Thursday, October 25, 2007

Recipe emails : my life :: Iron Chef : my TIVO

So, Hailey ( tagged me! This is a first, so I think I'll participate, and even pass it on! I'm not very good at passing things along like those recipe emails (you know, send your favorite veal recipe to the first 20 people on the list and you will have an inbox full of veal ideas for yourself in 24 hours! Do it or you'll be run over by a dump truck within the week). I don't ignore them because I am against them in principle (aside from the threats on my life), but because I give them very low priority (even lower than cleaning my tile grout with a toothbrush). Iron Chef is low priority in my season pass list, but it sometimes gets recorded unless it interferes with Masterpiece Theatre or House Hunters International. I like Iron chef (especially that cute Asian guy who is the chairman's nephew), but not every show can get the top slot. What if Iron Chef was on Thursday night? It might show up on Now Playing only once or twice a year.

I do realize this entire analogy will be defunct if/when we figure out how to TIVO two shows at once.

Here goes:
1-Link to your tagger (like I did with Hailey), and also post these rules on your blog
2-Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird
3-Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs
4- Let them know they are TAGGED by leaving a comment on their blog

So, 7 facts...
1. I've already disclosed that I watch Masterpiece Theatre and Iron Chef America. I'm sure many of you will consider that random and weird.

2. My wing span is 6'2". It is supposed to be your height (I'm 5'9"), but I am apparently more like my chimp cousins than the average Homo sapiens.

3. I'm a Halloween Grinch. I wouldn't mind if we skipped all the candy and went straight to the Turkey. The kids have been needling me for weeks about their costumes and decorating the house. You know how some people have lights and headstones and goblins in their front yards? Or maybe they stay more traditional and put some pumpkins on the porch? Well, here is what the Beesons did last night:

The kids were appeased, but not at all fooled. They know I'm a Halloween underachiever.

As long as I am making Halloween confessions, I'll tell you I steal all the banana laffy taffy out of their pumpkins at night (now they they are too smart to believe me when I tell them, "it is a choking hazard and I'll need to confiscate it. This is for your own safety!").

4. At this very moment, my kitchen sink is full of dirty dishes.

5. I tell people I am left-handed, but I am actually mixed-handed, or have cross-dominance. I can easily learn new skills with either hand, although I would prefer the left. To fit in in this right-handed world, I have learned to cut with scissors, use a computer mouse, sew, and play the guitar right-handed. When I try to do these things left-handed now, it feels awkward. I can bat or throw a ball equally terribly with either hand.

6. I love sandwiches. I'm always looking for the next great sandwich. If you encounter a delicious sandwich, please tell me, and I will eat it.

7. I collect coats. In colder climates, it wouldn't be a collection, but just my winter wardrobe. But here in Phoenix, one sweater (with a long-sleeved t-shirt under it, if it is really chilly) will pretty much cover 99% of your winter weather needs. So why, then, do I keep buying them? My Mom has the same problem and is feeding the addiction. She bought me this little button-front, belted,wool beauty (right) at the Barney's outlet in Carlsbad last week (It still needs to go to the tailor to get the sleeves lengthened). At least it will get some air time when we go to New York in January!

Okay, here are the 7 people I tag:
Goodness sakes, Hailey! This is taking awhile! Now I have to go leave 7 comments? When am I supposed to do my dishes?

Monday, October 22, 2007

What my kids do when they aren't punching boxes, making forts, and playing in the toilet

When Ross was a baby, my Mom would sit and read to him for hours at a time. She created a monster. He would bring us stacks of books, and after they were all read, he would jump off his little, diapered 18-month-old bum, and yell "more books! More books!" I became convinced that although he was probably hyperactive, he didn't have any attention deficit. He could sit for hours, listening to books, perfectly still.

Ross wrote this essay, entitled "Reading" at school last week. I tried to scan it, so you could read it in the original 3rd grade script, but blogger doesn't like the file. I have not changed spelling or punctuation, so that it more closely resembles the primary source document. I had a lot of practice doing this while I worked at FARMS. After David Whitmer and Oliver Cowdery, Ross is easy-peasy.

"Reading is fun in all sorts of ways and it's my favorite thing to do in my spare time.

Reading is adventurous. That's one of the reasons I like it. Like the people in the story might do something bad and I would say: "I would never do that!" For example, I wouldn't battle Voldemort like in Harry Potter Number 4! I like reading because it is moderately hard usually. Right now, I'm reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, with 870 pages. I want to read the whole series!

I like reading for lots of reasons. 1 reason is that it is helpful in some ways. It can relax you. If you're mad, Super book! It can relax you. It's also helpful because it gives you something to do in your spare time.

I also like reading because it has <begin page 2> lot of feeling. Sometimes it can make you feel scared or frightened, happy or glad, or just plain sad.

Reading is probably my most favorite thing to do in my free time. Reading is fun! Reading is adventurous! READING HAS EVERYTHING <underlined three times>!!!! "

Before they wrote their essays, the class had to brainstorm topics. Here is Ross' list of his favorite things to do:

reading <circled>

play computer
work (sometimes)
invite friends
call friends
kicking balls
punching boxes
making forts
throwing balls
playing with Tommy."

Punching boxes? Um, I don't totally get boys. And as far as I know, he's never been bowling. I should take him.

Jane is also an avid reader. She loves Junie B. Jones and Magic Tree House. She recently started the Little House books.

Sam is into "Green Eggs and Ham." (Sam, I am!) He can read a little, but not enough to read the chapter books he takes to bed at night. I don't ask questions.

A few weeks ago, Tommy went missing. I expected to find him playing in a toilet Sam hadn't flushed again, but instead I found this: (Poor Tommy has to read books to himself. His Mom is busy blogging.)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Valley Girl Astronomy Lesson

This post was inspired by Hollywood Flakes, who spotted a B-list celeb in her Costco snack bar today. She got me thinking...

I'm a Valley Girl. (That's why I talk this way. Like, you know, like I'm an idiot.) I grew up in the San Fernando Valley, which is not far from Hollywood, geographically, but no celebrity with any pride has been seen there since Lucy and Desi bought their Chatsworth ranch in the 50s. Still, I've seen a few stars here and there, mostly when I was allowed out of the Valley. Which wasn't often. Even when I got my driver's license, I wasn't allowed on freeways (good call, Mom and Dad). Even then, I wasn't very observant. I think in every case listed below, the famous person had to be pointed out to me, usually with a lot of embarrassing "Look, Kelly! Over there!" I have missed many ogling opportunities, I'm sure.

July, 1984: My first celebrity sighting was at the 1984 Olympics. I was 9. I was at the Women's Gymnastics Team Finals. We were so close to the front, little drops of Mary Lou Retton's sweat landed on me as she vaulted her way to a perfect 10 and a gold medal. Jimmy Connors sat behind me. I got his autograph for the twittering, giggling ladies next to me that were too embarrassed to ask. I wasn't embarrassed, since I had no idea who Jimmy Connors was (and still don't).

1992:Gladys Knight almost bought our house in Granada Hills. I never actually met her, but I thought it was fairly exciting. I could picture her moving in a couple of Pips to help pay the bills, and hanging her fancy, sequined clothes in my closet.

July, 1994: I already told you about how we stalked Princess Diana in Kensington, but did you know that one day we saw Diana in the morning, and Charles later that night at a movie premier in Leicester Square?

August, 1994: See if you can figure this one out yourselves:
(Hi Shawna and Isaac!) That's me on the left. I remember Isaac had to pick one of his tall friends to be a groomsman so I wouldn't wouldn't ruin all the pictures looking like an Amazon.

1995: When Melanie was a reporter for KBYU, she was assigned to interview Peter Brienholt before one of his concerts. I went along, pretending to be her photographer. Peter was so nice, but alas, already married.

1995: In a bagel shop in Provo, a fairly handsome man started chatting me up. He looked familiar. I thought he was being a little forward, and I thought he was too old for me. He asked me if I had plans for the weekend. I mumbled something and left. He soon followed me out, waved at me, and got into his super-fancy Lexus and sped off. A walking by asked, "Was that Steve Young?"

Oh. Yes it was. Darnit.

1996: Jake and I with Matthew Sweet:

1997: Jake and I go to visit Melanie Smith, the most famous anchorwoman in Southern Idaho. She's so famous, people in the temple whisper, "Hey, that's our newslady!"

1998: Made small talk with the Gin Blossoms at a concert (during the time they were split up and called the Gas Giants).

October, 2007: Saw my cousin-in-law Hailey Smith. She sings like an angel and is in an improv troupe in Provo. She also raises 4 kids, so I think that makes her a triple threat. I spotted her at Disneyland last week in front of Buzz Lightyear's Astroblasters. I was so star-struck, I gave her all my space mountain fast passes.

Also spotted, at various times: Sinbad, shopping on Melrose. Blond from Law and Order, in Long Beach Airport. Jamie Lee Curtis at JFK. Finally, Pierce Brosnan, with his family in the lobby of the Grand Californian Hotel. Melanie swooned.

That's it. Now, it is your turn. Who have you spotted, stalked, befriended, or otherwise annoyed? Tell me your stories! Leave me a comment, or blog about it and leave me a link to your post in my comments.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Sam: Mom, how come you can't get married first, then take your wife on your mission?

Me: (I didn't want to get into couple missionary logistics. I knew he was referring to 19-year-old missionaries.) Well, it just works better that way. That is the way Heavenly Father planned it.

Sam: (Incredulous. Horrified.) What? What did you say?

Me: That's just the way Heavenly Father planned it. It is easier to go before you have a family to feed, and ...

Sam: (Interrupting). Oh. Heavenly Father. I thought you said Harry Potter. Can I have a granola bar?

I can understand Sam's consternation. It would be disturbing, after this is all over, to find out that Harry Potter was the architect of this world, and had a plan for all of us that included missionary service.

Oh, and CONGRATULATIONS Molly and Todd! I am so excited for you. I can never have enough brother-in-laws named Todd. In the car this morning, Jane asked if there would be flower girls, and Sam said he wanted to be a flower guy. Do you have a date? Or a ring? Please put pictures on your blog.

Tonight I'm going to Joe's Farm Grill and Elizabeth: The Golden Age with Jen and some of her friends. I couldn't find a sitter so Jake is taking off from Real Estate Broker school for me. Nice, nice boy. Can't wait for this movie! I am such a sucker for this sort of thing.

Jake might have some selfish motives. He could be coming home early because he is afraid if I miss it tonight, he might somehow get dragged to see it later on. When we were dating, I insisted he come to see Emma with me. Now, any movie with any accent (German, Australian, Kiwi), or any period costume (Roman, western, flapper) is called Emma. It was, apparently, too much, too soon. I should have eased him into it a little.

My feelings about this movie genre (Emma movies) can be summed up in something Jen said to Andrew after we saw Becoming Jane: "Liked it? Oh, come on. They had me at the first shot of the English countryside." Indeed, they did.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Disney and Devil's Food

We're back! We got home Saturday night from California. Just above are all the kids at a gas station on the drive home. Poor Sam got a cold and is sick and miserable.

I knew there were bound to be lines at Disneyland during Fall break. What I didn't anticipate were the lines packed full of Mormons. There was a blue sea of proud Cougars, resplendent in knee-length shorts, CTR rings, and Y hats covering many thinning pates. A perfect storm of Mesa, AZ and Utah County Mormons on Fall break.

Ross and Jane were fearless, riding every coaster in both parks. Sam didn't really have the stomach for the faster rides, but he did attempt Space Mountain, though he hated every second of it. The Haunted Mansion-turned-Nightmare Before Christmas, and Grizzly River were a big hit with everyone.

Instead of blogging since I've returned, I've been recuperating (reading my book in my bed, wearing yoga pants all day, generally neglecting my appearance). Jake beat me to the laundry again. The man is a genius with dirty clothes.

Yesterday was Jen's birthday! I made her a cake and took it over. Andrew and the kids got home from Disneyworld last night.

Here is the cake: This is my own recipe! (Well, sorta...)

Kelly's Devil's Food Cake with Brown Butter Frosting

1/2 c. shortening
2 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 c. sour milk or buttermilk (I put 1 tbsp. lemon juice in 1 c. milk and let it rest for 20 minutes if I don't have buttermilk)
2 c. sifted cake flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt (scant)
1 tsp. vanilla
2 squares unsweetened baking chocolate
2-3 drops red food coloring
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter (not margarine)
2 tsp. vanilla
2-3 tbsp. milk

Cake: Beat shortening, sugar, and eggs until light and fluffy. Add buttermilk, soda, salt, vanilla and flour: mix. Add 2 squares grated unsweetened baking chocolate, melted in 1/2 c. boiling water. Beat mixture. Add food coloring. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean. Cool and frost.

Frosting: Heat 1/2 cup butter over medium heat until light to medium brown. Watch carefully, it turns quickly! Cool (I stick it in the freezer). When it is solidified, in a medium bowl, beat together powdered sugar cool brown butter and vanilla. Beat in milk until smooth and spreadable. Add more sugar and regular butter if you need more frosting.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

We are currently in Riverside, and if Jake doesn't get lost, we'll be in Anaheim inside the hour. Jake hooked me up with wireless internet access, so now my blogging can't slow down this hip momma with her active lifestyle. I sound like an add for adult diapers. We just finished a delightful feast at our favorite little Indio burger joint: In-n-Out. That's Tommy, above, gleeful over his very own lemonade. Jake took the pics with his cell phone and emailed them to hotmail before the fries were even cold!

I have a new trick for getting the kids to stop harrassing me for food whilst driving. I bought a big bag of baby carrots, and anytime anyone, in his/her extreme boredom, whines to me that he/she is "hun-greeeeee, Momma," I just pass back the carrots. They get tired of carrots right quick. Then I am totally free to be harrassed about when we'll arrive. "We are in Tempe, Sam. It'll be awhile."

Well, we've arrived. Time to put this blog and 4 kids to bed.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

A lovely kiss, bisque, a trip, and bad pop

This is Ross, playing Pokemon Crater on the internet with his cousin Jack, while talking to him on the phone:

-Jack, somebody hacked into my system and taught my Infernape weird moves!

-No, I'm serious! Now he knows lovely kiss, flare, quick-attack, and splash. His level is higher, too. You sure it wasn't you?

I think I could eat lobster bisque every day and not tire of it. I started a scientific experiment to test this hypothesis, but I ran out of bisque on day 4. I was sooo not sick of it. I should totally be a scientist.

We are headed for Anaheim tomorrow. Disneyland Thursday and Friday, San Diego Saturday, then home. The kids are all worked up, and Sam had a meltdown tonight. He can't deal with excitement.

Warm diet caffeine free Dr. Pepper is bad. Really bad. Water is way better.

Monday, October 08, 2007

On My Soapbox...

We had a good conference weekend. Some of the talks that really made me think: Bednar, Eyring, Scott, Beck, Oaks. I am anxious to read them at when they put them up on Thursday.

This morning when I opened my google reader, there was a post on Mormon Mommy Wars entitled "What I wish Sister Beck had said." What? It really doesn't matter what the blogger wrote, because from her title I can tell this woman has got her head on sideways.

I hope I don't take for granted the fact that our leaders are inspired by God to tell us what we need to hear, and not what we want to hear. If I believe they are called to lead me (in Christ's Church) by God's authority, then I believe what they say is what HE would have them say. I should not take offense. If I find myself asking: what is wrong with the speaker, that he/she made me feel uncomfortable, I'm in serious trouble. I should be asking: What's my problem?

This is what I took from Sister Beck's talk. That I can do better. I can simplify my life and focus on what is important. Although it might be unfashionable in our society, I shouldn't underestimate the power and importance of a woman at home, homemaking- nurturing, cleaning, and cooking- without apology. By the end of her talk, I was squirming in my seat a little, which made me resolve to spend less time at the computer and with my nose in inane novels, and more time harping on my kids to help me clean this place. "Sam, do you think there are dirty Scooby-doo underwear in the hallway at the temple?" You know, that sort of thing. Maybe Wacky Wednesdays at Sonic ($1.50 kid's meals full of bad-for-you items. Grilled cheese, tater tots, a rainbow of slush flavors) will have to go. We'll see. I shouldn't retrench haphazardly, or too hastily.

I know I told you Donna Reed doesn't live here, but maybe she should. Or at least she could come visit, and teach me a thing or two.

(I don't have time for getting all worked up like this. I have too much laundry to put away. Jake did all the laundry this weekend. Thanks, Jake!)

Saturday, October 06, 2007

We're Really Roughing it

Church in your jammies is fun fun fun.

Metro Phoenix forecast for today:
Sat: high 84/ low 68

My kids are desert weenies. This is what they put on to go outside this morning, because it was sooooo 'cold.' For most people, this forecast didn't require outerwear.

Here is a sample of our outlook for next week:
Wed: high 99/ low 68

So, just in case you were thinking, 'wow, I'd sure like to be there this time of year,' well, you can just think again. We are still bathing daily in our own stinking sweat, living in this slow roastin', kitty litter suburbia that we call home. Come November, I'll be singin' another tune, I'm sure. It has been a long, long hot summer. I have grown peevish. (I will grudgingly admit the evenings are growing very pleasant. Pleasant enough the park equipment won't give the kids 2nd degree burns.)

Yes, that is Tommy's bum in the background of the photo, as he climbs into the inflatable pool. Hehe.

Tommy has entered the crayon-eating phase of his life. He can sniff them out like a pig searching for truffles, finding them under the couch, in un-babyproofed drawers, and in the other kids bedrooms, which are always a goldmine of contraband treasures. He can liberate a crayola from its paper wrapping with one hand, and have it in his mouth before his slow-moving caregiver (that's me) can even say, "fudge!" Which is what all the crayons make: very colorful fudge in the diapers.

On Wednesday Melanie called to tell me Albertson's was having one of its crazy sales. I meant to blog about it in a more timely manner, but since I didn't, this will be more neener-neener than informative. Sorry, ladies. Spent: 85.36, saved: 165.82. Here is some of the stuff:

While I was checking out, Jake called to ask me to get $100 cash for him to take to the Diamondbacks game. Which made me think: What's the point, if all my savings is going for $8 hotdogs and Dr. Pepper? What's the point of being selectively cheap? I'm not trying to work Jake over. I do the same thing. For instance, for hotels on our 'budget' vacation next week, we will stay in the 2 bedroom suite at the Marriott Residence Inn, instead of the one at the Four Seasons. Or we won't go. This is not frugal living, people. I'm fooling myself with the Albertson's receipt.

Between conference sessions, I am going to Cosmo's to get my hair cut, so I will look smokin' hot to go to Caffe Boa on Mill Avenue and Jersey Boys at Gammage tonight with Jen and Mom. Today is a good day. Maybe I was too hasty with my kitty litter suburbia . If my ancestors could live in this great Sonoran desert since Brigham Young sent them here in what, 1860(?), to live with the critters and no AC in houses made of mud (that's how I picture them), I won't complain. Back then, there was no salon and day spa, no awesome little Italian places, no Broadway musicals traveling to Tempe. We've got it good.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Shelfari...more fun than a poke in the eye!

Okay, so I can't sit at the computer much longer because my eyes are already not staring in the same direction (as each other). I've been trying to plan our Disneyland trip next week, but do it sort of cheaply so we don't spend so much we will come home and figure out we could have...I don't know, bought a new car with all the money we gave Mickey. Only, we don't need a new car, because we have five cars. What we really need to buy is a new garage. Where we can hide cars, so we can get the HOA off our arses. I'm just not ready to get rid of the 91 Integra, people. Fred will be seventeen years old this month. When I see him, I don't see the dents or smell the mildewy seats, I just see what a cool couple he and I made back when I was seventeen (as close to a boyfriend as I got in high school). When I was eighteen, he lured Jake into my driveway for me. I owe him something for that, right? Like a spot in the garage with all our crud stacked on him.The 92 Lexus coupe and the '01 Odyssey are for sale. Please come and get them. If Jake's not home, I'll give you a smokin' deal...

Anyway, back to the crazy eyes. All the screen time is, I think, causing some trouble. So I took it out on the eye doctor today. I went in for a check of my new contacts, and I let her have it. Obviously, it is all her fault. So now, instead of the more oxygen-permeable, better for my eyes contacts, I think I have the ones for old people and whiners. They do seem to feel a little better. My sister can't understand why I don't get laser eye surgery like she did. DUH. Because it is LASERS. IN. YOUR. EYE.

So there is some talk (like two sentences) that Mom, Jen and I will go back to NYC for Christmas shopping again this year! This is wonderful news for my rear end! My current, rather voluptuous backside won't fit into the wonderful pants I need to buy in the Big Apple. So it will have to get smaller. It is happy to do so, for the sake of all the spectacular pants...

Attention all literate friends: (That should be all of you, the whole blog thing screens out those pesky non-readers). On your right you'll see my Shelfari reading list shelf. I spent one whole evening loading books on my regular 'shelf', over 200 books, which you can see by clicking here. That's filled with books I already read and started to rate. Sign yourself up for Shelfari, put some books on there, and request me, Kellybee, for your friend. Then I can stop reading terrible books I stumble into blindly, and start reading the terrible books you tell me are classics. Plus, maybe I won't need to take up creepy Krish from India's friendship request. From the looks of his shelf, he's into Gandhi and the Karamel Sutra (which is my favorite Ben and Jerry's ice cream flavor). Peace and cold dairy treats. Maybe I shouldn't be so hasty. Maybe he is my type.

Okay, so if you do the Shelfari thing, I will give you prizes. If you ask for me as a friend, and you have at least 5 books on your shelf you would rate 5 stars, I will give you one of my Office magnets. Maybe even one of the funny ones.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Pokefriends, Shams, and Public Pee

On the way to school this morning, Jane and Ross discussed the elementary school's discipline system:

Ross: The green card is the best, then yellow, then red, then double red. After that you are in serious trouble. You get sent to the ISS room.

Jane: Wow. What do you have to do to get sent there? Someone peed in the bushes yesterday, would that do it?

Ross: I've seen kids pee in the bushes before and they didn't get sent to ISS. Maybe if you talk back a lot. That's what Dorian did.

(Inside my head: ISS? ISS? Oh, in-school suspension.)

Jane: Who's Dorian? Was he your friend? (Her eyes are wide and she's on the edge of her booster seat).

Ross: (He pauses, then admits reluctantly) Well, he has some Pokemon cards, so I guess, technically, yeah, he is my friend.

There are at least two bits of interesting information to be gleaned from Ross' last statement.

1. It sounds to me like Ross is trying to distance himself from the offender. Ross' own checkered past is littered with red cards, and he thinks he looks better the further away from Dorian he stays.

2. Ross is already thinking like a man. Isn't this descriptive of how many men choose friends? He likes Pokemon, he likes mountain biking, he is an accountant, he plays on my softball team, therefore he is my friend. Men like specific activities they don't mind sharing with like-minded individuals. "I am going to go (fill in the blank), and you are welcome to come." They make Poke-friends.

For women, it is less about the activity and more about the like-minded individuals. "Hey, girls, let's get together! What should we do?" Some women make up semi-sham activities, so the men to whom they are married better understand why their wives are leaving the house. Book club, Bunko, scrapbooking, and making pies for the homeless, while all fun activities, are really secondary to the real reason we get together: talking
("Your babies sleep/puke how much?
You wear what size bra?
Your husband/mother-in-law said what?
She is such a TRAMP! (The book's protagonist, not the girl who didn't come, and can't defend herself)
You lost/gained how much weight?
You look great/I absolutely can't tell! I'm sorry your pants are so tight you can't sit down"),

and eating, which heightens the pleasure of the talking, and gives you more to talk about
("How did you make these divine brownies? I have eaten six of them while standing here all night. As you'll remember, I can't sit down because my pants are too tight").

I'm not saying we don't actually enjoy reading/rolling dice/preserving our memories for future generations/feeding the hungry. I'm just saying that when we get together to do them, talking is the main goal. And scarfing treats.

Anyhow, I take issue with Pokemon card ownership as the sole criteria for friendship. If Charles Manson and Stalin and Pol Pot happened to own a Pokemon card, would Ross technically be their friend, too?

Finally, why are so many kids peeing in the bushes at school? Public urination deserves a yellow card, at least.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Pachelbel Bedtime

The kids and I found this yesterday. They keep watching it over and over. I don't think it was smart to introduce them to youtube.