roll my eyes at the very idea of Vogue, since everything within it
seemed so detached from reality and so very out of my reach,
but years of Sex and the City and seeing The September Issue gave me
a new appreciation for the mag.
It is detached from reality, but that's the fun of it, these days.
My favorite layouts are those that have clearly been influenced
by the venerable and brilliant Grace Coddington.
(Source)
Even the mag's ads make for some curious fun....
but I have never been so tempted
to move beyond admiring from afar
as I was when I saw this DKNY ad from a few issues back:
Agh, that blazer. Want.
Now that's love at first sight.

Speaking of guilty pleasures, I'm also a fan of InStyle magazine.
It feels kind of like a massive ad at times, but ooh...pretty colors. 
I know, I know, when it comes to love, looks shouldn't matter,
but from time to time, it's okay to indulge.
Date the tight end, but marry the chess club captain, you know? 

And then there's book love...

 These books will stay with me forever. I'll never be the same again. 
I'm on the third book right now, getting more and more attached.
I wake up every morning with it, and go to sleep with it at night.
Alas, all good things must come to an end, 
and this book most definitely confirms that.

There you have it: my (current) paper loves.
It is a groovy kind of love, really --
not an aberration like bill love, or tax form love.

Care to share your current paper crushes?
Hook me up!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

He's the Man.


He really is the best father I could have imagined for our daughter.

He dons the shirt she gave him
(which spells out DAD in binary code),
grabs the sunglasses from her face,
puts them on, and smiles unassumingly,
as if wearing bright aqua shades is just his thing,
and makes her laugh, laugh, laugh.

There aren't enough fathers who make their daughters laugh.
I scored BIG when I snagged this guy.

He's been teaching her chess,
and now she's obsessed.
He shares his passion for his career with her,
and is trying to persuade her to consider a future in computer science.
They play Dead Nation together
while I cringe.
They both share the same cosmic connection to the cat,
while the dog and I shake our heads at that craziness.
They work on math homework together
the way that some cooks will work together to perfect a recipe.
She has his beautiful blue eyes,
and he has her heart
and mine.

Happy Father's Day!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Men.

Why are they so hard shop for?
Father's Day is just a few days away, and I'm drawing a blank.
I've got the card ready...
(Supplies: October Afternoon Rocket Age, Report Card Alphabet Wild Card, 
and Thrift Shop Wild Card)
but I'm really not sure what to do as far as the gift is concerned.
Or should I say gifts, rather, as I have more than one father on my list
(none of whom are actually mine, interestingly enough).
Shopping for Other People's Fathers' Day is TOUGH! 

So...if you have any ideas...send them my way, por favor. 
I could definitely use the help.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Not Every Post Title Can Have the Word "Summer" in It. But This One Can.

Summer soundtrack...
Summer scrapping...
Summer eats...
Summer school...

Wait, what?
My daughter's thoughts exactly.

Friday, June 10, 2011

At Long Last

We've been having a great summer so far...
and I finally have a few pages to share!

Yesterday's October Afternoon blog post featured an amazing sketch by Wilna Furstenberg, who can do no scrappy wrong, in my eyes.  How lucky was I to team up with her to riff on the same sketch?
I used the new Sprinklers (in Robot Blue and Strawberry Cream) to create the background.  The black and white spatters are a kind of homage to another one of my scrap crushes, Debee Campos.  

I also put together a birthday card recently using October Afternoon's new line, Rocket Age.  If you know my track record with cards, this is kind of monumental.  As in, one-small-step, one-giant-leap monumental.

Over the past few days I've been plowing through my Jenni Bowlin Mercantile June kit, "Atrium" add-on kit, and project kit.  It's basically been reduced to teeny tiny scraps, which makes me both proud and sad.  More, please.




Now I absolutely NEED to steer you in the direction of the mid-month design team gallery.  The guest this month is the venerable and oh-my-wow-wow-talented Michelle Clement.  Every time I see one of her pages, I'm left thinking, "Now SHE'S the real thing." Seeing is believing, though, so go SEE.

One more share!  I even had time to dig in to my June Studio Calico kit, Paper Moon, to put together a quick layout last night:
Summer is definitely off to a scraptastic start. Har har.
Lame play on words, I know.
The post had to end somehow.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

I Am a Cyborg.

I really am still here.
And it really is still summer break.
I know it's hard to tell, since I haven't been posting all that often.

I've been taking an amazing online course on blended learning,
and frankly, I'm kind of obsessed.

I've been watching videos like this


and this


and this


and tripping out


and I've been questioning myself and my methodology,
and even though my brain hurts,
it's a good hurt.

I did make a little time to scrap last night,
so I'll have something to share soon, I promise!