Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Latest Controversial Position:

Shamrock shakes are gross. EW.

Monday, March 03, 2014

So Do We Watch the Tonight Show Now?

J turned to me the other night and said, "Wait, do we watch The Tonight Show now?"
"Huh," I responded, "I think we're probably old enough."
"I think this marks a rite of passage."
"I think we're your parents now."

Jimmy Fallon took over The Tonight Show a week or two ago, ending twenty years of not watching The Tonight Show. J was raised with Carson's Tonight Show, while, as we have covered here before, I was raised without television like some sort of feral, godless animal.

Even after my family got a TV, I was never allowed to stay up to watch The Tonight Show, because my parents never watched it (presumably because they were always reading the newest translation of some mid-20th century Russian novelist.) As soon as I was old enough to make the choice to watch The Tonight Show, Carson signed off and Leno took over. The next twenty-two years were filled with, at best, a profoundly mediocre Tonight Show and at worst, the same terrible jokes piled up over and over so as to create a galling Hellscape of depressive humor. I don't think I could watch a single show straight through without wanting to denounce television as a bland tool of cultural oppression and move to translate my own Russian novel.

But I really like Jimmy Fallon. And the Roots? COME ON, it's THE ROOTS. It occurred to me that Jimmy has a lot more in common with Steve Allen, the original Tonight Show host, with his musical talent and easy humor. Jimmy can actually play instruments and hold a note, an asset long absent from late night. Music and musicians are important to him, which I respect. Jimmy isn't just a standup, he does character work, skits, and, of course, competitive games.

 We're in for a lot of fun.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Cinnamon Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies

I like to create new recipes for the annual cookie swap my friends throw in December. This year I started with the Jacques Torres NYT chocolate chip cookie recipe as a model and then built on it. These cookies feel seasonal with cinnamon and toffee chips, studded with bittersweet chocolate, and a caramel-y dough. This is my way of saying that I will defend my title as Queen of the Cookie to the last crumb.

I love these cookies. The cinnamon in the dough isn't overwhelming, and the three different chips makes the cookie warm, sweet, and just stupid delicious. And wouldn't you know, I WON QUEEN OF THE COOKIE! You could win Queen of the Cookie, too, with this recipe. Unless you want to be King of the Cookie, or Imperator of the Biscotti. I don't want to put a limit on your dreams.

Cinnamon Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies

17 oz Flour (3 2/3 cups)
10 oz Dark brown sugar (1 1/4 cups)
8 oz Granulated sugar (1 cup plus 2 Tbl)
1 ¼ c. Unsalted butter
2 Large eggs
1 ¼ tsp  Baking soda
1 ½ tsp Baking powder
1 ½ tsp Kosher salt
1 tsp Cinnamon
2 tsp Vanilla
1 ½ c Cinnamon chips (abt 1 pkg)
1 1/3 c.Toffee chips (abt 1 pkg)
10 oz. Bittersweet chocolate chips (abt 1 pkg)

Cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and then vanilla. Mix all dry ingredients and add slowly until incorporated. Stir in all the chips. Refrigerate at least 24 hours, 36 is even better. Bake 375 for 8-10 minutes until golden. You could also sprinkle them with w/sea salt before cooking, add 1/2 tsp chili or cayenne powder, or 1/2 cup toasted chopped almonds to the dough. Yes, you need to let the dough chill for a day. Something happens to the sugar and the flour when it chills for at least 24 hours, turning the cookie caramel-y, crisp on the edges and gooey in the middle. Trust me.

Friday, December 06, 2013

What Happens When I Start Living (Part Time) at McDonald's

I've been spending several hours a week at a McDonald's--hold on, it gets better, a McDonald's attached to a gas station. My oldest has a tutor that's helping him with some school work and the WiFi to use while I'm waiting those hours is at the McDonald's down the street. I order a drink and find a seat to get in a little bit of work. The drink is usually caffeine because I have to drive home eventually and everyone gets upset these days when you fall asleep at the wheel. I remember the old days when you could take a twenty minute nap behind the wheel of your Crown Vic and everyone minded their own freaking business. America is going to nanny state hell, I tell you.

Sometimes I get annoyed at the people in this McDonald's, like when they hold the door open to have a conversation and it's 5 degrees outside. That isn't an exaggeration, it really is 5 degrees outside. I'm trying to enjoy a dining experience in this McCafe, because any time you are putting things in your pie hole and you don't also have to make sure small people put things in their pie hole, it's an experience. There are many other times I get annoyed at the people in the McDonald's, but then we have to remember, I am also a person in McDonald's, so pass the sweet and sour.

I should be used to the cold, experience or no experience, because my house is only partially insulated (thanks, 1979.) The geniuses who built our house didn't insulate exterior-facing walls in places like closets. Every time you open the door to the coat closet a blast of Saskatchewan's finest air hits you in the face like the broad side of the moose. The worst is the garage, which means that the uninsulated floor of the bonus room, which houses the laundry and the playroom, is over an unheated space.

It's so cold I've set up a side business in cryogenics. The kids get a kick out of moving the disembodied heads over to play Legos, and I haven't had to buy any giant plastic Lego man heads for storage. It's a win-win (that's a fancy business term from the 1990s that I'm applying to parenting, keep up.) I like folding laundry in that room because it's chic and sophisticated not to feel my fingers--like I took one of those designer drugs everyone talked about in the 1990s. I dream sometimes about having insulation blown into the garage ceiling/bonus room floor, or the closets, or everywhere. It's just too bad that I'm blowing all that insulation cash on medium Diet Cokes at McDonald's.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Dressing up by Lulu

Not long ago, on some chilly morning, I went to get Lulu out of her room. She was already wearing a light pink confection with seed pearls and chiffon overlay, pairing the dress with silver sparkle shoes. It was 43 degrees outside. She would not be dissuaded.

She wore that dress to breakfast and during play time. She wore it to Costco, but only after I wrestled a sweater onto her. I could only get her to take it off after she spilled chili down the front of the dress at dinner. The girl needs dress-ups, doesn't she? My bad.

I think I forgot about dress-ups.

My MIL sent Lulu a Halloween costume. It's Tinkerbelle. Lulu didn't know what it was, but she wanted it on immediately. She has worn it every day since. Her usual M.O. is to get up before I check in on her, remove her PJs, change herself, and put on the dress (wings optional, bell shoes not,) and wait until I open then door. She will spend all day in that thing. We run errands and pick up the mail as Tinkerbelle.

Sometimes we even sleep in it.

"DANCE WITH ME, PROXIMO," she screams at her brother, grabbing his hands and forcing them to twirl her around until she falls down. "I'M PRETTY and FANCY," she informs you, "LOOK AT ME TWIRL, I SAID LOOK AT ME." It's all at one volume (11) and completely mandatory. In that vein, I present to you...

Lulu's Fashion Rules:

  • No jeans. Don't even bring them in front of her face, you jerk
  • Dresses need leggings underneath
  • No leggings? Your butt better find some before she cuts you
  • Those shoes better have sparkles on them or you might as well stuff them down your throat
  • Is it pink? It had better be pink or there will be hell to pay
  • Ankle socks are better as knee highs, without exception
  • She gets to pick her elastic colors, or you can choke on those elastics
  • Don't even think about leaving the house without sandals
  • Pink adidas will work, in a pinch
  • If it has tulle, it goes on immediately
  • If it's on backwards, it's supposed to be that way, and it looks a crapload better that way, duh

Her rules might be even more stringent than my no flip-flops rule.

I don't know if I can live under this fashion dictatorship...although I suspect I have it coming.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Government Shutdown? I Propose a Solution!

The government shut down today for the first time in almost 20 years. I can't help but think, "WWLBJ do?" Lyndon Baines Johnson, our 36th president, spent years in the U.S. House and then the Senate, which he controlled with an unprecedented iron hand. By all accounts, he gathered so much intelligence that he was able to control the Senate by charming, wheedling, and smashing heads. Things Got Done. We hadn't seen his like since (especially because we can't count Kevin Spacey's character on House of Cards.)

Which is why I'm proposing we reanimate Lyndon B. Johnson's corpse and set him on Washington.

It's clear that Speaker of the House Boehner is hardly better than a weeping corpse, so why not get an actual corpse in the position, but one who could get things done?

I'm pretty sure that zombie LBJ is ready to grab some balls and eat some brains. Our long national nightmare would actually become a national nightmare, but one where things got done.

Zombie LBJ would start by turning Boehner into his zombie slave pack mule, Michonne-style.

He'd make funny jokes like, "Don't make me @#$% you over with my actual bite, you @$#%!" (He might be undead, but doesn't mean that LBJ's legendary potty mouth isn't also ready to deliver the pain!)

Zombie LBJ invites representatives to a tee time they won't ever forget, until they do because now they're dead.

Zombie LBJ twists your arm off and eats it on C-Span.

Zombie LBJ rips a neck out and serves it up at the congressional cafeteria with a wink and a growl.

Zombie LBJ's folksy wisdom has a rotting fist behind it.

Zombie LBJ doesn't like pork, he likes brains.

Zombie LBJ is really, really bad at horse trading.

I think we're onto something.

I mean, it couldn't get much worse, right? I'm ready to risk it, aren't you?

Monday, September 09, 2013

Hopeful Treatment for Epilepsy

Have you met Emilie and her son Connor? Emilie is one of those tiger moms who will win your heart. Her son Connor is absolutely beautiful. He is also autistic and epileptic. Trust me when I say that when you meet Connor your heart will melt; he is an incredible spirit wrapped up in a gorgeous package.


See? Gorgeous.

I happened to run into Emilie in the Detroit airport, of all places, this summer. She and Connor were returning home after more than a week spent in a cutting edge hospital. Connor had undergone test after test. Imagine your small child having to fast for days, hooked up to monitors and machines, poked and prodded, and under constant medical care. Connor and Emilie are troupers. Every day Connor uses a lot of medications with severe side effects to try to keep him from seizing. I can't imagine my baby dealing with these challenges, but Connor is amazing.

Emilie needs our help in a different way. She doesn't need your dollars, she needs your attention. A new treatment for epilepsy is garnering hugely positive results. In double-blind clinical studies, it's working so well that epileptic children have been able to start progressing and developing again. There's just one thing: it's currently illegal in the state of Utah. The medicine is cannabdiol, or CBD. It's extracted from an extremely high CBD, low THC strain of cannabis nicknamed “Charlotte’s Web” (named after a girl who was treated with this medicine.) This makes it illegal in Utah. It is taken orally as an oil, and has virtually no THC which means it cannot make you high. It's a treatment, not a cure. Doctors are seeing a 50% decrease in seizures, which is huge.

Emilie and other epilepsy moms have proposed a bill for the Utah legislature that would allow children with severe, intractable epilepsy, like Connor's, to be prescribed and treated with this medication. The bill is narrow; it is not an initiative for medical marijuana; it includes ONLY the high CBD oil for use in epilepsy. The medication would be used under the supervision of the neurologists treating the children (the neurologists support this legislation.) There's been a lot of support from legislators on both sides of the aisle. The sponsor of the bill is a well-respected conservative Republican.

So here's what's next:

Public Information Meeting
Tues, Sept. 10th 6:00pm - 8:00pm
Utah Valley University Sorenson Student Center
Room 206a
800 West University Pkwy

If you're interested in knowing more about legislation, "Hope for Children with Epilepsy," interested in helping get the word out, or want to talk to other moms and families who are dealing with epilepsy and what this bill would mean to them, this is the meeting for you. Attending will mean that you'll be able to write your legislators in support when the time comes.

This is a big deal. Every day that passes these children are deteriorating because of constant seizures. Emilie is hoping to have the bill go through during the next session in January. You can make a real difference.