Pet Sounds

It's been a long week. Yesterday I took 40 photos of my cats having a turf war over a cardboard box, but none of them turned out as amusing as watching the actual thing unfold, which was still, like, only barely. But I have determined for certain that Rey is incapable of meowing like a normal, non-dented cat. She follows me around meep-morping like a very high-pitched robot who has a lot of questions about the nature of her existence. "Blorrrrp? Mrrrreee? Yeeeep?" I am in a box. Take me to your leader. She shrieks every time she gets picked up, even when she's come over and given you every indication that yes, she would like to be picked up. "Purrrrrr? Pllllluuuuurrrr?" she hums as she rubs against your legs, but the second her paws leave the ground she lets out a surprised and slightly-panicked sounding squawk. "BRRRRRMMEEEEEEEEEPP!!!!!" Nice upper thigh reflection, self. Sounds that startle all the other pets and send them scattering -- the vacuum, the coffee grinder, etc. -- elicit almost no reaction from her. (She definitely hears them, but simply turns her head curiously in their direction, like ah, yes, another transmission from my home planet.)... Read more →


Blue Hairz Don't Carez

A few months ago, Ezra asked if he could dye his hair a fun color. I said sure! Why not! I am 100% on Team Your Appearance Is Your Call So Go On And Express Your Quirky Little Heart Out. (Yeah, I know, our team really needs to work on that name.) Just tell me what color you want and I'll pick up some Manic Panic or whatever. Red, he said. I warned him red would fade to pink. I don't care, he said, but then he got teased by another boy for wearing a pink t-shirt on Pink T-Shirt Day, like way to miss the entire point, you gender stereotyping jackass. So after that he wasn't so sure. He has a guitar recital coming up, and another Picture Day was today, so he decided it was time. He chose a bright turquoise, which I purchased without reading any of the fine print and missed that it promised zero results on hair as dark as Ezra's without bleaching it first. Which, no, not doing that, so I didn't have very high expectations that the color show up at all. I tested a little faux-hawk section first, but Ezra was adamant... Read more →


School of Not-Quite-Rock

Last night was Ezra's second violin "concert," an elaborate affair that required fancy new dress clothing and shoes, a super-rushed meal at McDonald's in order to make the required 30-minutes-before-show-time arrival, then waiting around doing nothing for at least 45 minutes with his supportive but super-bored siblings. (The amount and sheer intensity of mobile-phone use going on in the background of this photo is impressive.) Finally, about one hundred or so third graders slowwwwwwwwly took to the stage and extended risers, each carrying a stringed instrument that none of them had never touched before last October, proceeded to play three five-minute "songs," and then slowwwwwwwwwwwly filed back out again. It was not quite the assault on my eardrums I'd been expecting, given how green these kids are (and judging from some truly, painfully screechy practice sessions at home). This was their first performance using the bows (last time they all just plucked at the strings and avoided that classic "dying cat stuck in a grand piano" sound), and while I don't know what "Farmer's Hoedown" is technically supposed to sound like, I am pretty sure I could identify their "Ode to Joy" even if it hadn't been printed in the... Read more →


Green Thumbs

We spent all winter mapping out grand plans for our yard and gardens. We've now spent most of spring waiting for the weather to cooperate and let us actually plant some damn things. If it would just stop SNOWING, at least, or plummeting down to near-freezing temperatures every night. That would be a nice start. On Saturday we had a rare burst of summer-like warmth and sun, and so we opened all the windows, dug out evertbody's shorts and t-shirts, then joined approximately 56,231,000 other Vitamin-D starved people buying ALL THE GREEN AND FLOWERY THINGS at the local Home Depot. The Adventures of Zah In the Enchanted Forest Minivan The kids all whined horrifically the entire time about the heat and the sun and the sweat and the my baaaaack hurts my leggggggs hurt I am too pale and video-game soft for such torrrrrrture. So once we got home and got everything unloaded and watered and debated ideal shrubbery placement all that, it was on the late side so we planned to wake up early on Sunday and get planting. Of course, by the time we got up it was grey and nasty and cold all over again. And then... Read more →


Chef Ezra's Shu Mai (aka Reasons To Have Children #159,045,730)

I am in the work weeds right now, the entirely predictable result of daring to take TWO WHOLE DAYS off and then spending the rest of the week ping-ponging around 17 different deadlines in a panic while completing exactly zero of them. So you know what that means, blobs? Time to post a recipe that maybe like three people asked for on social media last week and pretend like OH MY GOD SOOOOOO MANY PEOPLE ARE BEGGING FOR THIS RECIPE I MUST INDULGE THE WILL OF THE MANY, MANY PEOPLE. (But seriously, it's a good recipe. Teach it to your children well and let them make you dinner.) Chef Zah's Shu Mai (Steamed Pork, Shrimp & Mushroom Dumplings) (Adapted from dumplings we made at the Baltimore Chef Shop, with a few tweaks courtesy of Ezra) Ingredients: ¾ lbs. ground pork ¼ lb. shelled raw shrimp 1/2 cup fresh mushrooms (we use Shiitake, stems removed) 4 scallions 4 sprigs cilantro 1 small chunk of fresh ginger 1 ½ tsp. fish sauce 1 ½ tsp. salt 1 ½ tsp. cornstarch 1 large egg 2 tsp. toasted sesame oil Wonton wrappers Napa cabbage leaves (or parchment paper) Soy sauce (optional) Instructions: MISE EN... Read more →


Wednesdays are the New Mondays

It's hard to believe our spring break was cut drastically short this year after too many snow days, as every one of my children practically leapt out of bed this morning, thrilled at the prospect of school and getting fuck away from each other. It's been five days of a little too much togetherness, apparently. We didn't travel but instead filled the days with bowling, roller rinks, arcades and too many carbs. Oh! And Ezra got a new hairstyle and wanted me to share it with my "blob readers." Here's lookin' at you, blobs! He also finally, FINALLY lost that super-stubborn loose tooth, and had some demands for the Tooth Fairy. (He did not get 20 dollars, as we all know the Tooth Fairy is a punk-ass bitch around these parts.) Other exciting things that happened: We painted the master bedroom and bought a bedspread online that doesn't match anything like I thought it would, Poppy caught a squirrel and left its wheezing, flinching not-dead-yet carcass on the deck for me to find, and last night I had a dream about eating a fish that suddenly sprang to life mid-meal and flopped off the table and proceeded to bite my... Read more →


Better Now

I've been procrastinating on a Brain Update (among many, many other things, thanks for that lovely bit of self-sabotage, anxiety, you bitch), but hey, here goes nothing. The medication is definitely helping, although it also makes me: 1) Throw up 2) Gain weight (HOW CAN BOTH OF THOSE THINGS HAPPEN WHAT IS HAPPENING) 3) Ask you to repeat everything you say, a bit louder this time, so I can hear you better over the goddamn ringing in my goddamn ears. Antidepressants are weird. I don't particularly enjoy the side effects, obviously, but when I think back a few months, to the unmedicated alternative...well. I'll just buy some bigger pants and drink some ginger tea. Hey, it's like being pregnant! Only without the baby part, or the urge to clean things. Ugh, this house. Since I wasn't exactly live-blogging the worst of it, I'll just say, in the understatement of the decade, that things were not very good. Things were very, very bad. Everything else I've tried to type here instead sounds super dark and would probably scare my mother too much, so I'll just leave it at that. Please don't let things get that bad, dear people. It's hard to... Read more →


Kung Fu Ezra

Ezra and his magic glasses attended his first for-real, serious cooking class. It was everything he dreamed of and more. It was taught by a for-real, serious chef, who complimented his knife skills as "perfect." It took place in a for-real, serious chef's kitchen, stocked to the rafters with every spice and kitchen tool imaginable. He was allowed to explore and touch and taste whatever he wanted. He chose the Dim Sum class because it sounded the "most hardest." (Also because of Kung Fu Panda, I'm pretty sure.) We made a variety of dumplings and spring rolls, with different fillings and folding/rolling styles. He and I were tasked with making the shrimp dumpling filling for the class, and he admirably did almost all the chopping and measuring and even dug into peeling and de-veining the shrimp, which neither of us had ever done before. (He did ask me what the black stuff was and I told him that it was shrimp poop, which embarrassed him. "You didn't really need to say that," he told me, but then carried on bravely with his de-pooping duties.) (Turns out I don't have an actual shellfish allergy after all, but more of a "sensitivity."... Read more →


The Idles of March

Happy Spring! It's so refreshing after a long, depressing winter to wake up to a beautiful sunny day full of promise and renewal. OH FOR THE LOVE. Schools are canceled again and even the boys are completely over it at this point. The first thing I heard this morning was a loud, concerning-sounding crash in the hallway outside, followed by a couple whimpers and a small voice saying, "Maybe we should not have done that." And to think this was us on Monday night, outside making s'mores in bathing suits and light jackets, enjoying the big outdoor landscaping/hot tub project we completed JUST IN TIME to cover/lock everything back up before getting slammed with several inches of solid ice followed by buckets of (still ongoing) snow. This was us last night, right after it was announced that schools were closed. We'd just finished watching Dolphin Tale and I figured fuck it, let's stay up and watch Dolphin Tale 2: 2 Tale 2 Furious, because we can all sleep in tomorrow morning. Unless, of course, you two goobers decide to ride down the stairs in a baby doll stroller at 7 a.m. instead. (And yeah, Ike is suddenly ["suddenly"] incapable of... Read more →


PatiOHHHHHH

Well look at that! It's a patio. (Weird pipe thing is the conduit for powering the hot tub, which arrives on Tuesday, so look for updates typed by severely pruny fingers every day after that.) Those are some of the most uninspiring photos on earth, but they were all I could snap before they had to cover the entire thing with plastic sheeting to protect it from the coming snow storm. It's still wrapped up, waiting for the crew to come back tomorrow-ish for the final touches, including replanting all the grass that got mercilessly destroyed and churned into swampland during construction. And we did indeed get snow! And for the first time in the history of my children's existence on earth, waking up to some fresh snow on the ground did NOT automatically equal a day off from school, or even a delay. They were LIVID. Downright INDIGNANT. What do you MEAN. How do you DARE. We are being sent out in the frozen WILDERNESS to DIE or GET OUR SHOES WET. When I informed Noah that no, I would not be driving him two whole blocks to the bus stop because the sidewalks were perfectly clear, he collapsed... Read more →