Friday, April 29, 2011

Vegetarian Chili

Amanda asked me for my chili recipe, which I would be happy to share, if I had one. I make it up every time, and it's never the same. But this is the gist of it:

Put one package of Morningstar Farms veggie crumbles, one diced onion, enough cut up carrots and celery to fill your two hands cupped together each, and a glob of that garlic that comes already cut up in a jar into a big stock pot with some olive oil.

Saute them for a while.

Add one can of black beans (drain these just enough so the clear liquid is gone but the brown stuff is still in there), one can of kidney beans (drained) and one big can of diced tomatoes.

Then you're going to want to put some veggie broth in there. I usually just throw in one of those cubes of bullion and then enough water so it looks like chili. I dunno how much that is, maybe two cups?

This part's super scientific: add some salt, some pepper, a lot of chili powder, and some cumin. Just until it tastes right. Sometimes I also add a little balsamic vinegar, if I have it around. This isn't a spicy chili recipe because I need little kids to eat it.

Now let it simmer for a while, ten or twenty minutes, depending on how hungry you are.

Then, a few minutes before you want to eat it, throw in one chunk of unsweetened baker's chocolate. Make sure it all melts before you serve it though, because a mouthful of still solid-chocolate is usually a good thing, but a bit of a surprise in chili.

Serve it with tortilla chips and shredded cheese.


Thursday, April 28, 2011


Lucas's dad says he's going to create a font based on his handwriting.
It's sure to be the next Comic Sans.


Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Here's another meme for you. I stole it from The Sweetest.

A. Age: If I stand on a chair, I can see my fortieth birthday.
B. Bed size: Slightly too small for two adults and two dogs.
C. Chore you dislike: I will let the garbage overflow onto the floor before I take it out.
D. Dogs: I have a pit bull named Lydia. Plus Eric's collie, Princess Cassandra Louis LaPorte.
E. Essential start to your day: I sit in the shower and drink coffee. Really.
F. Favorite color: It changes all the time. Lately its dark teal.
G. Gold or silver: I'm going to assume we're talking about jewelry here, and not currency. Either way, I guess, both.
H. Height: My doctor's office says I'm 5’3″, but I've been saying 5'2" my whole life. 
I. Instruments you play(ED): I was allowed to play the xylophone once in fourth grade.
J. Job title: Advertising administrative coordinator. Jealous?
K. Kids: I have one adopted son, one biological daughter and two sort-of step sons.
L. Live: In a house. 
M. Mom’s name: Susan, but her mom calls her Susie, which I love.
N. Nicknames: Nope.  
O. Overnight hospital stays: Once for a broken wrist when I was 13, once with Lucas when he was mis-diagnosed with a heart problem, and then when Merry was born.
P. Pet peeves: When commercials use cartoon versions of the animals whose meat they are advertising.
Q. Quote from a movie: It's okay. I'm a leaf on the wind.
R. Righty or Lefty: Hands or politics? I'm right handed.
S. Siblings: I have one big brother.
T. Time you wake up: 6ish if the kids are at my house. 7ish if they're not.
U. Underwear: Usually.
V. Vegetables you don’t like: Cooked green peppers. I love them raw.
W. What makes you run late: Very little. I am obsessively on time.
X. X-rays you’ve had: Above mentioned wrist. Teeth.
Y. Yummy food you make: Vegetarian chili.
Z. Zoo Animal Favorites: The monkeys and the prairie dogs.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Dyngus Day

It's a thing. Really.

It's the Polish* celebration of Easter Monday. Something about pouring water on the girl of your fancy and then smacking her with a stick.

It's a big deal where I'm from in Indiana. But it's more about eating sausage and drinking beer than assault there.

*I come from a long line of people with last names containing lots of consonants. Especially Zs.

Friday, April 22, 2011

A rose by any other blah blah blah..

While we're on the subject of nomenclature and its impact on reinvention and getting off your ass, have you guys ever heard of the website, It's a site that uses math and science, and I'm assuming a Magic 8 Ball, to tell you what your name will turn you into. Which? That's all fine and good, but damage done, right? I can't go back in time and make my mom unname me Elizabeth. 

(I will, however, admit to using this to help me decide what to name my kids. I'm not proud. Their dad was no help.)

My name's Elizabeth, and that's what I'll say if you ask me, but my family has always called me Beth. It looks like maybe I should get off my high Victorian horse and go with the shorter version.
Your name of Elizabeth contributes sensitive, creative, and idealistic qualities to your nature that could be expressed in a variety of literary or artistic fields.
You desire harmony and refinement in your environment and in all your personal associations.
 Although mentally quick and intuitive in recognizing the thoughts and feelings of others, you experience a lack of fluency in verbal expression in responding. Although the name Elizabeth creates the urge to understand others, we stress that it limits self-expression and self-confidence causing moods.
 This name, when combined with the last name, can frustrate happiness, contentment, and success, as well as cause health weaknesses in the fluid systems, heart, lungs and bronchial area. 
Because here's what they have to say about Beth:
The name of Beth brings opportunities for success in business and financial accumulation.
 It fires you with ambition and promotional ideas, ideas that are original, progressive, and large-scale.
 With this name, success to you is a foregone conclusion, for you cannot conceive any reason for not reaching all your goals, as you have self-sufficiency, supreme confidence, boundless energy, and enthusiasm.
 As long as you have a sense of freedom from monotony and drudgery, and can see progress being made, you feel buoyant and optimistic.However, obstacles and frustration can give rise to feelings of impatience, intolerance, and depression.
 The ever-present desire to progress does not allow you proper relaxation or the proper expression of the softer feminine qualities of sympathy, encouragement, and affection.
 Others may see you as rather shrewd and calculating. Although the name Beth causes an active mind and a restless urge to explore new ideas, we emphasize that it causes a materialistic approach that frustrates higher humanitarian qualities.
 This name, when combined with the last name, can frustrate happiness, contentment, and success, as well as cause health weaknesses in the solar plexus and reproductive organs. 
Mostly, it's fun to plug in your friends' names and then tease them about it.
The name of Eric creates a very aggressive and independent nature, one with big ambitions, giving you original, progressive, large-scale ideas, salesmanship and promotional ability as well as the excellent business judgment which enables you to gain the financial accumulation to which you feel entitled. You have a versatile, restless nature, and could do any job well, although you would not like to do menial tasks.You are seldom satisfied and are always seeking something new. Although the name Eric causes an active mind and a restless urge to explore new ideas, we emphasize that it causes an unscrupulous, materialistic approach that frustrates higher humanitarian qualities. This name, when combined with the last name, can frustrate happiness, contentment, and success, as well as cause health weaknesses in the solar plexus and reproductive organs.
I don't know about his solar plexus, but there's nothing wrong with his "organs".

What does it say about you?

    Thursday, April 21, 2011

    B is for Ballsy?

    Screw Easter resolutions. I figured out the ultimate way to veer out of the rut that I have been stuck in.

    I will become a different person. And it's as easy as one simple email to my lawyer. I am no longer Elizabeth H, I am Elizabeth B. While Elizabeth H was prone to daydreaming, staring into the middle-distance and boredom snacking, Elizabeth B is whip smart, perky and go getter. Watch out for Elizabeth B, she's going places.

    It's true that this name isn't entirely new to me, but I was 23 years old the last time I was her, and I aim to reclaim all her youth and potential. (It'd be super nice if I could reclaim her dress size while I was at it.)

    Tuesday, April 19, 2011


    It's been a super long time since I've had a book to read that I can't wait to get back to. A book that I try to think of sneaky ways to read, like behind an engineering magazine at work, while my kids are taking a bath, at long red lights in traffic. I just can't escape my nerd roots, because only a couple chapters in I am loving The Name of the Wind.

    Monday, April 18, 2011

    There's such a thing as Easter resolutions, right?

    Now that the week of Merry is over and she has successfully turned four, and now that the weekend of laziness and gluttony is over and I have successfully gained four pounds, I can get back to my normal blogging schedule of half-hearted daily observations and woolgathering.


    Perhaps, instead, I could treat this Passover/Easter/Beltane as a New Year part II, and make summore resolutions (cause that worked out so well in January.) But I'm not going to call them resolutions, because resolutions are easily dismissed and forgotten. I'm going to call them wants; wishes seems too passive.

    So while I dance around the Spring bonfire Sunday night (unless someone puts Pixies tickets in my Easter basket), roasting pink chick Peeps, burning effigies of Winter, and telling my children stories about Nice Zombie Jesus and his egg-loving rabbit sidekick, I will whisper these wants into the flames.

    I want to try to tackle some of those house and yard projects that I've been putting off since Eric entranced me with his come-hither eyes and his lookit-my-manliness muscles two years ago and hypnotized me into spending my weekends playing with him instead of getting stuff done. (Hi Puddin! I'm quite fond of you.) 

    I want to read more. I miss books and I'm happier when I'm reading. (I went to the book store this weekend and stocked up.) 

    And I want to plan a vacation. A real get on an airplane and go somewhere nice but not because someone is getting married vacation. I'll figure out how to pay for it later.

    And although I do not want to, I will, grudgingly, make some of those icky doctor appointments I have been putting off for way too long. I desperately need to go to the chiropractor, the dentist, the lady bits doctor and probably, if I'm honest with myself, the emotion doctor. I mean, really? How long can I go around being alternately weepy and bitchy while waving the PMS flag fifteen days out of every month? That is either not PMS or someone set my PMS switch to overdrive, and I need to get the reset button pushed. And I need to do all of this tout de suite, while I still have health insurance... and speaking of that...

    Friday, April 15, 2011

    The Cat

    Last night while we were making dinner Eric went to take out the recycling and found a cat. In the recycling bin. Someone had wrapped a cat up in a blanket and stuffed it in there. Like, to kill it. He called me out there, and of course, the kids followed. We got it out and it just kind of hung out by us, obviously nervous, but not wild. Dirty, stunned, but otherwise healthy looking. A full grown cat, declawed. White with orange spots. A house cat.

    I thought of Tara's story about trying to help the feral cat and ending up in the ER and cautioned the kids not to touch it, but Eric had not read Tara's blog and so, of course, did not know the risks. He picked it up. It did not bite him. I ran in the house to get it something to eat, my mind going a hundred miles an hour.

    I love cats.
    I am allergic to cats.
    We have two dogs.
    I was not going to just leave that poor cat to fend for itself in the mean suburban streets.
    How the fuck did it get in there?
    Who would do that?

    I came out with some left over fish sticks and did the "Here kitty kitty kitty" thing. It ran right up to me. Sniffed the fish. Decided to chew on some day lilies instead. I told Lucas he could pet it, but not to pick it up. It did the head butt, roll over on the ground move of a cat that has been petted a lot and knows the routine. Lucas was already begging to keep it.

    I figured we could keep it in the garage over night and then decide what to do.  So Eric opened the garage door and I picked it up and carried it in. It had started to squirm in my arms and I was still a little nervous about the potential biting so I quickly put it down, but as soon as Eric started to close the door it darted off, down the driveway and across the street and away. Probably back to the house it came from.

    I can only hope that it was not a person in that house that stuffed it in the garbage in the first place. And I hope that whoever it was who did it burns eternally in a special hell surrounded by my cat urine scented recycling.


    I just had another thought. Eric said that the cat was stuffed in the bin in a weird angle all crumpled up. Just lying there blinking at him. Now, from what I know about cats, that doesn't seem right. Cats will twist themselves and scramble in every direction to right themselves. I wonder if, whoever put the cat in the garbage thought it was dead. Like it was stunned or unconscious, maybe hit by a car or something. So they wrapped it up in the blanket and put it in there.

    By still, why my recycling?


    I hope he's OK.


    Great. Now I'm thinking that my recycling bin is some sort of Stephen King's Pet Cemetaryesque life-recycling bin. I always thought it was a little creepy the way I've never, in the more than three years that I've lived here, gotten a bill for garbage collection.

    Thursday, April 14, 2011

    Say Cheese

    Lest you think that I only post pictures of Merry here because I love her more, I give you this. Lucas is a beautiful child, but unfortunately, he's going through that stage in life where he does not know how to smile naturally for the camera. (I'm expecting to grow out of that stage any day now myself.) 
    Today is picture day at his school, so I told him to practice his smile for me this morning. This was the best one.

    Wednesday, April 13, 2011

    Tuesday, April 12, 2011


    Today is Meredith's birthday. She is this crazy, charming little tyrant who pops in and out of my week, making me laugh and making me crazy. I only see her half the time. It's always been that way. But I think about them both and miss them all the time.

    (It's killing me.)

    It's her dad's day today. So I'm taking a half-day off of work to go pick her up from school and whisk her away for some special birthday stuff.

    Monday, April 11, 2011


    Despite the forlorn look on her face, she was actually thrilled with her new gun (and the watch, and the shoes.)

    Her big brother was very very jealous and kept trying to trick her into giving him the gun.

    Friday, April 8, 2011

    There Will be Snacks

    This song makes me think of the people in my computer who visit me here, whose blogs I read, whose lives I follow, who I cyber-stalk.

    i know we're going to meet some day 
    in the crumbled financial institutions of this land
    there will be tables and chairs
    there'll be pony rides and dancing bears
    there'll even be a band
    cause listen, after the fall there will be no more countries
    no currencies at all, we're gonna live on our wits
    we're gonna throw away survival kits,
    trade butterfly-knives for adderal
    and that's not all
    ooh-ooh, there will be snacks there will
    there will be snacks, there will be snacks.
    - from Tables and Chairs, Andrew Bird

    My mom's coming to town and we are throwing Merry's 4th birthday party at the bowling alley tomorrow. Yay!
    So. Have a good weekend everyone.

    Wednesday, April 6, 2011

    Proud Parenting Moments

    My kids have no tact. I guess, what kids do? But they've been known to blurt out super embarrassing and potentially hurtful things to people on a fairly regular basis. Lucas told his uncle that he had "bald hair" and Merry told me the other day that she thought her dad had a baby in his tummy because, well, you know.

    So we're sitting on the couch and Lucas reaches over and pokes me in the belly. "Mom, you've got a big..." And I stopped him right there and gave him a good pms fueled lecture about never saying things like that to people because it hurts their feelings and blah blah blah.

    A little bit later, as I was taking a shower, Lucas came into the bathroom.

    "Mom, I have to tell you something."

    "What's that?"

    He pokes his head around the shower curtain. "You look really nice, even without clothes on."

    Tuesday, April 5, 2011

    Note to Self

    When the person who has known you longer and, arguably, better than anyone else on the planet, who has watched, wincing, as you made countless bad decisions with her lips sealed, who cheered you on when you dyed your hair pink in high school, who oohed and aahed over your first tattoo, who could count on one hand the times that she has given you advice, the person with whom you share a remarkable number of physical traits; when that person, your mother, tells you not to cut bangs, you should listen to her.

    Monday, April 4, 2011

    Wishes Can Come True

    Guess which little girl asked her mom for a pink gun for her birthday.

    Guess which little girl is getting her birthday wish.

    Wake Up

    More new 50 Foot Wave.

    This is a good way to start today.