On Her Flying Trapeze

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Date of the Penguins

For our secret date my husband took me to see March of the Penguins, a documentary about penguin mating rituals and basically how much their lives bite. It was awesome. (Side note: I majored in documentary film in college and love this kind of thing so it was actually a very thoughtful idea for a surprise date) Did you know that father penguins sit on the egg for several months while the mothers go off the swim in the ocean and eat? They also have food reserves to feed the infant while the mother is away and they are the ones who hatch the egg. The penguins are very tender with each other, caressing and loving their mate and staying together for a full year before dropping each other like a rock. They teach the little babies how to walk and talk and the whole thing is pretty much adorable. I would highly recommend it to anyone who has not recently lost a child or gone through a messy breakup after a long relationship. You'd miss the cuteness factor and pretty much just leave theatre depressed. I on the other hand want to adopt all penguins currently living on the South pole and let them live in my fridge. Come to think of it, I should probably adopt the filmmakers as well because...dang is it cold up there.

The date was a hit and Big-O survived. We are still on strike from the bottle but we plan to continue negotiations tomorrow if I can think of anything new and exciting to bring to the table. We may have to bring in a mediator or some special incentives. Any ideas?

Just a thought about romance with a computer engineer for a husband - to commemorate our date and just to carry on with the week-o-surprises, Dan secretly took apart my laptop and implanted extra memory into it. He said that it was his gift to me instead of flowers. I'll tell you what, the boy has brought me no shortage of flowers in the past and I hope that magnanimosity continues but it REALLY warms my heart to click on Outlook and have it open in fewer than 15 minutes. Danny - if you are reading this - you hit a hole in one this time. Thank you for teaching me about the wonderful world of "megs," "bits," "bites," and optical mice. You rock my world.

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Tuesday, August 30, 2005

A Line in the Milk

Picture 015The Big-O has put his fat foot in the downward position and there will be no more milk today…… at least not from a bottle. Since the sweet little fat man was born 3 months ago he has been given a bottle at least once a day, every day, to ensure the freedom of his moveable feast - namely myself. Our older daughter, whom I will refer to as Little-C because although more than two years his senior she is soon to be dwarfed by his massive manly girth, stopped taking a bottle at age 4 months, nary to touch it again. We thought it was our fault. If only we had bottle-fed her daily as per the instructions of our dear friend Dr. Weissbluth, we would have been able to go on a date lasting longer than 3 total hours during the first year of her life. So last night we won tickets to see a Buster Keaton double feature at the Paramount in Seattle with live organ accompaniment. Our lovely and fabulous neighbor Judi agreed to watch the kids and we assured her that Big O was "great" at taking a bottle. (Is it considered a lie if you really believe what you're saying is true? I guess it depends on if you're the one who said it and ran off to the movies or the one left at home with someone else's kids -7 months pregnant- walking the floor with the biggest 3 month old in recorded history)

When we got home, I apologized profusely to Judi and quickly gave Big-O one his favorite appendages to calm him down. Then I began to think. If he's hungry enough, "they" always say, he'll eat what is offered to him. So when he woke up 9 hours later, my husband tried to feed him as I ran out to a doctor's appointment. No luck. The latex bottle was repeatedly ejected. "Oooooh no," says I, "I will not lose a battle of wills to a 3-month old. Hours later, dancing on the line between no-nonsense parenting and child abuse, I finally gave in. Out came the appendages and he is napping soundly.

Now what do we tell our babysitter tonight? Whatever it is may be classified as a half-truth of some variety. My lovely husband has planned a surprise date to commemorate our not having gone on one for as long as we can remember. I really hope he hired someone instead of trading with one of our friends. I'll top off the Big-O before Dan and I dash off into a world of eternal romantical bliss for 4 hours. (Don't question the use of the word eternal; it makes the date more enjoyable if you pretend it isn't going to end) Then maybe the teenager he's hired will actually earn the 8 bucks an hour we have lately been obliged to shell out.

Monday, August 01, 2005

White Chicken Chili

White Chicken Chili
(More like a soup, probably one of my top 5 recipes of all-time. Slightly modified from the version found in the Low-Fat Living Cookbook by Leslie L. Cooper)
1 teaspoon + 1 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed
1 onion, chopped
1-2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
(wear plastic gloves when handling)
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsps chili powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
3 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
2 cans (15oz each) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
10 tomatillos, husked and chopped
1 cup corn kernels
1 very liberal Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
1 Tbsp lime juice
Ground black pepper
1 Tbsp arrowroot or cornstarch
1 Tbsp water

Sauté chicken with 1 tsp oil in large saucepan over medium heat, 5 mins or until lightly browned. Transfer to bowl and set aside. Add remaining oil to saucepan. Add onions, tomatillos, jalapeno peppers and garlic. Cook for 5 mins. Stir in chili powder, oregano, sugar, cumin. Season with salt. Add broth and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to med-low, cover and simmer 30 mins. Stir in beans, corn, cilantro, lime juice and chicken. Season with black pepper. Place arrowroot or cornstarch in a cup. Add water and stir to dissolve. Add a spoonful of the soup to the cup. Mix, then add to the saucepan. Stir until slightly thickened. Simmer for 15 mins. Serve sprinkled with Monterey Jack or hot pepper cheese (if using).