Pacific Rim & Co.

Ugh. What a downer of a post to keep up all week. Let's get back to what this blog is REALLY about, which is hardcore punk rock. of course. The Reptilian Army from amalah on Vimeo. And here's a random selection of the pure joy that radiates 24/7 out of this ridiculous hammy child. This is his last week of swim camp, and then Noah starts a game design camp and then we're going to the beach. And Jason and I will be celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary next week! This summer got an undeniably rockiest of rocky starts, but I think we turned things around pretty well. Read more →


The Kids These Days

Noah finally finished It. And as promised, he was allowed to watch the movie version of his choice. He chose the new movie, and we enjoyed some nice ol' fashioned mother-son bonding time over classic horror-movie jump scares and a demonic child-eating clown. He LOVED It. Absolutely loved it. Every creepy, fucked-up second of it. Although it turns out he'd already found almost all of the more intense/murder-y scenes on YouTube without our knowledge, so that's some doubly excellent parenting right there. He's currently grounded from screens and the Internet for the rest of the week and trying to get around it by asking what other scary movies we can watch together instead, because he knows I'm a sucker. Do we go for Poltergeist? Stick with King and The Shining? The first Paranormal? Blair Witch? Exorcist? Gotta get him schooled on the classics of the genre for maximum nightmare fuel. Meanwhile, Ezra is attending a rock camp this week. He's the guitarist for a band called The Reptilian Army. This Friday is their first concert, and they'll be playing a Pennywise song (no idea which one! but he is very excited about it because Noah will think it's cool!) followed... Read more →


One Month On

We spent the 4th of July in Baltimore, then went up to Hershey, PA for the rest of week. The boys only had two requests for summer vacation: Fireworks and Hersheypark. We were happy to oblige. (And yes, of course Noah brought the Declaration of Independence to its birthday party. And Sonic the Hedgehog, because why not?) (My phone died barely an hour into our day at the park, so this is the only documentation of my physical presence.) It's now been a full month since it happened, the event, the attempt, the night it all nearly stopped but didn't. Sometimes it still feels very near and very close, while other times I look up at the sky and see fireworks, or the world whizzing past on a rollercoaster, and it fades far, far away. To a different time and place I have no interest in ever revisiting. Read more →


Dinnertime Follies

One the Greater Ironies of my Internet career (or perhaps my Biggest Bullshit) is that I am routinely asked for advice on picky eaters. And I give it to people! When in reality, my track record for non-picky-eater creation is more like one out of three. I mean, Noah will absolutely eat what you put in front of him (thanks to this book, and a lot of occupational therapy), but I guaran-goddamn-tee you that when he grows up and moves out he will exist exclusively on boxed mac-and-cheese and dry cereal. And he will love it. His harrowing post-mommyblog memoir will be titled This Post Is Brought To You By Kale Salad, or How #BlueApron Ruined My Childhood. And Ezra, honestly, was just born a good and adventurous eater. Anything that I might have "done" early on that "helped" and could have possibly gotten up on a high horse about (blah blah homemade baby food blah blah restaurants blah blah exposure) was proven to be a load of shit by Ike. Who got all the same food and exposure and hardcore division-of-responsibility stuff as his older brothers, and who has spent almost seven years' worth of dinners sliding out of... Read more →


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 →