Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Food for Thought

I read this article today. I do believe there are bad books, but as I responded on Twitter, maybe there is just poor or careless editing. The majority of books are just not my taste, but I do believe there are just some books that are poorly written. As I said, perhaps it was self-published or there was a lazy editor though. At the heart of it, I do believe that whatever book encourages people to read is worthy and doing good - even if it isn't, by my standards, actually good. I mean, you reach someone with one book, maybe they'll try another and another. 

As one who reads romance novels, I'm used to people looking down at the type of book I enjoy, but really almost all great literature is a romance in some way. All genre fiction requires some suspension of disbelief. Life is full of crap, why not read something happy? Besides, romance isn't what it used to be. There are dozens of subgenres - probably enough to satisfy just about everyone. So, I'll try to view the world as having no bad books. I like that viewpoint even if I'm having trouble believing it.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Weekend Update - Lucky Girl

On Friday, Husband had a friend over to watch some sports. We let Little Miss stay up a little later to entertain him (she's a bit sweet on him). We got some pizza. Then, I went to bed obscenely early. After a Thursday concert, I realized this girl ain't a girl anymore.
On Saturday, we had a day of nothing. So, I spent it sleeping more than anything else. Little Miss and I also went to the grocery store after a lengthy nap. I may choose not to co-sleep, but I do like the co-napping. We have kept up with the new food a week though we were a bit lazy this week. We did chicken parmesan which isn't really new seeing as she's had chicken, sauce and cheese before, but it was a new dish. No shocker that she liked it. I wouldn't say she loved it, but at least it widens the palatte a little at a time.
On Sunday, Little Miss and I woke up early to go to a party. The sad thing is that the party was at 11AM and it took everything we had to get out the door in time. She was supremely tired, but she had fun. She asked to come home early and take a nap so that's how tired she was. So, she did. I woke her up mid-afternoon to walk to the local bakery. During holidays, they give kids a cookie and frosting and sprinkles. So, Little Miss decorated her shamrock cookie. Then, we went back home. I believe she played and watched some tv on my iPad while I napped. Husband made her favorite dinner for our Sunday family dinner and then that summed up our evening. Little Miss did have some trouble sleeping over the weekend, but by Sunday, she seemed back into the swing of things. She gets like this annually where she just cries and cuddles instead of sleeps. It's frustrating but temporary at least. Yesterday, after we got back from cookie decorating, she just sat back and said she went to a party, got a cookie and was having chicken and pasta and lemony sauce. She was a lucky girl. I'm glad she thinks so.

Friday, March 15, 2013

The Truth About P!nk

Last night, I went to see P!nk in her The Truth About Love Tour. I left work just a smidge early to meet a friend for a margarita and dinner. Then, we saw the very end of The Hives and P!nk. She was absolutely fantastic. You can click here to see an example of her setlist. From my memory, it was pretty close to what she played last night. She is very high energy and it was just a really fun concert. I was surprised that she cleaned up a lot of the songs. She either sang the radio versions or moved the microphone away to downplay the language. Because I don't have a microphone and only buy the explicit versions of songs, I sang the real versions. 

Little Miss asked if she sang Raise Your Glass and was excited to hear that she did. Below is video of Try performed last night. Some of the aerials were more impressive than this one, but it gives you an idea of what she does. Also, one of the last songs had her flying over the crowd so she could give a show to the back rows and the high rows (though not as high as we were). That was pretty impressive.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Toddler Talk

Who knows how conversations start with toddlers.  All I know is we were talking and ended up talking about how some tv is not real.  Little Miss usually has a good grasp on what is real and what is not.  This has come up in conversation during particularly graphic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle episodes or commercials for certain video games on television.  The other day, some such example came up and this is how it went after I mentioned a tv show is not real:

Little Miss:  I know.  I know it's not real.  Some shows are real and some are pretend.  Like this is not real, but Snow White is real.  I know this because she's real.  I met her, remember?

So, yeah, thanks for that, DisneyWorld.  I can either let her believe everything is real or just crush her. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Recipe Update

We don't make this (Cherry Tomato Spaghetti all'Amatriciana) recipe often, but I made it last night.  It's a good standby when we can't think of anything else to make. It's a fast recipe which is nice. I think it would taste really good with shrimp and, one of these days, I'm going to stop saying that and actually make it. 

Here is an update from the original time I made it: the herbs are essential. They add so much flavor. The parsley in the dish as well as the basil over the top. We don't put nearly that much cheese in, but we add to taste after the fact. Little Miss ate this dish this week. She didn't care for the cooked tomatoes, but she liked the rest - and even ate the parsley. She said she liked the taste except for the green things, but then I explained to her that the green things give it taste. I think, though, the pancetta, onion, garlic trio really add the taste though. Three of my favorite things.

Recipe recap:

1 pound regular or thick spaghetti
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1/4 pound chunk pancetta, cut into small pieces
1 red onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 cup white wine or chicken broth
2 pints small cherry tomatoes
2/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley (a couple generous handfuls)
1 cup basil leaves, torn or chopped
2/3 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese (a couple generous handfuls)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup of pasta cooking water.

While the pasta is working, in a large skillet, heat the EVOO, 3 turns of the pan, over medium to medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and cook until crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the red onion, garlic and crushed red pepper and cook until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the wine and cook for 1 minute, then add the tomatoes, parsley and a generous amount of salt and pepper. Cook until the tomatoes burst, 8 to 10 minutes.

Stir in the reserved pasta cooking water and then the pasta, tossing to coat. Turn off the heat, add the basil and cheese and serve. 

Weekend Update - I Feel Like I Lost More Than an Hour

I had a busy weekend.  Starting with last Thursday when I had bowling and bowled the game of my life.  My score wasn't very high though it was pretty solid for me.  I won the first game of two.  The second game had my team falling behind.  However, half the team picked up some points.  So, it came down to me, the last bowler.  The first frame, I hit one pin down.  The second frame, I got a spare.  This lead to the bonus frame in the tenth which resulted in a strike.  With that strike under pressure, I scored one pin more than my opponent which gave us a one-pin win (and a one-point win) against our opponent.  It was a glorious night.

On Friday, a friend from college was in from out of town.  So, two other college friends (and a couple of her friends from grade school and grad school) and I met in Crystal City for dinner at McCormack & Schmick's.  It was a great night catching up - food, friends and wine never fails.  When I got home, I went in to check on Little Miss and this is how I found her:
Saturday, Little Miss and I went out to my parents' house to meet up with Sister and Nephew (and my parents' new kitty).  Little Miss tried on my wedding gown and Sister's veil under duress, but it made for a somewhat cute picture.  She really wanted to be playing with her cousin, but she gave us a couple of photos before I set her free.
Saturday night, I met with book club at a nearby pizza place.  It was another really fun evening.  Brother-in-Law and Nephew hung out with Husband and Little Miss at home so I got to see him briefly.  I got some really good hugs while he's still little enough to give them freely. 

The other nephew was caught rough housing with Little Miss (though, really, it was just bad timing) so his punishment was posing for a picture with smiles.  He takes his punishment well as you can see.
On Sunday, I slept until the afternoon (though my body still thought it was morning with the time change).  I was lazy until mid-afternoon.  Then, Little Miss and I went grocery shopping.  We all had a nice family dinner before an entirely sleepless night for me.  This is a rougher Monday morning than usual.

Parent Fail

Nothing good happens after this question, "Want to hear a word I heard Daddy say?"

Yep, she went there.  Little Miss said she wanted to whisper it to me.  Darned if that little voice didn't whisper the mother of all four-letter words.  

At this point, I may have overreacted.  I mean, all I did was exclaim (loudly), "That's a very bad word.  Don't say that again."  And, of course, that lead to her crawling onto my lap and crying for quite awhile.  Meanwhile, Husband apologized for using the word in the past.  We got through the moment.  However, later, I asked her a question.  I told her, "You must have known the word was bad if you had to whisper it.  Did you?"  She admitted she did though from her reaction, I don't think she knew exactly how bad.  Either way, lesson learned.  We did have a refresher course this morning just in case though.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

What? My Kid's Not Perfect?

I don't want to be one of those parents who really just thinks her kid is perfect.  I mean, she's a strong "pretty awesome", but perfect is a reach.  A part of me always expects a phone call from the school to hear about her stubbornness or some such challenge.  However, when the teacher did email me with some trouble, the reason had me a little surprised.  

The first point was more of a manners violation.  This is not a total surprise.  We've been working with Little Miss to be better at using her "please", "thank you" and general manners.  She's always been very good, but she's also lazy so sometimes a reminder doesn't hurt.  Also, at home, she can tend to be a sore winner and sore loser and will answer "I know" when she receives compliments.  We've been trying to break her of both of those.  She's much better with the winning and losing (though she prefers to win, of course). 

The second point was more of a surprise.  She was downright mean to another kid.  The teacher, who absolutely loves Little Miss, immediately acted and emailed me.  We corresponded and agreed that punishment and discussion was not unreasonable.  

Later that night, we asked Little Miss how her day was, giving her a chance to come clean.  She did not though she also wouldn't meet eye contact.  She then admitted that she got in trouble, but she wouldn't say what she did.  She just sobbed for a very long time.  Husband and I decided not to punish her unless her attitude needed further adjusting.  Based on her reaction, we knew she knew she did something wrong.  That said, we still needed a good discussion.  She's very sensitive to her daddy.  She hates disappointing him, upsetting him or hurting his feelings.  She has no such qualms about me, of course (and thus begins the rest of our lives).  So, she wanted to just tell me as a secret, but there were going to be no secrets.  We told her she would get in trouble if she did not have a conversation with us and we outlined many privileges she would lose if she continued to not talk.  We finally got the story we already knew.  

Today, she did say how she could be a better friend and a better person.  We did request she apologize again.  I'm sure this will not be the last time our child is found less than exemplary.  Our bigger challenge is the fact that she really doesn't like to have any serious conversation about herself or anybody else.  She doesn't tattle or share secrets.  It's good - sometimes.  On the flip side, she did admit that she deserved to be in trouble and deserved the punishment.  She never complained.  She never lied or came up with a reason/excuse for her behavior.  She accepted any further punishment.  She's a stoic one.  Minor unrelated example of her stubbornness and refusal to talk: the kid had a mishap which resulted in a little goose egg and a cut on her face and knee.  She has no idea what happened and didn't want to talk about it, but she thinks she may have been tripped on the playground.  She said it was an accident though.  That one sentence of how she may have been tripped took an hour to extract.

The bottom line is that she is a good kid.  She just gets careless and, as with all kids, when she gets tired, she is cranky.  She also likes to get her way.  So, she slips up sometimes.  Until this is a trend, I think we're ok.  She has taken past lessons very seriously and they stay with her.  Even so, we're keeping an eye on things.

Weekend Update - In Like a Lion

March actually didn't come in like a lion.  We had a nice quiet first weekend in March.  On Friday, I procrastinated and didn't do any of the things on my list.  On Saturday, I renewed my library books so I didn't have to do that task.  Little Miss and I went to Target to grab some birthday presents.  It took us forever.  The girl isn't demanding, but she loves to walk around the store.  She likes to have a snack.  So, it's a whole afternoon.  She did demand a book and, because of the way she asked, she did not get it.  That pretty much took up on our entire Saturday.

On Sunday, Little Miss and I went to National Harbor.  I dropped her off at the Children's Museum for a birthday party and met a friend for margaritas and guacamole.  Then, I picked up Little Miss.  The kids and parents hung out at a restaurant for some food and cake.  After, we drove home for a quick dinner, but the party wore her out so Little Miss went to sleep and slept well.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Movies Watched in February 2013

  1. Side Effects
I've been catching up on my DVR so not a lot has been read or watched. In fact, I haven't read a book since New Year's Day which is unheard of in my world. I did go out and see Side Effects last month though. Good film. I saw the twist overall, but it's still entertaining.