Sunday, July 28, 2013

Conversations with W

Part I

WHM:  Mommy, what does stitty mean?
Me:  What?
WHM:  What does stitty mean?
Me: Stitty?
WHM:  Yes, stitty.
Me: I'm not sure, honey.
Mick: Use it in a sentence.
WHM:  I don't know what sentence it's in.

Part II

background -- we were talking about going to a BBQ restaurant that has an outside sign with a combination animal representing what it serves

WHM:  CAM!  Look out your window for fish chick piggin!
WHM, to himself:  Wait, that's not it...
WHM:  Fish pig chicken!


Saturday, July 27, 2013

I am Hermoine. Hear Me Read.

I've recently become even more addicted to BuzzFeed.  Last night I stumbled upon this gem: 23 Signs You Are Hermoine Granger.

(Dad, Hermoine is me, in the Harry Potter books.   You should read them; you'll enjoy them.)

I'll leave it to you to check out the list and watch the little videos.  I'm annotating here, for your enjoyment (??).  This is a sort-of "about me" post, if you will.

from a Google search, taken from 7/27/13

  1. You are physically incapable of controlling your hair.
Seriously.  I have tried more "product" than they sell in Ulta.  I love my hair, but I once had someone ask me, "why don't you care enough to let your hair not be frizzy?"  Um ... what?  Also: no fancy "wings" for me when they were popular in middle school.  Ask my mom about the tears.  My hair is curly and will be curly.  The end.

2.     You would rather be in a library than anywhere else.
Points of fact:  I worked in a library for three years.  I visited a library on my honeymoon.  

3.     This was you in every class, from elementary school to college.  [video of Hermoine raising her hand.]
Mmmm ... not quite.  I was painfully shy and VERY afraid of being "that person."  Unless someone was being ridiculous.  Then I had to jump in, but that was rare.  Maybe less so lately.

4.     You can be a little intense.
Um, yes.

5.     And so people often have this reaction to you at first.  [video of friends saying she's crazy]
For my entire life, people have told me that they didn't like me until they knew me.  My entire middle-school-through-high-school experience, it was because I was so shy and afraid of everyone -- and they thought I was a snob.  Someone told me this in 7th grade and it broke my heart.  Me?  A snob?  I was so desperate to fit in!  But yeah.  I own it.  I am intense and people don't always warm to that, or interpret it quite right.

6.     You consider it your duty to keep your friends in line and down-to-earth.
Do I?  I'm not sure. I'd like to think I am not mean.  On the other hand, if someone asks me a question, I will be honest -- and as tactful as possible.  Someone else may be better qualified to tell me if this is me.  Mick?  Where are you?

7.     And you always find yourself being the voice of reason in a group.
Mostly because I refuse to be arrested, catch a disease, or otherwise find myself in a compromising position saved on the internet for all posterity, thankyouverymuch.

8.     You never go anywhere without bringing something to read.
Dead-on.  The nook Mick got me a few years ago has made this much less cumbersome.  But it's true. Lately, it's been my bar exam materials, but I would rather carry something I don't get to read, than be somewhere with time and nothing. to. read.

9.     This is your bitchy resting face.
True story:  EVERY SINGLE DAY of sixth grade, my teachers would ask me what was wrong.  I have a very serious resting face and if I am not making a conscious effort to "pose," I look grumpy or angry.  My sisters have the same issue.  So, it's very funny to me that it's recently been given a name.  I can't say I invented the bitchy resting face, but I've been dealing with its repurcussions since 1985.  See #5.

10.    You can be a little bit judgmental.
Okay, this is complicated.  First of all, YES, and strike the "little bit" part.  But that will almost always relate to someone being stupid.  A few years ago a friend and I did one of those surveys where you have to describe your friend -- middle name, favorite color, blah blah ... and where it got to describing your friend's best quality, she said about me that I was always looked for other sides of every story to give people the benefit of the doubt.  So there.  (But if you're stupid, sorry -- can't help you.)

11.    But let's face it ... you're normally always right.
Is it bad that I don't like this one because it shouldn't say "normally" and "always" together?  

Realization: this post needs more pictures.  I don't have any right now.  Sorry!

12.    You would literally commit murder for a time turner.
Maybe not murder...

13.    You have no patience for PDA.
Nope.  Ick.  Even my own mother calls me a prude!

14.    Mostly because you have a hard time expressing your feelings.
Mmmm, depends.  

15.    You give very enthusiastic hugs.
I never used to hug anyone except my mom, until I moved South.  So I don't know.  I am an awkward hugger, for sure.  But now, I never hesitate to ask for one!

16.    And all of your (close) friends are used to this. [video of hugs]

17.    You often find yourself overwhelmed by the stupidity of others.
Every day.  But don't we all?

18.    You can't stop yourself from correcting people if they're doing something wrong.
I try to be polite.  Like cleverly finding a way to repeat the word you just misused, but pronouncing and using it properly.  Subtle corrections, y'all.  Bless your hearts.  Except for radiator.  It's a RAD-iator, not RAY-diator.  

19.    You're not being bossy, you're helping!
Oh, just let me do it already. I'll get it done faster and better.

20.    You don't take shit from anybody.
No. No, I don't, and I will stand up for others who are taking shit they don't deserve.  This sometimes gets me in trouble, but that's okay.

21.    And you aren't afraid to get physical about it (but only if you've exhausted all the logical options and it's truly necessary.)
Okay, maybe not me.  I've never been in a fight in my life.  

22.    You're an incredibly loyal friend and will do just about anything for the people you love.
The times I've been hurt worst in this world are when I have learned the hard way that this was a one-sided truth with those folks.

23.    You're not above a humble brag because, let's be honest, you're awesome.
To quote from a conversation with one of my friends from ages ago, "I mean, let's be honest: we're smarter than the average Joe."

Do you all hate me now?  I always liked Hermoine, but after reading the list and now annotating it, I'm feeling almost as if someone wrote it for me.  Hate if you will. I'll still like you.  And besides, for as much fun as this was to do, I could write a list at least twice as wrong about all the things I hate about me and at which I am presently epically failing.  


Thursday, July 25, 2013

I Use Algebra. You Use Algebra. We All Use Algebra.

This is shamelessly copied from a friend's Facebook status, where she linked to an article about the Common Core:

I am not against national standards. I am completely against mandating that every student must meet every standard. I would like to see MCL come in and states be allowed to work with universities,community colleges, labor unions, and trades experts, to develop standards for "customized diplomas". Students could then be free to take courses in high school that would support their career goals and interests. Not every kid needs algebra, chemistry, physics and other classes. I have not used algebra, other than teaching it, since I left high school. Let's teach kids what they need to know. Let's be thoughtful about implementation.

This is what I wrote in response:

I agree with you except for one major point: you DO use algebra, and I'd say without question that you use it every day. Every time you try to figure out a numeric answer, that's algebra. You use it to figure out sale prices, recipe quantities ... even if you're counting how many things you have compared to how many you need, you're using algebra. All algebra is, is solving for an unknown. Do you use the traditional topics covered in Algebra 2 every day? Quadratics, graphing, so forth? No. And that's what I think you likely meant when you said you don't use algebra. Even a kid making change from a drawer is using algebra, even if it's so automatic they don't realize it.

I believe very firmly two things: 1. Every student needs to have a working comfort with solving equations and basic linear graphing, along with a fundamental understanding of percentages and exponents; and 2. NOT every student needs to get through Algebra 2. Rather, we need a "mathematics in real life" class that comes after Geometry and which covers the math one needs to live and be "math-literate." (Things such as interest, slope, rates, percentages, basic statistics, etc.)

Please, please, PLEASE don't be one of the people who says they don't use Algebra. Because you do. And when people say that, it perpetuates a falsity about what we do and what students need to know. Instead, please say that you don't use "upper-level Algebra," and help people to understand the distinction. Maybe when enough people realize that Algebra 2 is not really necessary to be a math-literate adult, we'll be rid of the foolish requirement that "all kids take it." But for as long as we continue to make blanket statements like "I don't use algebra," we will continue to give educrats fodder to say we are wrong (because in a very real sense, we are), and that they "know better," and we'll be stuck with this awful "everyone can do everything" nonsense we have now.

I've been busy with the bar exam studying (or procrastinating) lately, so I have a few posts roughly framed but hardly pretty enough to post.  More after Tuesday.  In the meantime, this was something I had to get out.  Thanks for letting me.


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Help! We Need an Ark!

June was the 7th rainiest month in Maine since they've been keeping records.  That's 144 years.

Did you really think I'd give a factoid without something to back me up?      visited July 11, 2013

July promises to be just as bad:  since the start of the month, we've had precisely three days where the sun shined on us -- July 3, 4, and 5.

Now, as days for sunshine in the summer go, those are pretty good ones and we're quite lucky we had a downright glorious Fourth of July holiday.  But still: this whole cooped-up-in-the-rain thing is getting very old.  Everyone is going stir crazy.

It's compounded by the fact that every time I try to do something with the kids, I know it's half being a good Mommy, and half motivated by the fact that I would do just about anything to not sit and study for the bar exam.  The result, of course, is that I am doing a completely lousy job at both tasks.  (Take right now, for example:  I'm procrastinating on Blogger, and the kids are sitting in CAM's room watching Netflix on the iPad.  See what I mean?!)

Every night before I go to bed, this is the image I have of how my day will go tomorrow.  I will get up early (8ish).  I will study like a champ.  I will play with the kids.  Instead, I'm usually lucky to remember when it's lunch time, and lately, there's been neither good playing nor good studying.
I will be crying in pain and agony and fear and panic the last few days of July when I am woefully unprepared, wishing I'd toughed it out just a little harder, and a little longer, earlier in the month.  I know that, I really do ... and I will be mortified, if not surprised, when I get my results in September and they say, "well, Jennifer, looks like you get to try again."

But right now ... oh, my word, I am on the struggle bus!

This morning (well, "morning" to us, which really meant around 12:30 -- last night was a sleepless night in these parts and thankfully, we were all able to sleep in a bit) Mick and WHM went to Mick's doctor, and CAM and I went to the library.  Ostensibly, I was going to study and she was going to sit with me and do some of her summer work.  But that lasted only about 25 minutes and then she had a "headache."  After I let her pick some books and either read to herself or let me read to her, I broke down and let her play on the iPad with earbuds.

I was AMAZINGLY productive -- for about an hour before my two-hour parking limit expired and we had to move the car, which really ended up meaning leaving.

So, now I've been home almost an hour and have read precisely three pages in my commercial paper outline... which was on my schedule for Tuesday.  (If you're not reading this in real time, and really, why would you, today's Thursday.)

I'm heading back to the library tomorrow, kidless, and hoping to knock out some serious reading/note-taking.  My plan was "all" the reading and notes this week, "all" the essay practice next week, and all the "oh $%^$#^!! I didn't do nearly enough the past two weeks" panicking that last week before the exam.

We shall see.  I'm pretty confident the last week's schedule will be on track, anyway.

In the meantime, I really wish the darn sun would shine.  I'd feel so much better if the kids were at least playing in the yard.


Friday, July 5, 2013

Happy 4th of July!

We went to the Bath Heritage Days in Bath, Maine.  We said when we moved to Maine that we would do our very best to take advantage of all the wonderful small-town festivals and events that truly make Maine the quaint and wonderful place you think of.  We started last year with the Lobster Festival, but then once school started, things both got very busy in our lives and, as far as festivals go, calmed way down.  We decided to kick off our summer with this five-day event and it was a wonderful decision -- we had so much fun exploring Bath and we barely did a quarter of it!  Mick has me half-convinced I could live there.  :)

Bath is about an hour away from us, give or take.  We had a crazy Wednesday -- all the laundry in the universe, plus some -- so we got a later start than we wanted.  But we made it!  We went to a nice dinner at Beale Street Barbeque (part of our quest to find good bbq in Maine.  It was better than Buck's Naked in Freeport, but still expensive.  My pulled pork was good and Mick said his ribs were very good as well.  They hadn't taken off the silverskin, so the meat didn't fall off the bones but otherwise they would have.  Verdict: we would go back to Beale Street before we'd go to Buck's, but we're still looking for the perfect place.), and then spent the night at a hotel on the water. 

Thursday morning of July 4, we ran our very first road race!  We did a family fun run 1 mile race.   Mick and WHM were the very last two people to finish, but the important thing is they absolutely did finish!  (Important point of fact:  they were also the very last two people to cross the starting line.  I think that's worth mentioning -- they didn't gain on anyone, but they certainly didn't fall back!)  Even better, Mick said that WHM ran the entire mile!  Unbelievable!  CAM and I were a little bit ahead of the boys, which made it especially fun to cheer them at the finish line.

Before the run.

Family self-portrait before the starting gun. 
After the fun run, there was a five miler. We hung around the City Hall start/finish line to be able to see the racers off and then we went down to the river for a while.  We walked back up to see the first fifteen or so finishers. 

After!  We did it!

Our trooper boys!  Hooray!
The kids and me checking out the docks.  WHM was fascinated about how they bobble with the wake.

Then we went back to the hotel for showers, and headed down for the parade!

Here, CAM's checking out a map of Bath. 
While we waited for the parade to start, we actually ducked into Betty's Homestyle Cooking and grabbed brunch.  It was tiny!  I counted only 26 places to sit, including 6 barstools, but Ms. Betty made some delicious tea!  CAM and WHM each had big, delicious Belgian waffles, Mick had eggs, and I had a fabulous steak and cheese on a buttered, grilled lobster-roll-style bun.  Oh, my.  It was fantastic.

It was hot -- 93 degrees, I saw somewhere -- but with a mild breeze, so it wasn't bad at all.  It was not only the first nice day in ages, but it was glorious that it was such perfect weather to kick off the holiday weekend.

Somebody was tired and didn't want his picture taken.


I can make that face, too, Mommy!

Daddy and his girl.

A sleepy WHM waits for the parade to start.

WHM was exhausted, not just from the heat or the run, but from a few nights of not-quite-right-or-enough sleep.  He wanted a balloon.  When I finally was able to get him one, he lit up ... yes, like the 4th of July.  Sorry.  Couldn't resist!

Yeah ... I need me some Photoshop.  I'm not so much a fan of the background here!

Heading back to the hotel after the parade.
But we weren't done yet!  After the parade, we went to a family cookout.

Check out the dessert I made.  I was given the job of "dessert" for the cookout, and I went cruising on Pinterest for something different, and found this from the Jacks and Kate blog.  I knew I was taking my chances, testing out a new recipe for a family event, but this is totally a win.

This is a 1/4 sheet in a jelly roll pan.  I made two.

Carved.  I am single-handedly eating all the cutaway cake.  It is fantastic!

Decorated!  It's cake, homemade whipped cream, berries, and then the second layer of cake, whipped cream, berries.  This is before I finished Maine -- with blueberries, of course. 
The cake is delicious.  It's a sweet cake, and dense -- almost, but not quite -- like a pound cake.  Funny thing was that when it had a chance to sit in the layers overnight, it actually tasted more like a sponge cake on Thursday.  I loved it.  I did learn, however, that I should have placed the berries by hand at first.  I spooned them onto the whipped cream, and it made a mess.  As you can see from the first two photos, the United States really was the right shape to start with, but Alabama and Mississippi drooped into the Gulf of Mexico a bit because of my rookie mistake.

Now here it is, Friday.  I can't believe we fit all that in two days!


Wednesday, July 3, 2013


A little timeline for you, with a request for help at the end:

Friday, June 22:  We take the kids to the movies.  WHM sits on my lap, CAM leans back in her seat with her head snuggled up square in the middle of the seat's back cushion, and Mick sits two seats over from me in case WHM wants to sit between us.  (He's too little to hold the seat down with his own weight, so I am not impressed with the theater's lack of kid-friendliness.)

Sunday, June 30:  CAM comes to me and I notice a big rash behind her right ear and going down her neck.  I feel guilty because I have not changed her sheets recently and think it might be a dirty pillowcase or prickly heat or just general kid-grime.  She has showered in the past day, but maybe she didn't scrub very well?  I scrub her down in the tub, change her linens, and put some talcum powder on the rash.

Monday, July 1:  CAM's rash is still there but the bumps have gone down.  I debate calling the doctor, but just monitor it all day; right before bedtime, CAM scratches a bit and I tell her we will see what happens in the morning.

Tuesday, July 2:  CAM is fine all day.  I call my mom to ask about this strange rash that is now just red dots but no texture.  We run some errands and I have a work meeting in the afternoon.   When I get home, I notice fuzz or a baby fly in CAM's hair and pick it out.  We go to dinner, and I notice some more baby flies.  Was she playing in the woods again?!  We are at dinner, and CAM can't stop scratching her head.  I look at her and where I just picked away two baby gnats, I see three more.  We leave dinner immediately.  I get outside the doors and start pawing at CAM's head like a madwoman.

Mick drives straight to CVS for a lice kit, just in case.  I am googling and reading as fast as I can type.  The stuff on the internet doesn't look like what I am seeing, though, and nothing mentions the rash.

Where the hell have the kids been?  Why is only CAM itchy?  What is this rash?  Where has CAM been that the rest of us haven't?

We have nothing.  The kids have not been anywhere without us and we have not been anywhere unusual.  I think maybe a cat the kids recently played with is the guilty party, but why is only CAM affected, and why a week later?  And besides, cats don't get lice and these are not fleas.

We get home and I find even more bugs-that-look-like-fuzz. They are not "everywhere," but there are more than a few.  I sound calm-ish to the kids, but only as compared to Mick -- certainly not as compared to one who is actually calm.  I am low-level freaking out.  (Let's put this in perspective: no one is hurt and there is no blood.  This is alarming but not life-threatening.  I am acting, I think, in line with the situation -- which is to say, trying to kill these damn suckers, angry that we are in this position, tarting to contemplate how much work this will entail to clean up, and getting stressed about all of it.)

We start the lice treatment on CAM and WHM.  Mick starts laundry, stripping the beds, bagging the stuffed animals...

My mom calls and I can't get the phone.  She leaves a voicemail wondering if CAM's rash isn't from sunscreen.  Didn't we apply sunscreen last week?  She's had a reaction before, but why would it be in such an isolated place and not a week later.  I text my sister "we think CAM's got lice" message and ask her to call my mom to tell her while I deal with everything here.  Of course, I've never seen lice and there's a part of me wondering if I'm not mistaken, but I'm pretty sure I'm on track here.

In perfect accord with our lives, the kids have used every single blanket from their rooms to make a giant tent in CAM's room every day since Saturday.  Every pillow, every stuffed animal, and every blanket.  The laundry is going to be easily 15 loads.  Tension is high because the hair treatment is not fun and the kids are in the tub and freezing.  Mick is trying to figure out what we need to wash immediately and what we need to bag and what we need to put in the hamper and add to our now-immediate laundry rotation.

CAM and I sit in the bathroom for over an hour while I comb her hair and get out every nit or bug or piece of fuzz or freckle that is anywhere in a five-foot radius of her scalp.

I keep Googling and stumble upon something. The incubation period on headlice -- whose earliest symptoms are a rash behind the ear leading down the neck and some itchiness -- is ten days.

Where were we ten days ago?  The movies.  Who was the only one whose head touched the chair?  CAM.

Why am I suddenly scratching like a madwoman?!?!?!

I am completely creeped out. I text a hairdresser friend who told me about ten years ago that she deals with lice all the time and it's just part and parcel of having kids, or hair, or kids with hair.  Her own girls got lice one time, so I try to remember this is not a statement about us or our cleanliness.  She texts me back with some remedies and what to do.  Fortunately, we're already doing most of it.  Even better, it sounds like we caught it relatively early.  I combed through CAM's hair only yesterday* and saw nothing, so I'm hopeful -- if that's even possible right now.

Mick has to leave for work by 7 tomorrow morning.  It's now 10:30 and we're knee deep in cleaning and/or bagging everything that can be cleaned and/or bagged.

In ironic news, I got a haircut after work today and debated taking CAM along.  She didn't really need a cut, though, so I didn't bring her.  I'm wondering now if I was spared embarrassment, or if they might have been able to help us with the shampooing and cleaning.  Even if they were amazingly gracious, I would have been mortified, so I am thankful for that little angel that made me think, "oh, not today."

I should also take reasonable solace that my own hair has been thoroughly picked through and anything present would have been noticed ... but for the life of me, I can not be that rational right now. Everything about me is itchy.

My dad is so sweet, he is worried about how CAM feels.  Fortunately, it's summertime -- so, not only does she not know that she "should" feel bad about this whole thing, but there's no one around to force that stigma on her.  Right now, she's sleeping soundly on the couch as I sit here and type this, and all she was sad about all evening was whether the bugs were gone and how long it took to do the treatment.  Our sweet girl is upset that she can't sleep with her precious Bea, but when I tell her why (I've had to spray Bea), she is disappointed but very understanding.  She just wants Bea to get better, too.  (Bea is her baby doll.  She has a rubber head and rubber lower arms and legs, but a fabric body and she is filled with beans.  I have wanted to wash Bea ten million times, but there's no real way to do so, except with Magic Eraser on her plastic parts. I sprayed the bejezus out of her with the mattress lice-killer-spray and told CAM she can't have Bea back for a week.)  

It's now 11:30 and we realize that the car seats are both covered in fabric -- and have headrests.  Mick goes out in the rain to dismantle the car seats so we can wash their covers, but to take the cover off CAM's seat, he actually has to take the seat out.  Since we each have a set of car seats, this is not a fun in-the-rain project.  Even better, we need to wash and dry the cushions tonight so that Mick can at least put them back in my car so I can run errands tomorrow to get ready for the Fourth of July.  It sounds silly, but I can't not go out tomorrow.

WHM just walked out and told me he's "furrsty."  It's ten past one.

I'm thankful for the little things: it's summer.  I have no agenda tomorrow that can't be moved.  This will be okay.  I just want to fast-forward to the part where that's established, so I can stop feeling the heeby-jeeby creepy-crawlies and know that we're in the clear.

Have any of you ever dealt with lice?  I made it 38 years and 11 months and never so much as saw a louse, so this is not going over well with me.  Everything I read says "it's not you, it has nothing to do with being clean, it's normal, it's part of having kids ..."  but I am still not likely to sleep tonight.


* CAM has long, curly hair, so although we style it every day, we don't painstakingly run a comb through it every day.

Update July 3:  CAM slept on the couch and seemed to sleep very well.  I was up most of the night, first with laundry rotations and then with just not being able to sleep.  I called the doctor's office and they said we've done everything right and just need to be hyper-vigilant in the coming weeks to make sure we don't end up with a reinfestation.  Launder everything, vacuum everything, treat everyone in the house ... It felt good to hear that we are on track.  Also, we can sleep on our beds and use our pillows; we just need to launder our pillows and linens, which (of course) we've already done. 

I'm thankful this morning that this is "only" lice and not something worse.  I have a momentary pause in laundry to jump in the shower and then we're heading out on errands.  Both kids seem fine, and the only one in the house who is itchy is me -- it's heebee-jeebies, I know, but I can't help it. 

Everything unfolded so late last night that we didn't call my in-laws, but they are coming for the holiday weekend tomorrow (July 4th).  I called my mother-in-law this morning and she, like my parents, seemed more worried about how CAM was than about the house.  Phew!  

Fancy CAM

This was yesterday.  CAM and I were having fun.  I'll tell you all about today, tomorrow.  Today was not nearly as much fun.


CAM is wearing a "Fancy Nancy" dress made by Jody of My Kids Drawers.  I love Jody.

The glasses and clutch are a set that CAM received as a birthday present from her second cousin, Travis, and his wife, Kelly.

Monday, July 1, 2013


You can 100% tell that I have something important

(a) that I need to do, and
(b) that I completely don't want to do.

How can you tell?  Because I am cooking and cleaning like a madwoman.  There has to be something else I should be doing!

I wasn't sure if Maine would even let me sit for the bar exam, so between my crazy work schedule and not wanting to exert even the minimal energy required to read as much as one bar-exam-related sentence, I told myself I would start studying July 1 regardless of whether I'd heard.

Naturally, I got the news Friday that I could take the exam, and today is Monday, July 1.

[insert bad words here]

If you are not familiar with what this is, first of all -- God bless you.  Second of all, it's one of twelve two-inch-thick study guides.  This is the one I'm starting with, which breaks down all the major tested areas for Maine.  I have tabbed the book by content area and that helps me to find stuff, of course, but also (importantly) to visualize what I've done and where I need to be.  Which really should be Disney World, but we'll take "prepared" as a second-best answer.

[Dislaimer: If you're a member of the Character and Fitness Committee, let me offer this statement:  I want to take and pass the bar exam, and I want to be able to practice here in Maine.  I just have a stomach full of bricks as far as studying goes. After all, it's been four full years since I thought about any of this.  I had to remind myself today what the Statute of Frauds is. Here's to hoping that it's like riding a bike, and I get back in the groove quickly.]

Mick was out of the house this morning and so naturally, I half studied and half found other ways to occupy my time.

No, they did not involve alcohol.

(They do now, though.  It's after dinner; I think that's fair.)

I cooked!

For lunch, I whipped up a pasta carbonara that was amaaaaaaazing.

bacon, sweet new peas, freshly grated parmesan, roasted red and yellow grape tomatoes, and did I mention bacon?

The pictures look awful*, but trust me:  I will have dreams about the bacon-y, cheese-y, roasted-tomato-y sweet pea-y deliciousness that was today's lunch.  And yes, I really did just "whip it up" -- the whole thing took me only as long as it took to cook the vermicelli!

Then for dinner, WHM wanted be-getti again.  (For those of you playing along and thinking that's because the poor kid was starving because he didn't eat a darn thing all day, you win!  He didn't eat his begetti for lunch so of course he wanted it again for dinner.  Also, the poor kid was starving because when he doesn't eat his real meals I withhold all snacks.  The kid would be perfectly content to live on Teddy Grahams and "canola bars," and I don't abide that nonsense.  Fortunately, it was a dreary rainy chilly Maine day, so I was 100% up for a double-pasta day.)

So I got to cooking, and what started out as a regular red sauce ("gravy," if you're reading, Grandma), struck me as a little too lackluster.  Before I knew it, I was making a puttanesca.  What's for dinner, you ask?  Rigatoni puttanesca -- and I NAILED IT!

If you know me, you know that I love, love, LOOOOOVE puttanesca sauce.  Not that I have tried too many times, but I've never been successful in making it -- there was always something missing.  No saltiness from olives.  The wrong pepper.  Not enough spice.  No capers.  Tomatoes that tasted like the can they came from.  Also there was always a restaurant dangerously close that I could convince Mick was a good option for dinner that night. 

Not tonight, kids.

Tonight, I broke out the big guns and used San Marzano tomatoes, olives, red pepper flakes, and capers (along with the regular players) and let me tell you: I HIT GOLD!

I am so excited!!!

No, the kids didn't eat the sauce.

And no, I didn't think to take a picture of give a play-by-play.  This was a "let's see if I can finally get this right" kind of night.

I finally did!

So now, I celebrate with some w(h)ine as I sit back down with my bar exam study book. 


*they were cell phone snapshots taken solely to torture my sister and father.  I'm cool like that.