Hickory dickory dock

In case you haven’t heard, animals make different sounds in other languages. For example, in France a dog says “Ouah!” In Mexico they say, “Guav!” How is it then, that we hear “Bark!”?

I found out tonight that the way we hear things differently is not limited to animal noises. We were at a stop light alongside a Vietnamese restaurant tonight. On the sign was a picture of a clock face serving up a cup of tea. The name of the restaurant? “Tic Tac.” Apparently clocks say things differently in Vietnam.

Did you know that a Japanese bee says “Boon Boon“?

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2 things

1. I have lost all faith in organic broccoli. I bought some to steam for dinner tonight and it was infested with aphids. I had to throw it all away because they were so dense they wouldn’t wash out. I hate aphids.

2. Violet can now climb onto chairs by herself=she can access any available surface by climbing from the chair (i.e. the countertop)=my life just got a whole lot more complicated.

2. chocolate chip cookies…..

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BLAT

I just finished making AJ a BLAT sandwich for lunch. In case you’ve never dipped your pen into the colorful inkpot of food acronyms, that would be a Bacon Lettuce Avocado Tomato sandwich.

now to find a sandwich filling that starts with “O”…

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It’s the moist wonderful time of the year…

That’s right; Fall is officially here.

Fall is my favorite season for several reasons. This may or may not stem from a year-long build in anticipation for my birthday which is also in the fall, or the fact that it means christmas is just around the corner, or that we’re only weeks away from Halloween candy being 75% off, or that now it is perfectly acceptable to eat soup for every meal and curl up with a good book and a cup of tea for no reason in particular.

And yes, I live in washington, which means that I meant for the title to say “moist” instead of “most”.

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Just Words

When I was young I attempted to keep a diary many times. Most of my entries read something like this:

So, i know i haven’t written in here for a really really really long time, but now i’m going to write every day, so that should be good…

I’m feeling the fullness of that awkward moment that comes when returning to a long deserted diary. (Cough)…ok, tough crowd tonight…

For those of you who are wondering, I never could get into that whole starting the entry with “Dear Diary” thing. It always sounded too Anne of Green Gables to me, but hey–kudos if you do!

Anyways…

So, several things:

1. I’m back and will be writing every day again, so yay for you.

2. I’m pregnant.

3. Due May 5th.

4. No, I don’t know what we’re having yet.

5. Again, sorry about the whole April First thing to those of you who know what I’m talking about. But seriously, a pregnancy announcement on April Fool’s Day? C’mon!

6. Yes, I’m actually pregnant.

7. No, I don’t get morning sickness.

8. No, we didn’t just find out today; I’m actually nine weeks along.

9. No, Violet doesn’t have a clue.

10. Yes, we’re very excited.

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varigated

Violet has eaten a larger variety of food on this trip than most adults do in a lifetime. This means she is very awesome. Here are a couple of the things she’s eaten…

Ethiopian food (don’t ask me to tell you what it was–i have no idea, but it was awesome)

shrimp

lobster

almond butter

half-smoke with chili

swordfish

miso

pickles

coffee

black truffle mac and cheese

lots of french fries

boston baked schrod

sesame pasta

various ornamental fruits on the ground in a park

random new vegetables

cheesesteak “wit”

dark chocolate

random pastries

tazo iced tea from starbucks

clam chowder

pizzas of all shapes and sizes and toppings

vodka shots

just kidding

lemons

hardboiled eggs

asian noodle soup

stuffed wontons

anything

candy

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Boston: the good, the great and the gorgeous

Boston lives up to all my expectations.

it’s picturesque, quaint, historical and bustling–all in one.  This is our second day here and we’ve got 2 full days to go. So far this place has had the best eats of our trip. Today for lunch we went into a swanky hotel restaurant with a cantankerous Violet for lunch of Boston Cream Pie (amazing) and something called “Schrod” ( i think.) Anyway–amazing. Tomorrow we’re going to hit some seafood places and I plan on making chicken soup with dumplings and apple pie for our couchsurfing hosts.

I’m currently in the hallowed halls of the boston public library which is normally quiet but now is being inundated by the echoing shrieks and laughter of a baby girl i may or may not know.

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having the time of my life

although, if I was a cat I would certainly be saying “lives” because i’ve probably cashed in a few on this trip.

I have chased many pigeons with Violet,

listened to a gospel choir in Times Square,

crammed on to many a subway,

cried at the holocaust museum,

danced with AJ on a street,

taken many many pictures,

fallen asleep on the bus,

eaten good food…and bad,

been temporarily homeless twice,

noticed we were the only white people around,

couchsurfed,

jaywalked,

ordered a hotdog from a vendor in NY,

had every dog pointed out to me by Violet,

slept on small beds with two other people–one very small and squirmy,

been woken up by a cat,

missed meals,

had extra meals,

walked miles and miles and miles,

missed busses, boats, and subways,

looked up inside the statue of liberty,

tried to see the president in his house,

had blisters,

washed clothes in the tub and ironed them dry,

said “I’m sorry” alot,

am incredibly grateful for AJ,

and Violet,

and life.

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so perhaps i was a bit hasty in my earlier impression…

Ok, so Philadelphia isn’t all bad. There are some nice parts and some are even pretty picturesque. However, i have never seen a city where there is such blatant disregard for any litter laws (if they have them here). The strange part is that it is so filthy that you expect only gang-bangers, druggies and homeless to be in the neighborhood, but instead you just see normal middle-class people waking the dog, driving past and throwing the leftover dinner out the window, or walking the kids to school. weird. enough about gross things…

i take that back. Today we went to a museum of medical oddities here in philly called the Mutter Museum. (pronounced mooder. just google it). I was in a medical museum in Asia, so I’ve seen some nasty canned body parts in my time, and being married to AJ, we of course went the Bodies exhibit when it was in town, but i still reserve the right to get grossed out and mentally scarred when walking past a jar with conjoined stillborn twins on one side and a giant colonishy thingamajig.

anyway…

Today’s post goes out to AJ. Five years ago tomorrow we said  I Do to each other for the first of many times.

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I’m not even going to attempt to catch up…

i’m using one of those “ergonomic” keyboards where they’re split in in two so that you don’t get carpal tunnel. I hate them.

We are in philadelphia right now and before i say anything else, I would like to applaud philadelphia for making me appreciate the emerald jewel that is seattle. Philadelphia is one dirty little hairy armpit of a city. dirty, nasty, gross. we were walking through chinatown from our bus this afternoon and the smells were so bad I was actually doing that sound that you make just before you throw up. you know, that funny-stomach-lurching gagging sound.  I know there are some neat things about this city, like…the history. We walked down to do the ultimate taste-test of cheesesteaks at Pats and Geno’s and the funny thing was how you never see all the garbage on all the travel shows. Seriously, i’ll post a picture when i get back so you all can see how dirty it was–not in the restaurant, just everywhere around it.

Anyway, traveling is way way way different with a baby. we are definitely having fun, but the challenging part is the little persnickety stinker we brought with us. We’ve had to re-prioritize some things to see and spend extra time in parks trying to catch pigeons, but on the whole–it’s been awesome. Violet is one city-savvy little bebe.

Our current hosts have two cute cats who love Violet. It is a very mutual love though and Violet is loving the new friends.

By the way, I thought tiny expensive grocery stores were just a European thing. Not so. I still have yet to find a decent grocery store to buy food. We found a “huge” one tonight for some fresh nectarines and it was the size of the produce department at haggen. sad.

Trust me, there are other stories…most i can only tell you in person because…well, you’ll find out.

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in DC

Hey, quick post here.
we’re in DC for day 3. It’s raining right now and we’ve taken refuge at the house of our couchsurfing hosts to drop off a bag and get dry and oriented. I don’t have a way to post pictures right now, but I have some great ones; including one of me eating a half-smoke at ben’s chili bowl–only one of the most iconic places to eat here in DC. Violet is a tough old bird and is taking everything in stride although she hates her stroller and hates museum tours even more. fun!
We’re heading out to the national mall in a couple of minutes to go see the air and space museum and some others.
We spent the last two nights at a bed and breakfast up around Dupont circle and now we’re at a couchsurfer’s place on capital hill somewhere. Everyone is super nice here and people actually make eye contact as they pass each other on the street, which is almost completely unheard of in Seattle.
one last thing: our hosts have 4 dogs. that’s right. 4 big dogs. they are all very interested in Violet and follow us around like a gaggle of little girls.
FYI, i’m not going to spell check or proof read 🙂

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Aaaand we’re off!

Here is a picture of me just now. I am carrying everything we will be taking with us on this 17 day adventure. That’s right, you should be amazed.

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I learned my lesson the hard way when I went on a mission trip to Asia a few years ago and thought that it would be a good idea to just pack everything inside a duffel bag that was big enough for me to fit into. Literally. I have a picture somewhere with just my face peeking out of the zipper hole. By the time I finished filling it and my friends finished taking advantage of my ignorant generosity, my bag tipped the scales at over 70 pounds. Guess who had to carry it all through the airport? And by “carry” I mean physically support completely.

Anyway, we leave tomorrow morning at 6am, so who knows what kind of quantity and quality this blog will be seeing for the next few weeks. I do promise tons of amazing pictures when I get back…because, AJ and Violet will be in them, and they’re amazing.

Au revoir!

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of summer and blackberry pie

Today we went blackberry picking. Violet stuffed her little round face till she had the blackberry runs so bad she pooped in the tub tonight…of course, sometimes she does that anyways.  As we were walking back from the park and I was carrying a bowl of blackberries I remembered one summer when I was 14.

After much begging, I had agreed to bake a blackberry pie for the neighborhood boys, which were comprised mainly of my brothers and their friends. They spent the better part of an afternoon picking berries and generally getting  covered in scratches before they had finally picked enough berries for me to make a pie big enough for all of them. It would soon all be worth it though and they congratulated each other while relaxing in the front yard while I carried out my half of the bargain. I had promised them a syrupy, hot, berry pie complete with a golden, flaky crust and wonderful bits of berry oozing out the sides.

That is not what I delivered.

Alas, I grabbed the baking soda instead of the cornstarch. (they were in the same type of container. Instead of turning to blackberry syrup, it immediately became a foul-smelling gruel with a grayish cast.

The End.

that’s right, thats really the end. They were very very very mad at me for quite a long time. Partly also because they had completely picked all the blackberries on the block for the pie, so even if I had wanted to i couldn’t have made it right.

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To Zumba or Not to Zumba

Ummmm…not.

You see, as much as I wish I could and I wish that I had enough control over my physical coordination, I know better.

Our sportsclub has Zumba classes and they keep telling me to sign up. For those of you who live under a rock and haven’t heard of Zumba yet, it seems to be some sort of latin-dance-work-out-ish-thing. I have no clue–that’s just what they tell me. Fortunately, I know better than to trust myself to follow simple directions involving music and steps. Here’s how bad it is; I can’t even work out to  a Denise Austin dvd. That means that I am physically incapable of copying the frenetic movements of a spandex-clad woman who has led the better part of two generations of women in working out in their livingrooms. I get confused just watching her. I wish I wasn’t alone here.

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You should already know this…

Dear Random-Father-Grocery-Shopping-At-Safeway-Tonight,

Please do not encourage your daughter to wash her hands off using the mister that’s spraying directly over the broccoli I’m planning on getting. Just because it’s water, doesn’t mean it’s meant for washing hands.

As for the rest of you…please tell me this was an isolated incident. My faith  in mankind is having serious issues in the area of public hygiene right now, and I need some assurance that I’m not the only one that thinks its gross to wash your hands off and shake them dry using the mister that turns on in the produce area.

It’s a cruel, dark world when I begin to question ever eating a sample again.

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I do have standards, you know…

Here’s one thing I won’t eat: Brussel Sprouts.

I never really remember having to eat brussel sprouts when I was growing up. I know that my mom planted them in the garden one year, but I don’t remember ever actually eating them. I do know that she never grew them after that.

A few years ago I figured out why. AJ and I were in the grocery store trying to think of an interesting vegetable to pair with a steak, (new york strip for those of you who wonder about that sort of thing) and we came across Brussel Sprouts.

“Have you ever had Brussel Sprouts? I haven’t.”

“No, I wonder what they taste like…a cabbage maybe?”

We took a whole bag of those cute tiny cabbages home, steamed them to perfection and served them with butter and seasonings alongside our steak.

First bite: Involuntary gag.

Second bite: dutiful chewing.

Third bite: spat into the napkin.

Here’s what I’ve always wondered since then; is there a scenario where brussel sprouts taste good? All you vegetable-haters can keep your comments to yourselves here–I love vegetables in all shapes and sizes…except small, round, green, and leafy.

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things not made of cheese…

As we drove home tonight, the moon was round and large. The soft light shown on the roadway ahead of us and off the leaves and branches of the trees. Violet pointed to it, and I remembered the moon of my childhood. The Old Man on the Moon. I would look up at his face and wonder at his expression which seemed different every day; some days he was sad, on others he would be smiling ,but usually his expression was just benevolent. Sometimes when I was little, we would all take our blanket and pillows and sleep out in the yard. We’d stay up late and tell stories, try to find constellations, and look up at the face of the Man on the Moon. My mom would always sing this song, “I see the moon and the moon see’s me. God bless the moon, and God bless me…”

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A Story in Pictures: The Life of a Pie

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This is Violet eating some chocolate-peanut butter pie filling. Here is the illustrious recipe for Creme de la Cream Pie.

First: make a crust.

It’s real simple but you need to  obey the rules. (cold butter, don’t touch with hands, don’t add too much water.)

  1. 1 1/4 cups flour.
  2. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  3. 1/3 cup butter (not not not margarine or anything that doesn’t say “butter” on the label)
  4. 4-5 tablespoons cold water.
  5. sugar

Mix flour and salt, cut in butter with two butter knives till the butter pieces are no larger than the size of your pinky nail. sprinkle water over the top and mix gently to form a ball. roll out on countertop using sugar to keep from sticking. roll the crust thin enough to fill the entire pie pan. bake at 350 for 10ish minutes or until lightly browned.

Next, The Pie

  1. 3/4 cups sugar
  2. 1/4 cup cornstarch
  3. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  4. 1 1/2 cups milk
  5. 1 cup whipping cream
  6. 3 egg yolks
  7. 1 tablespoon butter
  8. 2 teaspoons vanilla
  9. 3/4 cup chocolate chips
  10. 2-4 tablespoons of creamy peanut butter.
  11. 3/4 cup coconut lightly toasted
  12. 2 bananas
  13. 1 cup whipped whipping cream. (not coolwhip)

CUSTARD: Mix  dry ingredients in saucepan.  add milk and cream and stir till smooth. cook and stir constantly over medium heat till thick and bubbly. Add a small amount to the three beaten egg yolks and mix together. Pour egg mix to saucepan and stir quickly to mix the eggs in before they cook.  cook for 1-2 more minutes. remove from heat and add vanilla and butter.

ASSEMBLATIONISH: Immediately pour half the custard into another bowl. Pour half cup of toasted coconut into bowl, and 3/4 cup of chocolate chips into the saucepan with remaining custard. stir chocolate mix till melted. add peanut butter to taste. stir coconut mix till combined. Using an electric mixer, split the whipped cream and whip it into each pie filling until creamy and smooth and creamy.

STACKING: When pie crust is completely cool, pour the coconut cream onto the bottom and spread. cut up the bananas and place over the top of the coconut cream mix until you are satisfied with banana to creamy ratio. Next, dump the chocolate peanut butter cream on top of the bananas, and spread.

chill and garnish with coconut and banana slices. BAM!

 

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