The journey of a thousand miles begins with...the perfect pair of shoes.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

No kitchen for you part zwei: the McDonald's version

TOM had surgery the other day (he is seriously broken, I think this is surgery 4 or 5 in the last 3 years) and the Contessa ran away because OMG are men babies when they're wounded stopped over tonight to pick up some books and have a glass of wine. She said last night they were hungry but she didn't feel like cooking. TOM (still on drugs because he would never have said this if he weren't) told her just to go to McDonald's and grab some cheeseburgers. She went up to the counter and there was an older Turkish woman at the register. Contessa ordered 8 cheeseburgers from the 1 Euro menu and OTW (Old Turkish Woman) told her "Nein!" Contessa said she looked around to make sure OTW was talking to her because um, why not? Contessa said there was no confusion in her order. She ordered in German and even pointed to what she wanted, holding up 8 fingers. Sometimes we do the most ridiculous things to make sure we're communicating correctly. Even if we have the right words, our "accents" often get in the way. Contessa ordered her 8 cheeseburgers again, and OTW shook her finger in Contessa's face and said "Nein! Nur eins!" (No! Only one!). The guy behind Contessa backed up. Apparently he was afraid the little American woman was going to go crazy on OTW (perhaps he was my painter from a few weeks ago and had some experience with crazy Americans?). Contessa said (in English) "Go get your manager" which OTW had no problems understanding and headed off to the back, returning with Manager who spoke perfect English. Contessa explained that she wanted 8 cheeseburgers and he said it was "not a problem" (a very German answer) and started to ring her up. OTW, told him nein and again asserted that she Contessa could only have 1. Manager babbled back at her in German and she was firm that Contessa could NOT have 8 cheeseburgers. Manager sent OTW to the back but before she went, she tossed a towel on the counter, said some unflattering things in German (it's amazing how we may not speak fluent German, but we KNOW the bad stuff) and stalked off. Manager rang up Contessa and completed her order, apologizing for OTW. Contessa still has no idea why OTW didn't want her to have 8 cheeseburgers and everyone else seemed just as perplexed. Isn't that odd? If only she'd said "No kitchen for you!"

Friday, January 29, 2010

Dear So and So

Dear So and So...

Dear House,

Are you in league with Kat's house? Cause, I've been cleaning and cleaning and still you're a mess. I'm tired of it.


Dear Self,

Merely stacking the books to be returned to the library on the shelf by the front door does not equate to actually returning them to the library. It's great that you put them there, but you must remember to pick them up and carry them out to the car, drive to the library, take them out of the car and put them in the book return. It's not that hard. Take a lesson from Nike: Just do it! You're so lucky the library doesn't charge late fees.


Dear Snow,

Again? Really? I love you, but even this is getting to be a bit much. I'm tired of having to wear only boots because I don't want to ruin my pretty shoes in your slush.


Dear Skin,

I know it's cold and dry out there. I know the weather sucks. I've been lathering you with lotion (really good lotion at that) for weeks. Could you please soak it up a little bit more? I'm tired of the itching. I'm tired of feeling like my skin is a size too small. Yes, yes, I know the hot showers I like to take are part of the problem, but I'm not giving those up. Make it work!


Dear Jay Leno,

I don't blame you. This whole mess is not your fault (stupid NBC execs!) and I will support you as you move back to your original time slot.

Your fan,

Dear JD Salinger,

Thank you for your genius writing. Catcher in the Rye was a brilliant book that touched me on many levels. I've read it several times since my first read when I was about 14 and each time I find something new. You will be missed.


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Snow and the hardest job in the Army

I've been a bad blogger lately. I've only posted for RTT and Dear So and So. I love them both, but need to post know, other stuff.

This morning we woke up to several inches of snow. It was beautiful, but Indy has been sick (nothing major, just a slight cold), which meant he couldn't go out and enjoy it. This of course led to a chorus of "but I feel better, really" that lasted allllllllllll day. Not fun for me. Believe me, I'd have loved nothing better than to bundle him up and let him have at it, but if I had, I knew I'd have been up at 4am with a very sick kiddo and I value my sleep too much. I'd show you a photo, but I can't get my computer to read my card chip and the cord is waaaay over there in the hall closet and who wants to get up? Not me. Just imagine lots of snow.

Mr. HH (who, after reading Pocket Indy's blog, is now griping that he wants a new name-sigh) has been given a new duty. A terrible duty. He's now the Casualty Notification Officer and the Casualty Assistance Officer for his until. What this means is that if a soldiers dies he has to notify the family (in the role of CNO) and/or walk them through the process of funeral planning, help get them grief counseling, arrange details and really be there for whatever they need. Seriously, this is one of the absolute worst jobs in the military. CNO's are hated because they bring the news nobody wants to hear. He went through training today and came home so depressed. They had to watch all kinds of training films and go through different notification scenarios. He was told to be prepared to be slapped, spit on and punched. That did not cheer him up. Sadly the person who brings the news often receives the brunt of the anger. Poor Mr. HH. I told him that hopefully he won't have to deliver any bad news. Keep your fingers crossed for everyone's sake.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Random Thoughts Tuesday


*We were watching Project Runway last night and Mr. HH said the judges are just puppets and Tim Gunn is the Puppet Master. I found this ridiculously funny.

*Our building was without water today from 8-1. Are you kidding me???? 5 hours with no water.

*Do you remember when Cling Wrap actually clung? Now it's just a flimsy sheet of plastic that doesn't stick to anything.

*I'm going to a book club tonight and haven't read the book. Oops.

*Do you ever wonder about that one lone tree growing in the middle of a field? Why did the farmer allow it to continue growing? I also wonder if that tree gets lonely.

*A quarter has 119 grooves on its side. The dime has 118.

*Due to years and years of military training, Mr. HH has learned to sleep just about anywhere. He's slept in the mud in Albania, the sand in Iraq, in cattle cars, on the bumper of a Humvee, etc. It truly is a skill. I'm kind of jealous because I have to be comfortable to sleep. He can lay down and the minute his head hits the pillow he's asleep. Okay, that kind of pisses me off because I have to lay there for a while before I can drift off. Early this morning I was in the bathroom and I heard him tap on the door telling me he needed to pee. Well, too bad, he was going to have to wait. He sighed heavily and that was that. I assumed he went back to bed but a few minutes later when I opened the bathroom door, he was standing there, leaning against the door frame sound asleep. It was insane and to be honest incredibly creepy.

*Indy is under the weather. I hate that he's sick, but I kind of like that he wants to snuggle. It reminds me of when he was younger.

*My mom saw New Moon yesterday and sent me an email to ask if I'd ever heard of it. Oh, silly woman. She might as well ask me if I know who Johnny Depp is. It's like she doesn't know me at all!

*Our Disney channel (Disney XD) is in English, except the commercials which are in Swedish. Isn't that odd? Apparently Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs hasn't been released there yet because they keep showing ads for it coming soon. Every time I see the giant pancake fall on the school I want pancakes.

*Mr. HH makes really good apple pancakes. Yummy.

*We saw the Princess and the Frog the other day. I didn't expect to like it, but it was really good.

*Recycling 1 glass jar saves enough energy to watch TV for 1 hour.

*I'm not sure when Canada Day is, but I'm fairly certain this isn't how I'd want to celebrate it:

Crafty girl-y gifts

Yesterday I was feeling crafty (okay, let's be honest, I'm always feeling crafty, but yesterday it was more craft crafty than "crafty"), but also girly. With Indy, I can do lots of craft things, but not girly. Sometimes I just need to be girly and luckily TOM and TOM's wife (who will now be known at the Contessa, for while she is Hispanic, grew up in Italy, speaks Italian and loves Italian foods and wine) have 2 girly girls. The younger one (Principessa) is more girly than the older one (Mona Lisa), but they're both girly and I love it. I decided to make monogrammed canvases for them last night. Pink and purple and green and jewels! Hurrah!!!!!

Principessa is 5 and super girly. She loves pink and green. My kind of girl.

Here it is from the side. Principessa is more of a go with the flow free form kind of girl (who loves my shoes, thus showing she has excellent taste), so I didn't want to center her initial or make the decor around it too balanced.

Mona Lisa (so named because of her love of all things Davinci, especially the Mona Lisa) is 9 and much more structured than Principessa. Mona Lisa is also a HUGE fan of purple. Big time. She also really likes things to balance out, so I went a little more traditional and even for her. Well, it's hand done so it's not perfectly even, but that's okay. Hers has pink polka dots on the side, but I forgot to take a photo of that.

Here they are together. The canvases are small, probably 5x5, and the perfect size for a cute little gift. They took me about 30 minutes total, plus drying time. The girls loved them and I got to do something girly.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Why didn't anyone tell me????

Why didn't one of you tell me that you can shop Hobby Lobby ONLINE????? When did this happen? Are you kidding? Sure, sure, it's not exactly like shopping in the store and the selection isn't huge, but STILL! Hobby Lobby! Online! Oh, happy day! My debit card is quivering in anticipation and fear. Today is a great day my friends. A great day indeed.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Dear So and So

Dear So and So...

You know I love you, right? Living in Europe, I'm pretty sure I've single-handedly kept you afloat with my purchases over the last 10 or so years (where's my loyalty discount?). You have an excellent selection of just about anything and are willing to ship it quickly. While I appreciate the variety, I think you've gone a bit too far. This ring, while gorgeous, and okay, something I'd personally love to own, is taking it a bit far don't you think? Who exactly are you targeting? I'm pretty sure that the average Amazon shopper is not going to drop $187,000.99 on a ring. I realize that compared to the list price of $338,800.00, you are offering a tremendous bargain, but really? Really? And how do you ship that? Surely you're not entrusting it to the USPS or UPS, are you?


P.S. I completely appreciate that you think I'm wealthy enough to recommend this to me, but I assure you I'm not. Maybe if you extend to me some sort of super purchaser discount? Say 99% off?

Dear Immune System,

You've done a pretty good job so far this season and I really appreciate it, I do, but if you could just kick it up a notch or two for a few days here, I'd really like that. I've been feeling a bit under the weather, and that's really putting us behind on our school schedule. We were supposed to go to Strasbourg today as part of our study of France and I had to cancel. Boo. I was really looking forward to a savory crepe from my favorite little place, Crep Mili. Could you help me out here?


Dear house,

Really? After all the letters I've written to you? You still haven't gotten the message?


Dear Indy,

I love you kiddo. I really, really do, but good heavens can you drive me crazy. I know you want to take care of me since I'm not feeling well and that's really sweet of you, but coming up to me every 5 minutes to see if I need something/feel okay/still have a fever/etc. is just this side of too much. Could you take it down just a smidgen?


Dear Pepper,

You'll be 14 tomorrow. 14! That's really old for a dog. We've known you since you were 6 weeks old and you've held our hearts ever since. I know that aging comes with its issues, but the farting and then getting up to get away from the smell while leaving me to flounder in the funk is not cool. Not cool at all. I still love you tons and tons, but I do NOT love the smell.

Trying to breathe,

Dear lady at the optical shop,

You said my new reading glasses would be in last Saturday or last Tuesday at the latest. It is Friday. I still have no reading glasses. What's up?


Ah, I feel so much better. Got something you need to say or just get off your chest? Write your own Dear So and So's and link them up over at Kat's.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Pocket Indy Blog Update

Adventure has a name......Pocket Indy!

Hey, did you see? Pocket Indy's blog has been updated! You didn't know he had his own blog? Where have you been? There's a link somewhere over there >>>> or you could just click here to check it out.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Random Thoughts Tuesday: The ranty but proud to be American edition


Let's be honest. Many of my posts are rants, but this one is extra ranty. "There is no charge for rantynes. Or good looks." If you know what the original saying was from, I heart you big time. :) Let's get on with the rants randomness.

*Indy is weird. Every morning for breakfast he wants a sandwich. A cream cheese, turkey and broccoli sprout sandwich. For breakfast. It's good sandwich, don't get me wrong, but for breakfast? Oh and he wants a side of blueberries. He calls it his "power breakfast." Weird.

*Yesterday I was listening to the news on AFN in the car. Unfortunately I wasn't paying close attention at first and didn't hear who said this, but someone (I'm pretty it was Chavez) said that the Americans need to cooperate more with the international rescue efforts and quite trying to "secretly" occupy and take over Haiti. WTF? If it was you Chavez, suck it. Heck, even if it wasn't you, suck it. I don't like you.

*I'm trying to hold on to the beauty that is winter, but it's hard when all the stores are putting out their pretty spring stuff. Manipulators! Can't we just enjoy one season before you start throwing another one at us?

*The founder of Taco Bell, Glen Bell, Jr. died on Sunday. How sad. Poor college students all over the US owe a lot to him. He's also one of the reasons I'm on the stair stepper so much.

*I love living in Europe and would happily spend the rest of my days here, but I love being an American (except when around other obnoxious Americans). While there are many (MANY) flaws to America (as a military spouse, I'm one of the first to gripe about them), one of the things I most appreciate is the fact that no matter what is going on in our own country, economically, politically or otherwise, if another country is in trouble, the US is going to help them out. Many people see us as invaders (I'm looking at you Chavez) trying to spread American ideals at the detriment to other cultures (again, still looking, Chavez), but if a country is in need and/or has a serious natural disaster, America is going to be there, offering aid and that is awesome.

*They played a clip on the radio yesterday of Haitians chanting "USA! USA!" after American rescue workers freed several members of a Haitian family from the rubble of what had once been their house. It warmed the cockles of my heart.

*What are the cockles of your heart? Anyone know?

*A while back another blogger posted a how to on making a replica of the Pottery Barn Typewriter Keys wall hanging, but now I can't find it. Can anyone give me a link or tell me who it was? It's driving me crazy.

*Something is going on with my house plants. Normally they're good, but for some reason they're all dying. WHY? They get water and sunlight and love. Indy thinks it's because Mr. HH keeps looking at them. He has a notorious black thumb.

*I'm typing this while working on my stair stepper (buns of steel here I come) and from this height I can see the dust on top of the wardrobe in the living room. It's terrible. Somebody should clean that off.

*I hate Monday holidays. It blows my whole week.

*If I write down my random thoughts all week and then post them, do you still think that makes them random?

*Finally, our funny sign of the week:

Now, go visit Keely for all the other random goodness.

EDITED for grammar. I can't believe I wrote "their" instead of "they're." It's one of my biggest pet peeves! Why didn't someone tell me? I'm so embarrassed. {hanging my head in shame}

Friday, January 15, 2010

Dear So and So: I've got a lot to say

Dear So and So...

If you read my previous post, you know I'm feeling grumpy. The PERFECT time for a Dear So and So. Thank you Kat!

Dear stupid government,

It p!sses me off so much that because of red tape and bureaucracy that Indy can't collect for Haiti. Something so pure and simple shouldn't get bogged down in paperwork. I hate that I had to explain to Indy that sometimes the gov't can make things far more difficult than they have to be. Watching my little boy cry because he can't raise money for the people he sees in pain on TV was hard for me and made me hate my gov't just a little.


Dear lady in Aldi,

Look, I sympathize with you. Keeping a toddler happy while grocery shopping is difficult at best. However the solution is NOT to hand that screaming child a package of raw hamburger. I don't know, it's Germany, it might not have been hamburger, but still. Raw. Meat. Now I know that it is inside one of those weird German plastic packages that you practically need a degree and a tool set to open, but as you found out, kids are bloody geniuses at cracking open the impossible. Your toddler's hands covered in ground meat nearly sent me (and everyone within throwing range) over the edge. I know it's hard to shop when your little one is screaming, but seriously do not cave and hand over raw meat.


Dear teenage girls,

WHY do we have to keep going over this? It. Is. Cold. Put. Some. Damn. Clothes. On. I hope that wasn't too many words for you. Maybe thextese will be simpler: 411 Brrr. Clths On. U lk SSINF.


Dear American Idol,

I have mixed feelings about your return. I'm kind of over you, but like a train wreck, I can't look away. I know it's for entertainment value, but all those deluded people you let into the room? Stop doing that. It's old. We ALL know they have to go through several auditions to get to that point. Don't give the people hope just so they can freak out when the judges tell them they can't sing. If you want to let Pants on the Ground guy Larry Platt (a civil rights hero) back on, I would watch him. Because he was awesome. And his song is amazing and incredibly relevant.

Still watching (and hating myself for it),

Dear obnoxious Americans in the Spanish restaurant,

One of the things we noticed (including Indy) when we visited the States this past summer was how loud restaurants are. Seriously, it's deafening. In Europe (or at least Germany and France), people are quiet when they eat. That's not to say they don't talk, they're just quiet and respect the other diners. You did not. When we arrived at the restaurant at the unfashionably early hour of 7pm, it was deserted and we were okay with that. We ordered, chatted about Spain (we studied Spain this week and considered this a field trip-man I love homeschooling) and enjoyed our Tapas. Around 7:45 you arrived in all your loud American glory. A few other Europeans arrived within 15 or so minutes of you (we knew they were European because they were quiet and all about 12 feet tall-damn those strong genes). We actually felt sorry for them for having to sit near you. Yes, I know you were there to have a good time (there were 6 adults), and I'm okay with that, but take the volume down just a few notches. Everyone in the restaurant is not interested in what you have to say. Trust me. Also, to the mom (we heard one of the younger women call you that), you may sound like Paula Deen, but you talk like a salty old sailor. Holy cow. Mr. HH and I exchanged many a glance over your vocabulary during our paella. The word 'dick' or the sentence 'oh, he's such a dick' is not really polite dinner conversation. Especially if every diner in the entire restaurant can hear you.

Embarrassed for you and my fellow Americans,

Wow, I feel so much better. Well not really. I'm so full of paella I could burst. Thanks for listening and don't forget to click the Hope for Haiti button up there ^^^^^

Donation update

And it's a no. Indy is devastated. Apparently the US gov't has not given permission for fund raising for Haiti on gov't property. Indy has already gotten some private donations and we are going to give that to the Red Cross (plus a healthy addition from us because he has such a good heart and good intentions). If you want to help though, please click the button at the top of my blog ^^^^^^^ to donate and enter for chances to win some awesome privately donated prizes. I've already donated and hope my readers will too.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Helping Haiti. If we can get through the red tape

Like many of you, I've been glued to the news for the last 30+ hours, horrified by what I've seen in Haiti. Indy has taken a keen interest in it too and we've had quite a few discussions about it. We lived in IL when an earthquake shook us back in 2008 and he remembers it quite well. It was frightening and things fell off the wall and gives him a frame of reference. He understands that the one in Haiti was much, much worse and the destruction is overwhelming. This morning he said he wanted to help. He said he wanted to send stuff to help, but a beat later said that wouldn't work because their post office had probably collapsed too (clever boy, isn't he?). A few minutes later he decided it would be easier to send money, but not just a little money, but a lot of money so it could help everybody. What a sweetheart my boy is. He decided he wanted to take up donations and give them to a charity to help. He's seen many groups sitting outside the Commissary (military grocery store) doing bake sales, selling Girl Scout Cookies, taking collections, etc and decided that was what he wanted to do. I agreed it was a very good plan and started making phone calls. The first was to the American Red Cross to find out if we could give the money to them (and to make sure it would go to Haitian relief) and if we could use their name and emblem on our sign. They absolutely agreed and I called the Commissary to make sure we could set up outside. The manager had no problem with it and thought it was a good idea, but told me I'd need an approval letter from the Post commander. Okay. I called the post commander's office and explained the situation. They asked me to write up a memo stating what we wanted to do and when. I did so and carried it over to the office. The PC was out and we were told to come back in an hour. We did and that's where we hit a snag. Unfortunately there was a problem due to unscrupulous people collecting money for whatever and then not giving it to charity. Great. They want to help us out (Indy was crushed at the thought that he might not get to collect for the people of Haiti), but had to do some checking and get JAG (legal) involved and they would let us know tomorrow. The day we planned on doing the collection. I don't know what we'll do if they tell us no, but he's already collected about $25 from people he accosted at the hospital (I had an eye exam) and at the PX. I suppose if we have to, I'll just let him continue to accost random people and tell them they need to help the Haitians. No matter what, we're going to find some way to help out.

If you happen to live in the Heidelberg area, we plan to be in front of the Commissary from 1pm to 3pm on Friday. If you'd like to come donate, please do so. If we're not at a table out front, look for me and Indy trolling the parking lot.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Poop in the mail and on the stairs: Random Thoughts Tuesday


Oh, sweet Tuesday. You rock my world. Shall we?

*Mr. HH and I have a deal when it comes to the dogs. I take them in the morning and he takes them before bed. Indy takes them during the day and gets an allowance for doing so, but that's not part of the story. We've had quite a bit of snow here lately (especially yesterday) and when you're only a few inches off the ground, well, apparently it sucks. Last night when Mr. HH took them out, they were less than happy. Pepper wouldn't even go down the outside set of steps and decided to pee on the landing. Dutch and Arf quickly went down the steps, peed on the big mound of snow where the sidewalk had been shoveled and ran back up. They knew they were going to bed and quickly ran up the 3 flights of steps to our apartment anticipating the warmth of the bed. Arf got to the top flight, he suddenly decided he needed to do more than just pee and took a poop right outside the door. Mr. HH was incredulous. I was wiping tears of mirth from my eyes. The look on Mr. HH's face was priceless. And honestly, Arf is all of about 5 inches from the ground. There are at least 6 inches of snow. I can't really say I blame him. I'm just glad it happened on Mr. HH's watch instead of mine.

*My readers are super awesome. You knew that though, right? All the responses I got on yesterday's post about eating a big slice of cake gives me hope. All those "oh, I couldn't eat a whole piece" people can stuff it. In their face. :)

*The roads here went black (we have a color code for safety-green, amber, red, black) just as it was time for people to get off work. I the roads go black all non-essential personnel are to go home. Despite the fact that it snowed non-stop all day yesterday, they didn't turn them black until 4:50pm. Nice.

*All these Wall Street bonuses are pissing me off.

*Indy went to the German doctor on Friday. It was an experience vastly different from the ones we're used to. We waited all of about 5 minutes (What?) before being ushered back to a bright exam room with floor to ceiling windows. The nurse weighted Indy and checked his height (65lbs, 53.5 inches) and stayed with us. The doctor popped in within a minute of her taking Indy's vitals and asked Indy what was wrong. Not me; Indy. Interesting. They talked for a while and then the doctor asked me a few questions and examined Indy. He decided to rule out some internal diseases (the kids has serious chronic digestive issues) and needed blood. There was no lab shuffle or phlebotomist. The doctor drew the blood himself! How odd. The doctor told me he needed a stool sample. I may have wretched a little in my mouth at the thought. Fantastic. He handed me a little vial with a scoop looking thing attached to the inside of the cap. He told me once I had the sample, just to seal the vial and DROP IT IN THE MAIL! I was dumbstruck. I asked him if it was legal to mail that. He looked at me like I had lost my mind and said "Yes, why not?" Well, hot doctor (Did I mention he was hot? No? Well, he was!) because I'm pretty sure it's against the law in the US and I can't imagine that it's legal in Europe. It's poop! I do NOT need to spend time in a German prison for mailing a hazardous substance. He looked at the nurse who was laughing and said something in rapid fire German (though I understood some of it-he was questioning her if he was wrong) and she looked at me and assured me, that yes, I could put it in the mail and that no, it was not illegal in Germany. Weird!

*I can honestly say I never ever, ever wished I were an Oscar Meyer Wiener Just sayin.

*Where's my bonus?

*Pepsi is the devil. The sweet, delicious, mouth watering devil.

*Mark McGuire is a putz.

*I got an email the other day about Ed Freeman. He passed away in mid-2008. Have you ever heard of him? Probably not. He was a Medal of Honor recipient who was awarded the MOH for his heroic action during Vietnam. He and his commander flew their unarmed helicopter into an area that medical evac helicopters refused to fly into due to the heavy enemy fire. They flew 14 flights through enemy fire bringing water and supplies and removing the wounded. This man (and the commander who flew with him, Bruce Crandall) are American heroes, yet how much air time did his death get? How much time did Michael Jackson's get? There is something seriously wrong with our country.

*Hmmmm....funny sign, funny sign, let me go find one. Ah, here we go! Big props to you St. Cyril. I loves me a truly funny church sign. Enjoy.

Go check out the UnMom for all the other randomness.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Let them eat cake!

Having Mr. HH's birthday party the other night reminded me of something I always find funny when at parties. I'm not saying this happened the other night, but it reminded me. When it comes to desserts like cakes or pies, most people always say something along the lines of "Oh, I'll just have a small piece." Other variations on this could be "Oh, I couldn't eat a whole slice" or "Just cut a slice in half for me." They inevitably eat their small piece and go back for more. Why do people do this? Are we too embarrassed to take a whole slice? I mean, if you look at most Americans, it's obvious they are in fact eating more than a "small piece" so it's not exactly a secret. If you want cake, eat your cake! I love cake. Especially birthday cake, because there are no calories in birthday cakes. What, you didn't know that? It's true. Look it up. Or don't. Just take my word on it. Birthday cake=no calories. When I'm at a party, I don't care what anyone thinks. I want the biggest piece of cake. You know, that corner piece with the big fat icing blob that's supposed to be a rose? Oh yeah, that's the piece for me. If I haven't eaten too much spinach dip before hand, I might even go for a second piece. That's right. Second. And not in the manner of "Oh, my kid didn't eat his/her cake so I'd better finish it." Oh no, I want my own piece, not one that Indy drooled on (not that he would now-the boy likes some cake). Second piece. No apologies. Eat your cake people! You're not fooling anyone. Embrace life. Eat your cake with abandon and if you want to drag your finger across the plate to get the left over icing, I'm right there with you.
In the imortal words that Marie Antoinette likely never said: "Let them eat cake!" A big slice.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Happy Birthday Mr. HH!

Today is Mr. HH's birthday! I threw him a party last night (because I'm awesome like that). We had a bunch of people over in our basement party room and it was so much fun! But don't take my word for it. I have photos!

Mr. HH and TOM (The Other Man). A birthday shot? Why not?

But wait! TOM needs to tuck in a towel in case that shot comes back. They had already downed a few bottles of wine at this point and were feeling no pain.

I did get a photo of the actual shot, but it was blurry. Boo. Mr. HH had a total of 4 shots. Why is it that people think they need to get you drunk on your birthday?

Here's the cake. And yes, there are 37 candles on it. We almost needed a fire extinguisher. Mr. HH asked for a strawberry cake (I may have cried a bit-that's my favorite cake) with white frosting. I also melted some strawberry jam in the microwave and put a thin layer between the cake layers. Yummy!

Can he blow out all those candles? From the faces of the onlookers, I'd say they don't think so.

But he did! And then there were gifts! Everyone knows he likes wine, so our neighbors went to Aldi and found boxes of red and white. They thought they were hilarious and classy! There's no specific type of wine, grape, region or vintage on the boxes. Just red and white. Awesome.

He got a Julia Child cookbook and someone gave him a Cuban (not illegal in Germany). Indy about had a break down though and came crying to me that Daddy was going to use tobacco and get black lungs and die. It was kind of funny and I was more than a little proud of him for his stance on smoking.

Too many drinks!

Even Handy Manny had one too many.

It was nothing fancy, but we actually had a lot of people there. I know it doesn't look like it from the photos, but I was too busy having fun to take many pictures. There were one point 22 adults and 8 kids. Good times!

TOM and TOM's Wife and their kids are coming over for dinner tonight. Steaks and wine. More good times.

Happy birthday Mr. HH!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

A How NOT To

One of the many, many, many things I love about bloggers is that they post so many awesome how to's. I learn so much and get so many amazing ideas. Today I'm going to go in a different direction. Oh, it started off as a how to, but so went the wrong way. I was going to scrap the post but decided I'd give you the benefit of my experience and create a how NOT to. This is long, but I think you'll learn a lesson. I know I sure did.
So, I'm sure by now you've all see those lovely Pottery Barn candles that are basically a tree trunk. No? Well, check it out:

Gorgeous, right? Also, crazy expensive. $69 for a candle? Are you kidding me? I love you PB, but come on.
I'm a member of our Spouses Club (wonderful people who do wonderful works and have a fun luncheon once a month!) and the Ways and Means committee found something similar in Poland for a fraction of the price. Fraction people. You might have caught a glimpse of mine in my Christmas decor.
Cute, huh? Yeah, and after the mark up for the Ways and Means committee it was $14. FOURTEEN! Oh, Pottery Barn. You have beautiful stuff but your prices suck.
Anyway, I brought it home and promptly burned out the very slim candle that was poured into what really is just a tree trunk. Who thought of that? Craziness. It came with a white candle that lasted a few hours, but when it was gone, I was left with a log with a hole in the top. I certainly wasn't going to throw it out (gasp!) but they don't exactly make log sized candles and tea lights (even the big ones) just looked silly. I thunk and I thunk and finally, like the Grinch up in his mountain lair an idea finally came to me! I smiled my sly Grinch-y smile and rubbed my hands together in glee. I would melt some candles I already had and pour them in the base! How hard could that be? Oh, how that thought came back to haunt me!
I jumped up from the sofa, giggling slightly and gathered my supplies, tea lights and the log and carried them off to the kitchen, still congratulating myself on my obviously superior intelligence, thriftiness and skills.

I pulled out a large deep frying pan and placed about a half inch of water in and set it on the stove. I'm a genius! Or not, whatever. Once the water warmed up, I carefully placed my many tea lights in and waited for them to melt. And waited, and waited.'d think this would be faster. I thought hey let's crank the heat up a bit, that should help. And it did! Except that the water got a little too hot and started boiling and the candles jumped a bit and wax got into the water. Drat. I was hoping to avoid wax in the frying pan, but no matter, I'd just clean it out. The large tea light was melting around the edges which is what I'd been waiting for as it would serve as the center of the candle. Of course it wouldn't just pop out of it's holder, so I needed it to melt a smidgeon. I picked it up carefully and it was HOT! Holy cow! I managed to get the metal holder out of the water without incident (if you don't care about not having fingerprints that is), picked up the candle by the wick and placed it in the center of the hole. The melted wax I poured around it and went back to waiting for the small tea lights to melt. How to get them out though? I didn't want to lose the rest of my identifying marks so I thought I'd use a pair of tongs to remove the metal casings from the water and pour it into my mold, then just pull out the extra wick I didn't need. Congratulating myself once again on my brilliance, I grabbed a pair of tongs and picked up the first tea light. It tilted a little and wax poured into the water. Darn it! No worries. Just a little wax. I managed to get the remainder into the mold, the extra wick out and grabbed for another. This time, more wax poured out and a little splashed across the stove. Grrrr. I'd have to clean the stove. There actually wasn't much wax left by the time I got it to the mold and I was getting a little frustrated. The 3rd tea light went even worse. It dropped completely out of the tongs and splashed everywhere, including all over my clothes. Nooooooooooooo!

At this point Mr. HH called to ask if I was okay, and I assured him I was and that no he did NOT need to come to the kitchen. All I needed was for him to see the counter, floor and me covered in red wax blobs. I would have NEVER heard the end of it. Ever. I quickly started cleaning up and cursing up a storm and gave up on my brilliant plan. My candle was half done, I was covered in wax and the kitchen was a mess. Great. I drug the iron out and threw some paper towels over the mess, hoping to warm it into the paper towels. It worked. I took off my shirt, and prayed Mr. HH would not decide to stroll into the kitchen. This would be hard to explain and at this point I was pretty sure I couldn't come up with anything that sounded even remotely plausible. Especially not the truth.
So my candle was still not finished, and the water on the stove obviously didn't work. I thunk and I thunk again (I might have fractured something up there, but I can't be sure) and an idea hit me while I stared down at my shirt that was not releasing the wax. I grabbed an old jar out of the glass recycling bin and tossed in some pieces of a red taper. Genius! Why hadn't I thought of this earlier? Mental high five! 3 minutes later though, and my taper had barely melted. Was this wax or kryptonite? Gah! 5 more minutes in the microwave and some of it was melted enough that I could pour it and I oh so stupidly reached in to pull it out. Bare handed. Let me tell you something. Eight minutes in a microwave makes glass HOT. Too hot to hold. I dropped the jar of hot wax and it shattered. In the microwave. Brilliant. This was clearly not my night. I cleaned the microwave and cursed my self and this stupid project to no end still determined to somehow make this work. The tea lights didn't do well in the water and the jar didn't do well in the microwave. Hmmmmm. What if I combined them though???? I grabbed another jar from the glass bin (thank goodness we hadn't taken it out!) and another taper. I used a knife to shave the taper into the jar. The solid candle took too long to melt, but I reasoned that shavings would melt pretty quickly. And you know what? I WAS RIGHT! I placed the jar in the pan of water and the shavings melted almost instantly! Clearly, I was a genius. Those first two attempts were merely experiments on the path to brilliance. When the wax was good and melted, I poured it into the mold, let it cool and voila! I had the perfect candle! Obviously I'd found my calling. Look how pretty it turned out:

So, to reiterate my findings: tea lights should not go in shallow boiling water because they will eventually move and get wax all in your pan (which is a PITA to clean afterward), glass gets really, really hot in the microwave (and it's hard to clean if it gets everywhere) and wax shavings actually melt fairly quickly. Oh, and sometimes you have to let go of your clothing even it was one of your favorites. This is why crafters and painters wear smocks. Take note. There you have it. My how not to.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

My first RTT of the year!!!!

Seriously, I can't believe it's Tuesday already! Randomness to start the New Year! Huzzah!


*I've already broken 2 of my NY resolutions. Drat. And no, I'm telling what they were.

*What do you think dogs do while their owners are away? Do they have a concept of time? I know they're happy when we get home, but I often wonder if they think "Whew, it's about time they left, they were really getting on my nerves" when we leave the house.

*Is it wrong that I'm ridiculously excited that Indy and Mr. HH have cub scouts tonight, leaving me a whole hour to myself?

*Indy had to get x-rays of his innards today (he's okay) and thought it was the coolest thing ever.

*We're studying northern Europe in hs this week. Did you know that North and South Holland are actually provinces in the Netherlands? They are not a country. What's with those Dutch anyway? They call their country the Netherlands, but call themselves Dutch. Shouldn't they be "Netherlanders" or something?

*Somehow Switzerland got tossed into the unit with northern Europe. Someone should check their geography. I'm just saying. I can't really complain though, because as part of our "cultural study" we've had Dutch Gouda and Swiss chocolate all in one day. Yum!

*I hate the gym after the new year. It's so crowded and treadmills are like gold. Fortunately, by Feb all those resolution people will have drifted off and things will go back to normal.

*My doctor upped my dosage of the new happy pills today. Huzzah. BTW, I'm down 4 pounds since he switched my medicine, which considering I spent a week in France eating my weight in cheese and bread and THEN got slammed by the holidays is awesome. It's like a holiday miracle.

*Mr. HH's birthday is Sunday. I'm throwing him another party. Has he ever thrown me a party? No. No he has not. I need a wife.

*On Friday, as part of our studies we're supposed to do raclette for dinner. I should probably start researching that, huh? We have a raclette grill, but I've never used it before. I've just sent an email to Anne and hope she can help me with the cheese.

*I feel so out of sorts! Have the holidays off from hsing really wiped me out and now I can't get back in the groove.

*All our Christmas stuff is scattered everywhere. It's terrible.


*Why is it that they put the Valentine's stuff out 3 days after Christmas? I told Mr. HH, I didn't want any 3 days after Christmas chocolates in February.

*I'm waiting for the FAA to declare that all fliers must now go commando. Explosives in the underwear? What if it went off early or just burned you? OUCH. Idiot.

*Wouldn't want to make the animals sick with all our trans-fats, would we?

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Drinking the good stuff

We all know that New Year's Eve is good for celebrating with friends and drinking a toast to the end of one year and the beginning of the new. We celebrated with lots of really good champagne. Real champagne. From the Champagne region of France. If it doesn't come from the Champagne region, it's sparkling wine. There are some really, really, really good sparkling wines (I'm a big fan and don't let Mr. HH know you have some because he will tip it back and drink it like it's water), but real champagne is a whole other entity. We had 2 bottle of Veuve Clicquot (next year I'll buy a magnum-the same as 2 bottles just larger, which is optimal for champagne, or so I've read) and very fine bottle of G. H. Mumm (both from Reims, France). They were smooth and delicious and I drank waaaay too much. Happy 2010!

Tonight we got together with TOM (The Other Man) and TOM's wife for dinner. Earlier in the day we had all gone to this Italian restaurant supplier called Pronto and gathered food stuffs and wine for a big fat meal. I made squid ink pasta with a tomato/olive sauce (outstanding) and caprese salad (tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, fresh basil and high quality olive oil). TOM made penne with a bolgenese sauce, set out bowls of stuffed olives (one stuffed with sun dried tomatoes and sliced up some Italian peperoni thing (I don't really know what it was, but Mr. HH loved it) and super thin slices of Pecorino cheese. Compared to Pecorino, Parmesan tastes like sawdust. It's that good.

At Pronto, we also spend about 45 minutes perusing their wine selection. It's HUGE and runs the gamut from 2 Euro up to 60+ Euro a bottle. We found 4 bottles of wines in the 6-12 Euro range and all left smiling. I didn't think we'd open them all, but since we were with TOM, who knows his stuff when it comes to wine, I was happy to keep buying. I'm a white wine kind of girl, but TOM found 3 reds he thought I should try (he's on a mission to find a red I'll like) and Mr. HH picked out a bottle of blush.

We prepared dinner (Indy loved the squid ink pasta!) and cracked open some wine. The first red I thought was okay. It didn't burn my throat or make me feel like a dust storm had just blown through my mouth, but it didn't excite me. We ate some more and opened another red. Oh, this red was delicious! I couldn't believe it. A red I actually liked! It was from the Campagnia region of Italy and grown on the slopes of Mt. Vesuvius. Apparently the minerals in the volcanic soil gie it the mellowness. Fantastic! It was made from the oldest type of grapes brought to Italy by the Greeks. Yum, yum, yum! Since I was so happy with it, TOM decided to crack open a more "serious" wine for him and Mr. HH. I tried it, but it made my nose burn and my eyes water and my tongue retreat to the back of my mouth wondering why I would do something so horrible to it. I went back to my happy wine and all was well. They finished off the evil wine and decided to open the rose. It was actually quite good. I switched to it after my bottle of red was empty (sadness) and realized I was quite woozy. I almost never (with the exception of NY Eve) drink more than a glass or two of wine (Sangria doesn't count-you don't realize there's alcohol in it until it's too late) and probably had about 6. SIX! In the space of 2 hours! What is wrong with me? Between the 4 of us, we finished off all 4 bottles of wine with dinner. That is a lot of vino people. Too much! It's been about 3 hours and I'm still a bit tipsy. Thank heaven for spell check, otherwise my post would read something like this: Wedrabk a lotof wihe tonight with idnner adn I cna barerly sse ot type.

Mr. HH and I have decided to start a wine journal to keep track of what we like. TOM has an ELABORATE journal on Xcel that is up to 275 different wines since Jan 07. He has a few simple book journals but filled them so quickly he decided to go digital.

Do you have a specific wine (or champagne/sparkling wine) that you like? Do you keep a wine journal? Are you a red or a white fan?

You know who likes wine? Johnny Depp. That's who. Drinking it is just one more way we grow closer every day. Good heavens I need to go to bed. Love you all. Especially you Johnny. Call me. We'll have drinks.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy 2010!

I hope you all had a fun and safe New Year's Eve. It was awesome here. We were up until 2:30 am (Indy included) and we all slept until almost noon. Awesome. I tried to find the most awesome NY song ever on You Tube, but the only short version of it I could find was a remix and why would you want a remix when the original is so freaking awesome? This is crazy long (and colorized! Scandal!), but if you watch just the beginning, you'll see why I wanted to post this. From my favorite holiday movie ever, Holiday Inn:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...