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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Mermaid or Whale?

I pulled this off of a post on my favorite forum. It was so wonderful I had to share! Enjoy...

Mermaid or Whale?

Recently, in a large city in France ,
a poster featuring a young, thin and tan woman appeared in the window of a gym.
It said, "This summer,
do you want to be a mermaid or a whale?"

A middle-aged woman,
whose physical characteristics did not match those of the woman on the poster,
responded publicly to the question
posed by the gym.

To Whom It May Concern,
Whales are always surrounded by friends (dolphins, sea lions, curious humans.)
They have an active sex life,
get pregnant and have adorable baby whales. They have a wonderful time with dolphins stuffing themselves with shrimp.
They play and swim in the seas,
seeing wonderful places like Patagonia ,
the Bering Sea
and the coral reefs of Polynesia ..
Whales are wonderful singers
and have even recorded CDs.
They are incredible creatures
and virtually have no predators
other than humans.
They are loved, protected and admired
by almost everyone in the world.

Mermaids don't exist.
If they did exist,
they would be lining up outside the offices
of Argentinean psychoanalysts
due to identity crisis. Fish or human?
They don't have a sex life
because they kill men who get close to them, not to mention how could they have sex?
Just look at them ... where is IT?
Therefore, they don't have kids either.
Not to mention,
who wants to get close to a girl who smells
like a fish store?

The choice is perfectly clear to me:
I want to be a whale.

P..S.. We are in an age
when media puts into our heads
the idea that only skinny people are beautiful, but I prefer to enjoy an ice cream with my kids, a good dinner with a man who makes me shiver, and a piece of chocolate with my friends..

With time, we gain weight
because we accumulate so much information and wisdom in our heads
that when there is no more room,
it distributes out to the rest of our bodies.
So we aren't heavy,
we are enormously cultured,
educated and happy.
Beginning today,
when I look at my butt in the mirror I will think,
¨Good grief, look how smart I am!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Is it Rotten Parenting to Have Fun at the Expense of Children?

Well, what if the kids are having their own, twisted version of fun, too? OK, so here's the deal. The kids and I were at TJ Maxx the other day looking at "stuff". Jonah and Annie spied an outcast from the Jelly Belly company - a game called "Beanboozled". It's just a box of jelly beans with a spinner. From the website:

"Jelly Belly's wildest collection dares you to compare some of our tastiest, most popular flavors with our craziest ones. But here's the catch - you won't know which ones are which! The black Licorice bean looks exactly like the Skunk Spray bean! Sweet Caramel Corn might also be Moldy Cheese. You may think you're choosing our world-famous Buttered Popcorn bean, but what you'll be biting into could actually be Rotten Egg. The only way to find out what beans you're getting is to eat them!

The Jelly Belly BeanBoozled collection currently contains 10 colors of beans, and 20 flavors (10 "real" ones and 10...well...different ones). Also, coming this Fall from Jelly Belly: the BeanBoozled Spinner Game Gift Box, which brings our spinner promotion game to life. The second edition of BeanBoozled introduces two new flavors: Canned Dog Food and Centipede. See the chart below and then get ready to have some fun."

So yeah. That's the game. They spin, get a color and eat it to find out whether it's delicious jelly bean goodness or putrid. The kids came up with the idea of wanting this game themselves. I SWEAR. However, after a couple of glasses of wine, that evening... I must say that my children have never, EVER been quite so entertaining.

Tears ran down my cheeks and Adrian's while we watched our own version of "Fear Factor" take place in the living room. Eventually, I guess the wine got to Adrian and he decided to play too! I just sat back on the couch and enjoyed myself.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Musings of Kids, Love and Hate

This morning I went to an awards ceremony at the elementary school my oldest two kids attend. I looked out, over a delicious sea of beautiful little people; every child in grades 2-4 sitting cross-legged on the floor waiting to hear their names called. Long golden locks flowed next to the springy curls of an Afro-puff. A brown arm tightened around the white shoulders of a "bff". This is the way of my children's world.

I am used to seeing my children with all sorts of other kids. I take it for granted and forget to appreciate that it hasn't always been like this in our country. I ponder the tragedy of that and wonder how much richer the lives of our parents and grandparents could have been if given the opportunity to love whomever they pleased.

Yes, I do mean opportunity. Parents, teachers and other influences in a child's life, choose to give that child the gifts of love and repspect for all persons equally or to deny that same gift. No children are born with an understanding of hate. I believe in "race" only as a western social construction. Although I deny its existence as reality, I cannot deny its heavy effect on our world.

Sometimes though, a certain preciousness shines though the haze our society has created, illuminating truth the way it's meant to be seen. Here's an example. At said awards ceremony, I kept a watchful eye on my eighteen month old as she ran from stranger to stranger, looking them over, patting their legs or tugging their skirts to say hello. Eventually, she found a little girl of around two standing by her mother.

The girl's mother, dressed in black with full hijab, was presumably a conservative Muslim. She smiled at me politely and we watched as our toddlers stood facing each other. Each child took a step forward. The Muslim girl reached out a small hand and placed it on my daughter's shoulder. Then she touched her hair. My baby gently touched the girls hand, rubbed her belly, then laid a tiny hand on the girl's chest over her heart.

Neither of the two were smiling or laughing. They were standing six inches apart, each staring into the eyes of the other. After these preliminary touches, they hugged. Then they laughed and started to play. I can't describe the intense beauty of such a scene, only the way it happened. My hope is that you, the reader will ponder it the same way that I have and remember to encourage only love in the hearts of your own innocent children.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Back to School

So, tomorrow is the big day. Back to school after a hideously long break. I think I lost so many brains cells over the 33 or so days that I've been home that all I can hope is that when my brain shut down it went into recovery mode.

Now, there's nothing wrong with staying home with children. It's just that when you have gotten used to a different kind of schedule (an extremely chaotic one), a complete and sudden stop of that is like a train halting at 70 miles an hour. Cars get derailed, people die - total mess. OK, so no one here died over the holidays, but some of my offspring came dangerously close a few times.

There is something dangerous for the personal safety of a child about a very long break from school. I suppose it's the train effect in jr. mode. They have some false sense of security that Santa will save them from their sins because children don't get into serious trouble around the holidays or something.

These confused, small people had the misconception over the last several weeks that the Christmas Kool-aid would get them out of doing things like making snowballs from soap and toilet paper and sticking them to the ceiling or after using all the toilet paper on snowballs, wiping poo on the wall next to the toilet (yes... my 5 year old really can be THAT gross).

And so tomorrow, I'll put on something other than a bathrobe, strap on my back pack and go back to the races to start complaining again about needing a break.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Italian Fish Dinner - Dollar Store Style: Broiled Rockfish with Sundried Tomato Pesto, Served with Angel Hair Pasta in a Baby Clam Sauce

I did an experiment to see what kind of a pseudo-gourmet meal I could make entirely from dollar store ingredients. It was interesting. I used $10.00 worth of stuff, but many of the ingredients were jars of things that are still half full or more, so I would adjust it to $8.00. Here is what I used:

  • 2 frozen 4 oz. Rockfish fillets
  • 1 can of prepared white clam sauce
  • 2 packages of baby clams in oil
  • black and green olive tapenade
  • grilled red and yellow peppers, marinated in oil
  • sundried tomatoes, marinated in oil
  • angel hair pasta
  • 1 can of organic, chopped tomatoes

I also had a basil pesto prepared to use,
but it was unusably terrible. Not sure why
I was slightly surprised that a 6 oz jar of
expensive pine nuts and basil for a dollar was bad.

The Rockfish looked and smelled OK. I didn't get the impression that we would all die from consuming it, so I went ahead and drizzled a little olive oil, salted and peppered it in good faith. I turned on the broiler to 550, and put water on to boil for the pasta.

The clams were lightly smoked and in oil, so I drained and lightly rinsed them in warm water
to avoid an overpowering smoky flavor. They went into the prepared clam sauce, which was basically clam broth with tiny chunks of clam and some parsley floating around in it. Not awful, but definitely wouldn't have been too appetizing on it's own. I boiled the sauce down for a few minutes to reduce it, then added the tomatoes. I was going to add the basil pesto here instead
of the tomatoes, but no dice. If I had more time, I would have pureed the tomatoes, added them and reduced the sauce some more.

Now it was time for a few serious Kung-Fu cooking moves to try and give this meal some personality. I made a quick, red pesto by processing sundried tomatoes, the roasted peppers and some of the olive tapenade. Delicious. These were all packed in oil, so the consistency was perfect. If they had been packed in water (which I don't recommend; oil helps preserve the flavors), I would have added a little olive oil. I heated this a bit to get it ready to top the broiled fish.

When the pasta was ready, I drained it and tossed it with the clam sauce. I pulled the fish out of the oven after about 8 minutes, transferred each fillet to a plate and added a healthy dollop of the pesto. I happen to have organic basil growing in my kitchen, so I pulled a few leaves, chopped them and used them for garnish, which is entirely optional. Here is the finished meal:

Not terribly unappetizing for a dollar store menu. So... how did taste? To be honest, the fish was crap. Had a sort of plasticine texture. But, hey, it was protein and it was a buck. The pesto, however, was fantastic. The pasta was a little bland, but we squirted a bit of lemon juice on it and added some salt and pepper which made it quite a bit more appealing.

Would I make this again? Probably not. I can do just as well with 10 bucks shopping sales with the meat and the pasta (I really always make whole grain pasta, which I can get on sale for just slightly more than a dollar). I can do much better with fish, spending a little more on sale fish that doesn't taste like Gumby. However, except for the nasty basil pesto (I actually suspect that it was half parsley), the accessory ingredients were a pretty good value. The sundried tomatoes, grilled peppers, olive tapenade, tomatoes and maybe the clams in a pinch are all items that I would purchase again. They alone were worth more than my ten bucks, so in all, I would say that the experiment was a success, especially since Luna gave it her toddler stamp of approval.

"Fooled You" Potato Soup

Every time my nine year old foodie sees packaged mashed potato flakes in the grocery store, he says "Gross!". Admittedly, I know where he got this attitude. I can be quite a cynical food snob myself. However, I also like to save time and money, sometimes enough to sacrifice the fine tastes to which we in this madhouse have become accustomed.

Now, mashed potatoes are something I rarely make. Not because we don't like them, but because I am either lazy, busy or both and would rather stick potatoes in the microwave to "bake". If I do make them, they are must assuredly "real", usually with some extra thrown in like freshly roasted garlic. I do have a secret involving potato flakes, though. Ha.

The easiest soup to make in the entire world, besides dumping a can of Campbell's in a pot, is this potato soup. So it's not fresh or gourmet or the most delicious thing since your first kiss. But it's good, cheap, fills bellies and is on the table in five minutes flat. Made without milk, this potato soup also has magical healing properties for sick people. The best part is - my kid can't tell that he's eating packaged potatoes.

Very Easy Potato Soup

1 package (3-4 oz) potato flakes; any brand, any flavor
2 cups of bullion or stock (any brand or flavor, but not too salty)
2 cups of milk (more or less to desired soup consistency)
parsley flakes
dehydrated minced onion

optional garnishes:
grated cheese, chopped green onion, crumbled bacon, whatever else sounds good

OK, so boil water and make the bullion or get the stock nice and hot on the stove. Turn down heat and pour in the package of potatoes and mix. Add parsley and fake-o onion. When that is hot, stir in milk until the soup is the consistency that you want it to be. Bring heat back up to just under boiling. Voila! Pour into bowls and toss some garnish on those bad boys and you're golden.

Serves 3-4

Saturday, January 16, 2010

"Let there be online activity!"... and the blog was created in a day and the writer saw that it wasn't too bad and published it. I hope you all enjoy reading this little piece of my world. Feel free to comment with lovely goodwill or to make fun of me. Whatever works.

We'll go through a mish-mash here of all sorts of stuff. I bought a bunch of random stuff from the dollar store yesterday and tomorrow plan to set out on an experiment to see if creating an entertaining caliber meal is possible completely from food purchased at the dollar store. I'm psyched. This will be fun. Stay tuned!