Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Crazy Cat People

So today I'm starting a new feature of sorts that I hope will be weekly, because I find the topic hilarious. I plan to call it Crazy Cat People, and what it will basically be is a photo of something pertaining to cats that I have received in the mail recently.

The story goes like this. As you may know, my husband and I are kind of already crazy cat people. We love cats and we have two of them; brothers named Simon and Murray. We use a certain type of cat litter that lets you earn points toward a variety of cat-related products. You can get more litter, or cat toys, or -- as we opted to do recently -- a subscription to a cat magazine. Yes, I realize we have entered a whole new realm of cat-related insanity.

But the point is that after we signed up for the cat magazine, we suddenly began receiving the most hilarious things in the mail. It's mostly catalogs for cat-related products, but not just any cat-related products. These are things you have never seen unless you are close, personal friends with a seriously insane cat lady.

For example: Over the weekend we received a brochure for a Christmas tree statue that lights up and has kittens all over it. It was kitschy for sure, and, being the insane cat lady I am I actually considered maybe ordering the thing. Until I saw that it was $150 (!!!). See, these companies shilling this crap know that crazy cat people will pay almost any price for adorable, useless crap as long as there is a picture of a cat on it. Thankfully, I have not completely descended into madness quite yet.

On to the feature of the day! 

I received this in the mail yesterday and let me tell you ... every time I look at it, I laugh my ass off. I think I need to put it on the fridge just for shits and giggles.

It took me three tries to take a clear picture because I was laughing so hard. I'm not even sure why this makes me so hysterical. I think it's a combination of things. Firstly -- the pissed-off looking cat in the Santa suit. Secondly, the fact that this is a CAT FLAG. Like, you can fly this cat flag somewhere, presumably out in your front yard somewhere? Thirdly, they are threatening to give your beautiful cat flag to another collector if you don't claim it within 10 days. Nooooooooooooooooo!

And, you guys? I opened the envelope, and they have CAT FLAGS FOR EVERY HOLIDAY. The funniest one has to be St. Patrick's Day cat. I'll save that little treasure for another week.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

(Hecka) pork fried (brown) rice

In one sense, not being pregnant any more is a relief in that I can now eat a variety of things and almost none of it makes me want to barf! Win!

I've been taking full advantage of this. Previously all I wanted to eat was bread and slurpees. It is now safe to return to vegetables, meat, and a variety of seasonings. Before, even if I thought something sounded like a good idea for a meal, as soon as I would eat it, I'd decide I never wanted to eat that thing again in my entire life. I still feel that way about a few meals I made while pregnant. Shoot.

In any case, may I present pork fried rice?


You may be thinking to yourself: I see a lot of pork, and not a lot of rice. You would be right, my friend. That is because this recipe calls for half a pound of pork and I used a whole pound. I did this because I don't know what the hell to do with a leftover half pound of pork. 

Don't be like me. Be smart! Either use half a pound of pork or -- *gasp* -- double the recipe! It makes great leftovers.

This is an Everyday Food recipe, and the "sell" on this meal is that it's fast and cheap. Which is true, laddies. (I'm on an Irish accent kick. We recently finished the previous season of Sons of Anarchy, half of which takes place in Belfast. And now there's an Irish dancer on Dancing with the Stars this season. He's not good looking at all. Nope! Ahem.)

Here are your ingredients, minus your two main ingredients (rice and pork)!

That would be shredded carrots, lightly beaten eggs, minced garlic, minced ginger, soy sauce, rice vinegar, frozen peas, and scallions with the white parts and green parts separated and thinly sliced. Or impatiently sliced. Whatever floats your boat.

The instructions are easy as pie. Cook up the egg first, then take it out. Then throw the rest of everything else in a pan and cook it all up, then throw the egg back in and finally serve it up with sliced green scallions. It's lovely. It's delicious. It's de-lovely and delicious.

Now, another thing I did -- I used brown rice instead of white rice. I don't care what kind of rice you use, and neither does Martha Stewart. Just cook 'er up and eat 'er, lass!

Click here for the recipe!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Project: The Green Wall

There is exactly one person who loves the bright green wall in my living room. Her name is Erin, and she is me. I am her. She is I? I am she?

The story goes: I have a compulsion to paint things green. I chose an olive green color for the exterior of the house, and decided not to stop there. I chose a color from Kelly Moore called "green apple," picked an accent wall in my living room, and there is where the green has been for nigh on a year now.

Most friends who see the green wall ask something like: "Did you do this on purpose?"

Oh, yes, my friends. I did. I actually love it more every day. It's so Dr. Seuss. It's so bright and insane. I hope the neighbors see it through the front window and shake their heads.

Unfortunately, I am not domestic. My decorating skills are subpar, to say the least. It may have more than a little to do with procrastination and/or laziness, combined with a sincere lack of knowledge when it comes to knowing how to make stuff look good.

So what I had for a long time was a green wall. With a couple of weird things on it that were totally not cohesive and didn't make any sense. But that has all changed, my friends.

Now for starters, let us look at the before picture.

There is the green wall. Shown on the wall are a painting by my mother-in-law, and a mirror I found on sale at Cost Plus. In front of the green wall: a vintage record player with lamp and vintage glass tchotchke thingies, plus vintage coffee table. Both of these pieces are from my grandmother-in-law's home, and the lamp was a wedding gift five years ago from Crate and Barrel. Sorry for the weird photo quality, plus the end of Simon's tail in the bottom right hand corner of the photo.

It seems obvious that a person who is either lacking brain cells or is supremely lazy threw together what you are seeing in the photo above. It may be that both of those are true.

In any case, as I've mentioned, I am hell bent on starting and/or finishing a variety of projects these days, and the green wall was fairly high on the priority list. As it happened, my parents were moving and they offered to give me their piano since they won't have room for it in their new place. I accepted and last week hired a piano mover to go get it and bring it to the house.

Then on Friday I spent an inordinate amount of time hanging photos on the green wall. Let me tell you -- I think it took me three hours to do this. It involved a lot of measuring, leveling, hanging, and re-hanging when I realized my measurements were off. Good Lord. No wonder my lazy ass hadn't done this earlier.

In any case, here is the finished product. The lamp is too large and I'll be replacing it with something smaller, but other than that I am more than happy with the finished product. I even bought some useless decorative balls to put in a glass bowl! That is how dedicated I was to making this look like a properly decorated wall.

Tell me that is not a thing of beauty. Oh, shut up.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

One thing went right

Today, just a brief update.

Things went well yesterday. The ultrasound showed I'd had a complete miscarriage and there would be no need for a D&C. My relief about this is huge.

The rash I have, though? Is not pupps rash, according to the doctor. Apparently pupps rash never appears in the first trimester. It's just a massive coincidence that it looks like pupps rash and appeared 10 hours after the miscarriage.

What it may have been caused by is an organic bath soap I'd used two times. Since the rash appeared I switched to a hypoallergenic soap. It shows no signs of abating, so today I'm washing all towels, clothes, sheets ... anything my body comes into contact with that might have some sort of allergen on it.

Meanwhile, I have a few minor projects I'm working on today. More on those tomorrow...

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Ice cream

I've been on this kick, where I think I'm good to go. That I can go out in public like a regular human and do normal things without any problems.

And this worked initially. I went to the bank. I went to the post office. I went to the office supply store and the pet food store and the dry cleaner.

And then I went to the grocery store. Which any reasonable person knows is pretty much a minefield of mommies and babies. Except I'd either forgotten that or blocked it or something. And then there was this mommy, and her very cute chubby baby, and the mommy was staring adoringly at her baby and I had to remind myself to breathe in, then out, then in again.

And then I bought chocolate ice cream. And got a roll of toilet paper out of the trunk of my car -- tissue is tissue -- and spent a moment collecting myself before I drove back home. Part of me thinks this is an overreaction, although it was involuntary. I was nowhere near to even having the baby. It's not like I birthed a stillborn child or something; I had a good seven months to go. Part of me is fucking pissed. Part of me is exhausted. Part of me wants to punch my own face. All of me is tired of thinking about it and talking about it.

I'm not back to normal. That is becoming painfully obvious. I've seen this in friends, too. Strong women who have miscarried and said I'm really fine, actually. And then they realized later that they weren't fine, aren't fine.

Today I have a post up at Tired & Stuck. It's about the miscarriage. It's not for the faint of heart and contains unpleasant details. But I think it was important to put out there so there's something honest for women to read about this experience.

I'll move past this, I swear I will. Not today and probably not this week, but it's like any other loss; so acute in the beginning and then after time a dull ache.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Pupps Rash! *jazz hands*

Well this doesn't seem quite fair, but I've got a rash alllllll over my body.

It's called PUPPS RASH! You don't have to capitalize it, but I thought I would for shits and giggles, a la Dooce.

Guess who gets pupps rash?! Pregnant ladies! It often appears shortly after labor.

Oh, you guys.

So I basically got to have a mini-labor for two days (more on that tomorrow) and an itchy, hivey rash, but without any of the benefits that usually accompany the aforementioned shit-tastic things.

Eff you, pupps rash. Eff you very much. 


Let's not dwell on that shit storm.

Let's move along to more positive things.

Yesterday I bought a planner and an egg timer. I spent hours writing lists of things I should do every day, every week, every month. I thought of every minor and major project I'm trying to complete and wrote action plans. Getting all of that information out of my head and onto paper felt really cleansing. I feel like I have a plan, which is good.

My plan is ambitious and not for the weary, lazy, or procrastinating. It won't be easy, because I am often weary, lazy, and procrastinating.

But I have faith that in the next three months, a lot of major (and minor) projects are going to get finished. I've had enough of sitting on my hands. It's boring and maddening and dumb.

There will be more coming up on my projects, very soon. Til then, *itch, scratch, ouch, jazz hands*

Monday, September 19, 2011

New Day

The miscarriage happened conveniently over the weekend -- convenient because my husband was with me. We'd been worried it might start in the middle of the afternoon during the week and I'd have to call him and he'd drive like a madman to get to me.

It was a teensy bit inconvenient in that it started at 3 a.m. Sunday and ended(ish) at 6 a.m. but thankfully we didn't have any commitments and slept until noon after that.

I'm waiting until Wednesday to get into the nitty gritty details of the miscarriage itself, so I can post it to Tired & Stuck, which I'll of course link to here. Lots of you may not want to know those things, anyway, so all I'll say for now about it is that as much as I understood what was going to happen, I was physically and mentally unprepared for how it felt.

And I will say that now that it's over, I feel physically a lot better, albeit a little worn out. Mentally/emotionally there's a lot of relief. 

And I feel like starting today, I have a chance for a fresh start. Not to have a baby -- that's something I still have faith will happen at some point, but not soon. It's more that I feel I have a second chance to prove to myself that I'm not a slacker, and can make things happen in my life.

Anyone can make amazing things happen in their life if they work hard enough. I believe I really hadn't been putting forth enough effort in many areas of my life. I can hardly expect to be rewarded for what amounts to being a really impressive procrastinator.

So this is where I'm at mentally, today. It's a much better place than I was last week, when the lawns were dying. Well, the lawns are still dying, but I'm putting that on my list of things to stop procrastinating about.

I'm drafting my action plan with paper and pen; listing problem areas and the baby steps that are necessary to kill those problems. I imagine there will be many more posts about these issues and their resolutions in the very near future.

And now, as a woman I follow on Twitter wrote this morning: "New day, new day, new day. Got that, universe? New day."

Friday, September 16, 2011


I stopped watering the plants last Thursday. The list of things I gave a shit about had grown very small, and the front and back yards unfortunately didn't make the cut.

That's not too long to have neglected one's yard, really. One week. Some people go on vacation for a week and no one waters their yard and it's not a big deal. Some people have automatic sprinklers. We are not those people. I am the automatic sprinkler. The manual sprinkler?

Such has been the way of things here for one week. I managed to do one load of laundry. I did make it to the grocery store on Monday. Monday was the day I said: All you have to do is one thing at a time. Now you will brush your teeth. Now you will get in the car. Unfortunately once I was at the grocery store, I neglected to buy about half the things I needed, even though they were on my list. I'd stared at the list for a long time, sure I'd gotten everything, but come to find out ... not so much. 

This has also been the way of things. I'm looking for something, looking for something, looking for something. I know it's exactly where it always is but I already looked there three times and it wasn't there and then, finally, when I've looked everywhere, I find it exactly where I'd already looked three times. This is actually a little frightening, when it happens repeatedly.

I stopped taking my prenatals because they didn't make the list of things I give a shit about this week. I didn't care about the dishes, either, so I didn't do those for a few days, but then finally they started stinking too much and I begrudgingly washed them.

What I really wanted to do was drink lots of coffee and beer. Unfortunately, both turn my stomach. My body still thinks it's kind of pregnant and doesn't want that stuff. It was pretty good with martinis last weekend, though.

I think it might happen today. Or tonight. I thought -- maybe if I do something active, that will get things moving. So I scrubbed the shower. The shower was not on the list of things I give a shit about, and it still isn't, but if you had seen it beforehand, well... The shower needed scrubbing.

After that I was fucking tired. It doesn't take much right now, which also worries me. Emailing is mentally exhausting. There are a few people I need to email after I write this. Anyway, I was worn out, so I took a nap, and when I woke up, I was bleeding. This was a good sign.

This morning I felt very ill and worried I wouldn't be able to eat anything in case I needed to take pain pills during what I've started calling "the big show," or "the big party." So I spoke to myself. Look. I know you've got to do what you've got to do. I'm not going to stop that from happening. But you've got to lay off the nausea, dude. This can get done without nausea.

I watered some of the plants last night. I watered the back lawn. Not the front, yet. The back was worse. The spray nozzle had broken and wouldn't turn off so I just sprayed and sprayed and sprayed. I sprayed the dirt patches in the lawn and stared at the rainbows that sparkled in the mist when the sun hit it just right. There are still beautiful things.

This morning was cold and I stared out the back window and the lawn looks the same, just wet.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Holding pattern

One time many moons ago I was on a flight to Fort Myers, Florida, and the whole state was basically socked in with fog. It really doesn't matter what time of year you go to Florida. If you're flying in at night, there's going to be fog, because the whole state is just a big swamp. Humans got cocky and paved over some of it, but they never should have done that. Florida is an awful place that makes people do crazy things, and I blame the evil humours that rise out of the swamps.

We were stuck circling for about an hour. Looking out the window, I could see dozens of other airplanes circling, too, and the ground was just a white cloud. We were eventually diverted to Fort Lauderdale and bused in to Fort Myers over Alligator Alley. The same night an enormous pileup killed several people on that same road because THE FOG, people. 

Florida doesn't have jack shit to do with what I'm trying to get at here. I just wanted to make the point that I'm stuck in a holding pattern, dudes. I guess it's of my own making. I elected to have a natural miscarriage. It's just that the dead embryo inside me shows no sign of wanting to get the hell out. I decided I'll give it another week before I forcibly evict it. 

But what this means is that the hermit in me -- and I'm really about 70% hermit -- gets to be super-hermity and stay home and wait for this shiz to happen. I'm not going anywhere. No, I am not going to your party. No, I don't wanna hang out with you. Yes, I'd like to stay in, eat ice cream, have diarrhea, and wait.

I considered making a miscarriage kit and taking a picture of it and posting it to the blog but then I decided that was too morbid. The kit was going to include my iPhone and earphones so I can listen to music while this crap goes down. Also: Vicodin, a comfortable shirt-dress, ice cream, tissue, my kindle, and maybe a voodoo doll dressed up like my doctor. I would probably be the only one who would think it was a little funny though.

So I guess I won't make a miscarriage kit, OK? I'll just do what I've been doing and sit around, waiting. Maybe I'll google some more ways to naturally induce labor. There are some annoying pressure points on your feet that are supposed to do the trick but so far they haven't been worth shit. I've been eating lots of spicy food and ... nothing. Other than the aforementioned diarrhea. There's a tea -- red raspberry leaf tea -- that is supposed to help. Ironically this tea is supposed to also help you get pregnant, which would explain why I'm well-stocked with the nasty-tasting stuff.

The airplane -- the one stuck in the holding pattern -- was not full. I was flying from Philadelphia. There were mostly elderly people on the plane and I'd had a glass of wine that was rapidly wearing off. I felt a little insane. I hate flying. I hate being stuck in a place where I feel helpless. This feels the same; the dread, the waiting. Eventually we'll land. I just hope it's not foggy when I get there.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I did not see this coming

I've gone dark here on the interwebs on and off for the last couple weeks, and today I'm ready to explain what's going on.

I'm going through a miscarriage. That's the short explanation. The long explanation is over at Tired & Stuck, with all the dirty details. 

So dudes. This has not been easy/pleasant/awesome. But at least now that it's out there I can do what I normally do and just be myself on this blog. Which is to say: I might be a little insane/depressed/ragey here for a week or two.

But you'll understand. You always do.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

A really lovely sauce

Sometimes Bon Appetit is way too schmancy for me. I mean, I'm simply not going to purchase sheep's milk ricotta or chervil leaves. I'm not sure the grocery store I go to even carries Meyer lemons and I don't know the difference between a regular anchovy and the alici di menaica variety of anchovies.

But this magazine knows what it's doing; this much is clear judging by the few Bon Appetit recipes I've tried. So when I stumbled across a recipe called "Basic Tomato Sauce," I was like: Yes. I can do this.

Here is what is so fabulous about this recipe. The ingredients are: a carrot, four garlic cloves, fresh thyme, an onion, olive oil, canned peeled plum tomatoes, and salt and pepper. So simple.

Bon Appetit prefers San Marzano tomatoes. They're undoubtedly more expensive. These were something like $3.69 a can at Whole Foods, but if you think about it, the meal still ends up being dirt cheap, especially considering that sauce is enough for more than a pound of pasta.

Here I've got olive oil, onions, garlic, carrot, and thyme sauteing in the pan. I took a photo of this stage because a heavenly smell wafts up from the dish at this point. 

Sidenote: Can I just say how much I love my new stainless steel pots and pans? I got a 10-piece set on sale for $99. It's not available any more, otherwise I'd link to it. Anyway, if you're cooking on nonstick pans and haven't switched over yet, consider it! It's a whole other world. Plus you won't be poisoning yourself with nonstick chemicals anymore! One tip: cook on lower heat with stainless steel pans to prevent food from sticking. This has been your public service announcement for the day.

Here's the end product. A basic tomato sauce, over spaghetti noodles, with a little parmesan on top. The recipe calls for the use of a food mill (ha!) to break the sauce down from chunky to saucy. I stuck an immersion blender in the pan when it was done cooking, and it turned out completely fabulous. You can also use a food processor, or probably a blender if you're a real rebel like that.

This sauce is just so flavorful yet simple. My husband loved it. His usual gripe with spaghetti sauce is that it's too heavy or acidic, and this is neither.

As usual, Bon Appetit has the recipe up on their site, which I love them for. It even includes nutritional information. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Let's talk about clothing

So at some point before we were married, I accompanied my husband to a well known retail establishment so that he could purchase a suit. And what happened on that day was that no one listened to me about FLAT FRONT IS NOT OPTIONAL and THERE ARE COLORS OTHER THAN BLACK and so what my dear husband ended up in was a dark suit -- almost black -- with pants that were pleated in the front. The tailoring job was less than awesome so the overall effect was of a slightly ill-fitting suit with extra room in the pleated region so you could store apples and oranges or something.

And so as it has been nigh on six years since the purchase of said ugly suit and my husband lost a nice chunk of weight after he ditched gluten, it was time for a new suit. And so we returned to the aforementioned well-known retail establishment over the weekend to procure another suit because, as my husband reminded me, this particular retail establishment's motto is, "You're gonna like the way you look. Guaranteed." We're all about second chances, my husband and I.

And then! We discovered they were having a buy-1-get-1-free sale. Now, ladies. When, since the dawn of time, have you ever stumbled across a sale such as this when shopping for yourself? A sale that lets you purchase an entire expensive outfit and get another entire expensive outfit for free? Exactly never? That's what I thought. Chock it up to the same reason men get paid more, yet their haircuts cost less. Life ain't fair. I ain't ever gonna find a buy-1-get-1-free designer jeans sale. Buy-1-get-1-free Christian Louboutins. Shyeaaah. 

So what I'm saying is we went to the retail establishment and I told our little helper guy, Kenny, that flat front was not optional. Flat front is a must. We are not 80 years old, kind sir. Not yet. And then I said I'd like a lighter gray suit, and Kenny found a lovely one. In addition to a black suit. And Kenny marked all the adjustments that needed to be made on the suits and a nice young woman helped us choose a couple of shirts and ties (ALSO BUY 1 GET 1 FREE. There is no justice in the world) and then Kenny went to eat a burrito and we went home.

The end.

Just kidding.

The moral of this story is that this particular establishment? Needs a female equivalent. I hate shopping for clothes. If I could go to a store where someone tells me what to wear and then makes all the tailoring adjustments for me? I'd totally, totally shop there. Imagine it, ladies. You need jeans. None of the jeans will fit you. So a nice fellow named Kenny finds you a pair of jeans to flatter your physique, and he finds you a lovely top and even a pair of shoes, and then everything that doesn't fit? He has tailored for you! And then he gives you an extra outfit for free!!

Oh, lord. If such things were possible, I could envision world peace.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

What's going on

- I've been walking in the mornings, listening to music as I go, always wearing exactly the same thing and never having showered. Walking in the mornings I get to see who works and who doesn't; what the mailman looks like; where all the dogs are pooping; where the tree roots are pushing up the sidewalks; who has a gardener and who doesn't.

- I'm taking a Search Engine Optimization class, online. So far it is uber boring. Not that I've done a lick of work.

- I tried a new burger place last night. It was good.

- I've been distracted lately and not feeling very bloggy. Sorry.

- Book 5 in the Game of Thrones series is much better than Book 4. Most nerds agree.

- My parents are moving into a senior living community and they're still in their 50s. I have mixed feelings.

- I've been on a burrito kick. I get a burrito and then I cut it in half and then I eat one half. And then I eat the other.

- There's a lot going on every weekend through Christmas, it feels like. That may be an exaggeration.

- Have I mentioned my niece is due to arrive in this world shortly after Christmas?

- I watched Winter's Bone last night. It was good, ya'll.

- I might be in the doldrums.

- I plan to eventually stop feeling sorry for myself and return to my regularly scheduled blog posting.

- I'm losing that weight loss competition I joined. Shockingly.

- Did you hear about that chick that punched a bear in the face to save her dog? That was cool.

- Automatic sprinklers might prevent the mass murder of plants that is happening around these parts.

- I could use a burrito right now.