Tuesday, December 25, 2007

polar express

Either the Christmas spirit is getting to me or I am hormonal. I just cried during "Polar Express." Danny looked at me like I was crazy, which really is not that far from the truth!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

rockin' with the gin blossoms

What a night! We started off going to the Firefly for dinner, where the chef had prepared a special meal for the contest winners. It was sumptuous and quite decadent and included 3 appetizers, a main course and dessert. (Warning: if anyone is not interested in food descriptions or if you are worried this will make you hungry, skip to the next paragraph.) The first appetizer was sundried tomato lobster ravioli with two shrimp. It was amazing. Then, we got crab legs, which were a bit difficult to crack open and still maintain dignity, but worth the effort--so tender they melted in our mouths. Then came the appetizer that was the most beautiful: it was a bed of greens with a layer of egg salad, a layer of Australian prosciutto, and a layer of kalamata olives all wrapped in a wall of melted parmesan that had hardened; the plate had designs of balsamic vinegar painted on it. Very hard to describe, but Bil said he wished he had taken a picture of it. The main course was pecan encrusted pork loin, creme fraiche mashed potatoes (can I just say heavenly? Wow, I think this has ruined me for plain potatoes forever), and a vegetable medley of swiss chard and a vegetable that resembles choi sam (a Chinese vegetable I used to eat in Hong Kong all the time) with pine nuts. By the time dessert arrived (banana cake with cream cheese frosting for me and homemade sorbet for Bil) we were already pretty full.

OK, enough food descriptions. Sorry, it was such a glorious meal, I had to tell someone about it. When we arrived at the theater, we found out that our tickets were platinum, which entitled us to free drinks, more food, free parking and entrance to a special room for VIPs. We also had front row seats right smack in front of the most enormous speakers I have ever seen. I am really glad Bil recommended we buy some ear plugs for the event. I know that seems a bit dorky for a rock concert, but I left way too many parties and concerts in my 20s with ringing ears and impaired hearing to want to endure that again.

Before the concert started we got to go to a Meet and Greet, which was basically the band standing in a room and a bunch of fans lined up to say hi and get a picture with them. Here is our picture with the Gin Blossoms. (Every so often I am surprised at how short I actually am. These guys must all be over 6 feet tall.) It was pretty awkward meeting them, but they were nice. The guitarist standing next to me, Scott Johnson, was nice and was about to put his arm around me for the picture until Bil walked up and he changed his mind. I guess he was worried about "Hey, Jealousy." Sorry, dumb joke.

The concert was really good. The lead singer, Robin Wilson, is really good with crowds. He often gave his tambourine to an audience member to play for a song and even sang into people's cell phones for them. I was impressed by how nice they were during the concert. At one point, Robin Wilson said, "Since this is a new concert venue and we are the first rock band to play here, they probably don't have rules yet, so why don't all you people in the front rows who paid $80 to be here, come up to this section in front of the stage." So, we all went and jammed right in front of the stage. We were so close we could see the drops of sweat on the bassist. For one song, he started playing so close to the edge of the stage, he was practically in Bil's face. In fact, here is a picture Bil got while Scott Johnson was jamming right in Bil's face, basically.

Anyway, it was a really fun way to celebrate my birthday, and since it only cost us a babysitter and a tip at the restaurant, it was quite a steal. One of my birthday presents was an iTunes gift card and I am thinking I just may buy some Gin Blossoms songs.

Friday, December 21, 2007

the gin blossoms

So, I got the most surprising phone call yesterday afternoon. One of the owners of the Firefly Grill (my favorite restaurant in town) called to tell me I had won tickets to see the Gin Blossoms in concert. Along with the tickets, I won a free 5-course dinner at the Firefly and backstage passes. I couldn't believe it because 1) I never win anything and 2) I hadn't even entered the drawing!! However, I soon discovered that Bil had filled out slips for him and I.

So, tonight, my husband and I are going to enjoy a delicious meal at the best restaurant (and one of the priciest, as well) in town and a cool concert. It's funny, because I wouldn't consider myself a huge Gin Blossoms fan, but last night when I looked up their music online, I realized I actually know quite a bit of their music. So, it should be really fun. And just in time for my birthday and wedding anniversary (both on the same day)!

Friday, December 14, 2007

bah humbug!

I have found the easiest antidote to Christmas cheer. Go to Wal-Mart on a very busy Friday morning with a crabby two year old! People were everywhere and everyone was getting in my way or blocking an aisle. I just wanted to scream, "Let me get the toilet bowl cleaner and I will be out of here. Can't you see I have a whiny child?" Wow, everything was getting on my nerves, especially the woman behind me in line, who was literally breathing down my back and would not give me any room in which to unload my cart. There were major personal space issues going on there. It was driving me crazy. She kept bumping into me and as soon as I moved to unload one side of the cart, she scooted up, so that I could not get back around my cart. It was way bizarre.

It took me the better part of the morning listening to Christmas music to cheer up. I tell you, I really think PMS should take a hiatus during the holidays. It only seems fair that we get a break at Christmas time......

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

good intentions

Why do I always think I can handle as much as a normal person? I just went for my second meals on wheels run today and it did not go well. A group of women at church recruited me to be on their MOW route, and I thought it would be a great way to do a bit of community service. As there are 5 of us, we each only have to do the route once every 5 weeks. It takes about an hour and a half and is pretty simple...for the average person. Unfortunately, I seem to have problems with "simple" tasks.

It started out well enough. The woman in charge forgot to give me a tray to carry the food, but I didn't think it would be a big deal. I was flying through the stops and was really rather pleased with myself. This time Charlotte wasn't crying at each and every stop as she did previously, and I rememered where most of the houses were. Things started getting dicey, though, when I got to the big apartment complex on the list where there are 4 people who get food. I had to take Charlotte in with me and that is when she decided to start crying inexplicably. I had to take this writhing, yelping child into the elevator and leave her crying in the hall as I dashed into apartment after apartment with an armload of food (that I kept dropping, of course, because I had no tray.)

This is also the point where I realized that I was supposed to be giving each stop a piece of cake along with their ice cream. The ice cream and cake were both in styrofoam containers in the cooler with the milk and they looked alike. In my rush to get things done, I never noticed that there were containers of cake AND ice cream. So, I now had 6 extra containers of cake and I was not about to retrace my steps and give out the forgotten cake with a screaming 2-year-old. It had already taken me the better part of an hour to get that part of the route done and I just knew my nerves couldn't handle going back. Call me lazy, but you try concentrating with my daughter screeching in your ear. It was not one of my finer moments. I was cursing in my head and frantically wondering what I would do with all this extra cake. I had a brief, frenzied thought of stuffing the evidence down my throat, but figured with my luck, I would choke on the cake.

So, I did what I saw as my only option. I gave the rest of my stops 2 pieces of cake along with their ice cream. Now I am wondering what I will do if somehow the director finds out that half of my route never received their cake...... Why do I feel often as if I am living through an "I Love Lucy" episode?

Friday, December 7, 2007

snow day

Charlotte and I have been confined to the house today. She threw up a couple of times yesterday, so I thought it wise to take it easy. It's a perfect day to stay in--it snowed a bit last night and although only about an inch accumulated, it feels nice and cozy indoors. Danny was thrilled this morning when he saw the snow. So thrilled, in fact, that he pulled up a rocking chair in front of our picture window and sat there watching the snow. He ate a mere half a granola bar for breakfast and was enticed to eat that much only when I reminded him that he could see the backyard from the kitchen. It seems that now that he has finally gotten his snow, he is unwilling to let it out of his sight.

Anyway, back to Char's and my day. Since I had some extra time, I thought I would make this caramel, peanut butter popcorn that I have been planning on giving as gifts this year (hey, I promised I wouldn't make cookies. I never said anything about popcorn.) The recipe is super easy to make, yet there were still some mishaps. The first happened when a friend stopped by to pick something up and I forgot about the corn syrup/sugar mixture cooking on the stove. It was boiling over by the time I remembered it. Then, as I was working, I got a few phone calls. Charlotte was eating popcorn at the counter, but when I looked up, I discovered she was also pouring corn syrup on the floor and counter. (She is obviously feeling better.) So, now, despite repeated washings, my kitchen floor is stickier than the local movie theater floor. I still think the popcorn will have been worth it.

The highlight of the day, though, was when I put on some Christmas music and Charlotte asked me to dance with her. She loves it when I pick her up and dance around the house with her in my arms. She giggles giddily when we spin in circles and when I dip her. By the time Harry Connick, Jr. had finished crooning 2 songs, I was beat.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

curb carb cravings!

I had the brilliant idea tonight of making biscuits for dinner and having Danny help me. He had helped me make pizza earlier in the week and so thoroughly enjoyed himself, I thought biscuits would be fun. And it was. Danny got the hugest kick out of rolling out the dough and using cookie cutters to make biscuits shaped like hearts and pumpkins (I need to expand my repertoire of cookie cutter shapes). At one point, Danny turned to me and said, "Mommy, leave." He wanted to work on his own and not one to thwart a child's independence (OK, I am one to thwart my kid's independence, but he so vehemently demanded that I leave him alone to his biscuit making, I had to aquiesce) I went to do some dishes. When I turned back, Danny had taken all the biscuits we had already cut out and smooshed them back into the big ball of dough. We were getting nowhere.

At that point, I stepped in and made some more biscuits whereupon Danny took his ball of dough, put it in my hair and said, "Mommy, let's make a hat!" Needless to say, we had fewer biscuits for dinner than I had planned on.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

radioactive material--yikes!

So, this morning I have ingested some radioactive material. The breakfast of champions! I went to the hospital bright and early for a thyroid scan, which involves taking a radioactive iodine pill. Later, I will return to the hospital and they will give me an x-ray to see what my thyroid has done with all the iodine. Apparently, my thyroid is overactive (glad to know some part of me is still an overacheiver) which may be why I am losing my hair.

Modern medicine is amazing, but it is a bit scary to walk into a room with radioactive material warnings all over it. Even more disconcerting is knowing you will be ingesting said radioactive material. I tried not to think too much about it as I swallowed the pill (which incidentally I was warned not to touch. Another scary sign), but now I keep wondering what it is doing inside of me. I wonder if my internal organs are glowing.......