Tuesday, February 28, 2006

A Fortnight

The last two weeks have passed in a blur. The Olympics served as a time vaccuum, sucking up all my evening time and our weekends seem packed with activities - all to the detriment of the blog. Additionally, Megan has been sick - very sick- pretty much continuously since starting daycare. First a cold, then an ear infection and now the stomach flu. We thought she was getting better today since she was eating again, but this was apparently just a ploy to make her vomit even more projectile. We are looking forward to having a healthy baby again (which may mean no more daycare).
Some days I have to go out to McMinnville for some pathology tests that have to be done on site. A couple of weeks ago I had some time to kill so I headed up to the doctor's lounge to hang out. There was one other doc in there at the time, an old guy who eyed me suspiciously since he didn't recognize my face (McMinnville is a pretty small hospital).
"Hi, Rich G..., cardiology," he said, in an obvious probe for my identity.
"Pam Smith, pathology," I returned. "I am waiting for a procedure."
"Oh," he deadpanned, "I am waiting for heart attacks."

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Megan's Meme

Meg got tagged to meme, so even though she only has a year of life experiences to draw on so some of the her answers are a bit limited. She'll try her best!

Four jobs I've had
1. Family Entertainer
2. Home safety and child-proof gadget inspector
3. Sleep deprivation trainer
4. Food critic

Four movies I can watch over and over:
1. Baby Einstein Numbers Nursery
2. The video at the end of Madagascar (because I like to move-it move it)
3. How can I watch movies over and over when I only have a 10 minute attention span?

Four places I've lived
1. Salem, OR
2. Portland, OR
3. My mom's womb
4. I haven't lived anywhere else; I am only one year old!

Four TV shows I love:
1. Arrested development (theme song only)
2. Actually, I prefer the commercials with catchy jingles to actual shows

Four places I've vacationed
1. On a houseboat in Lake Powell
2. Las Vegas (twice!)
3. Arcadia, CA
4. Sacramento, CA

Four of my favorite dishes
1. Macaroni and Cheese
2. Yogurt
3. Bean burritos
4. Pears and bananas

Four sites I visit daily
1. I am not allowed to play with the computer (wah!)
2. What's a website?

Four places I would rather be right now
1. At the YMCA pool
2. In the bath tub
3. On my swing or in the backpack (anywhere outside, really)
4. I don't care, just please don't leave me at daycare (more on that another day)

Bloggers I am tagging
1. Harrison
2. Emma
3. I don't really know what a blogger is either

Four jobs I'd like to have
1. Button pusher
2. Computer indestructibility tester
3. Toilet bowl scrubber (I can use my bare hands, right?)
4. Cat sitter (and, yes, I would actually sit on your cat)

Four books I love
1. Goodnight Gorilla
2. Goodnight Moon
3. Peekaboo Farm
4. Anybook with flaps
(Bonus: one book I hate: Arthur's New Puppy, the sound effects make me cry)

Four more of my favorite dishes
1. Toast
2. Pancakes
3. Ice cream
4. Veggie Puffs

Coming soon: Megan's Mama's Meme (this was a better aliteration if the last word is pronounced "me-me" as in "all about me," like I thought, but Mac says this isn't right. As he puts it, "Mimi is the fat lady on the Drew Cary show; It's pronounced MEEM. I prefer not to believe him - shocking- 'cause I still like my way better)

Tuesday, February 7, 2006

Happy Birthday!

Mac is another year older today. Since it's his birthday, you probably shouldn't comment on those new grey hairs.

This afternoon Mac is off for a very cute Dads and Daughters celebration with his friend Jay, who is off on paternity leave, and Jay's daughters Katie (3 1/2) and Kalisa (4 months) and, of course, Megan (1 yr).

Happy birthday, M!

Thursday, February 2, 2006

Getting Serious

I have several friends that I would call casual runners: people who run a couple of miles a few times a week just for the heck of it. It helps them stay fit and they like to run, but they aren't fanatic about it and they aren't in training for anything. A few of these casual runners have talked about doing a marathon just once in their life (some of them have even done one, but aren't planning to do it again). To them the marathon represents the ultimate running challenge; to complete one would validate the runner in them.

I would consider myself a casual cook. I like to cook, if I have the time, but I don't go out of my way to make the time for cooking. I like to try new recipes and frequently tear articles out of magazines, but I don't spend my Sunday afternoons perusing cookbooks. Additionally, I don't find that I need an elaborate meal to be satisfied most of the time; one well-prepared dish with a salad usually qualifies as good eating for me, particularly if it is a new recipe and we are trying it on a weeknight. And, in general, if a recipe looks complicated and time consuming, I pass it over.

To me the dinner party is the casual cook's equivalent of the marathon. The dinner party requires great planning and preparation to go smoothly. This is the chance to try those recipes that look fantastic but have way too many steps and make way too many dishes to be practical for a family dinner. And kitchen tasks that seem superfluous all of the sudden become very important.

For example, why would anyone want to peel a pepper? Sure, the peel gets charred when you roast a pepper and needs to be removed, but I am talking about a fresh pepper. The delicate membrane is so thin and so tightly bound to the underlying flesh as to be barely noticeable, but last Friday I found myself carefully removing this transparent layer, all in the name of the dinner party.

And when else would one put so much thought into garnishes? But I sometimes put as much thought into the garnish as the recipe itself. For heaven's sake, many of the garnishes are put on the plate with no intentions that they ever get eaten (though they are non-toxic, of course).

The preparation up to a dinner party proceeds through a successive series of lists: lists of potential recipes, then shopping lists, to do lists, and finally, the preparation lists for the dishes themselves. The lead-up is always a lot of work, but in the end I am always quite satisfied with the night. Some dishes turn out worse than expected, but some turn out better. But more important than the food, I enjoy the good company there to share it with me.

I may not be ready for Iron Chef, but the cook in me always feels quite good after throwing a dinner party, like I can slack off in the kitchen for a long time to come and not feel guilty about it. And so now if you'll excuse me, all this talk about food has made me quite hungry. I think I'll have spaghetti-O's or Top Ramen... without a garnish.