Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Isn't She Lovely?

My favorite person to whom I did not give birth or marry is featured in Theater Communications Group's article "Repast, Present, Future."  Her name is Hannah "The Morah" Treuhaft, and you would all be lucky to know her and the awesome work she does for Sojourn Theater and Plate and Pitchfork in Portland.  Fear not if you find this post awfully short to honor someone so remarkable; The Morah is destined for numerous mentions in this illustrious forum.

Isn't she wonderful?

Also, her friend and stage manager, Liam, and her chicken whose name I forget are on the cover of American Theater magazine.

Isn't she precious?

Yeah, she's hot shit.  But I'm still better than she is, and that's a burden she'll always bear.

Aren't we pretty?  Truly the angels' best.

Na Na Na Na Na Na Na

Chone "CHONE!" Figgins has decided to create a charitable foundation.  It's name?

"Get Figgy With It."

This is officially either the worst or the best thing I have ever heard in my entire life.  "Get Figgy With It" has ignited a whole new feeling in me.  It's somewhat near to delight, and somewhat kin to disgust.  I can't describe it.  It's like the moment when hysterical laughter becomes hysterical crying, somewhat like pleasure but also a lot like pain.

If Foucault were still with us, he'd have a lot to write about Chone and this visceral reaction to his encouragement for us all to "Get Figgy With It."  Frankly, it's an intellectual pairing I'd love to see.

"He's no Doug Fister, but he'll do."

Monday, March 29, 2010

A Weekend of Sensory Delights: A Dialogic Photo/Video Essay

"Hey, Livy!  How do you like sitting on the grass for the first time?"

"Mama, I said INdoorsy!  I'm INdoorsy!"

"It's TOUCHING me!  Make it stop TOUCHING me!"

"The depth of my ennui knows no limit."

"Sorry about that.  How about we dry your tears and try some seltzer?"

"Hooray!  The day is redeemed!  Now what about waffle fries at Mama and Daddy's favorite kid-friendly pub?"

"Hell yeah, people.  Now we're talking."

"Oh, Livy.  What a generous offer!"

"I did well at the slots this week.  It's on me!"

"We love you, baby girl."

"I love you, Mama, even though you wrestled me still for this shot."

"I love you, Daddy, especially when you let me gouge your eyes out Roy Batty-style."

Thursday, March 25, 2010


The vocal skills - they are impressive, no?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Nap Time

Sometimes Olivia falls right to sleep when I put her down for a nap.  Sometimes she cries.  And sometimes the house shakes with the ferocity of her not-napping.  (Turn up the volume for the best effect).

Wall color by Behr.  Furniture by Ikea.  Window treatments by White Trash.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I Hate People When They're Not Polite

Dear woman at the pool who 1) took Livy's fish toy away from her and gave it to her son, 2) helped her son take away Hans's frog toy, and 3) was helping her son ride some other kid's bike while wearing that kid's helmet (safety first!) outside after swim lessons today:

I look forward to reading Ann Rule's book about your child's eploits in the not-so-distant future.

Well done!


Me Show

Monday, March 22, 2010

Saturday, March 20, 2010

More Reasons to Love Baseball

I made a big boner.

Merkle's Boner

I am known for my expensive muff.

Snodgrass's Muff, also known as the $30,000 muff

Thanks to Ken Burns, who provided me many unintended giggles during our viewing of Baseball.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Special Guest Star: Uncle Damon!

I've decided that on Fridays I'll try to feature a special guest star on the Me Show, not so much to show appreciation for the people I love but rather to show off my vast menagerie of followers and groupies.  In fact, our inaugural special guest star used to go by the name "Lackey" because that's what he was and always will be to me.  This is my longtime friend and maid of honor; SLB's law brother; and Livy's honorary uncle, Damon.

That's 6' 6" of lanky Greek lawyer, friends.  Shield your eyes, Livy!  Look away!

Damon and I have been friends since our junior year of college where we met as coworkers in the English Department Writing Center.  The first day we met we were making small talk when we realized that we were both headed up to Bellingham that night, he to visit a friend and me to visit SLB.  So, I bummed a ride and during 2+ hours of constant chatter on the drive we became fast friends.  It's a good thing, too, because apparently we were fated to know each other.  His friend was actually already friends with SLB, a fact that we discovered during the drive, and we were both in the same honors seminar the next semester in addition to working together.  Thank God we got along, because otherwise, with our shared penchant for spite and antagonism, we'd have destroyed each other and taken many good people with us.

Uncle Damon Fun Facts!

*He is the tallest person I know, and when we walk down the street together we have a hard time maintaining conversation because I can't hear him all the way up there and he can't hear me all the way down here.  This is roughly what we look like, except that I am FAR prettier than Billy Crystal and everyone else:

*Damon has seen me pee dozens of times (One time on the roof of a car!), whereas I have never - NOT ONCE! - peed in front of SLB and I never - NOT ONCE! - will.  It's a dubious honor, but an honor nonetheless.

*He introduced me to The Clash, my favoritest band EVER, for which I will be eternally grateful.

*I used to eat off of his parent-funded meal plan when I was a starving student (Thanks, Peter and Betty!).  My usual snack of choice from the Husky Union Building: Jell-O.

*He is one of the smartest people I know.

*I've been in two film projects he's spearheaded, and he works ego-stroking shout-outs to me in his fiction.

*When ordering in a restaurant, if there's a turkey burger on the menu he will ALWAYS order it.

*Damon once kicked me out of his apartment for farting.

*During college he used to show up in the middle of the night with our friend Anthony at my basement bedroom window completely trashed.  They'd wake me up screaming obsceneties and pounding on my window demanding that I - what? - get up and watch them be drunk?  The exact purpose of this exercise remains lost in an alcoholic vapor.  One night Damon vomited in our neighbors' flower boxes and then drunkenly rolled down our sloped front yard with a resounding smack of size infinity Birkenstocks on the sidewalk below.  It remains one of my favorite memories of our friendship.

*He does not like being asymmetrical.  He won't wear a watch, and if you tug on one of his sleeves he has to tug on the other to even out.  It makes him very angry when you do this.  It is unfailingly hilarious.

*He is marrying Katie, his awesome fiancee, the day before our 7th anniversary.  Katie is a super genius, is really funny, and is super hot.  We don't know what happened in her childhood to make her marry so far beneath her, but we're grateful for whatever it was.  She looks like this:

All this AND a JD.

*He loves Olivia Lee.

Testing the security of the child-proof cap.

Only the best uncles share their meds with you...

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Clearly It's Time to Invest in Pearls

I am turning into Donna Reed.

Exhibit A:  Yesterday I thought to myself how good Olivia's new diaper rash cream smells.  It really is a lovely scent - something like a gentle floral mixed with the astringent sweetness of green tea.  Then I recalled that her organic diaper cream smells even better but doesn't work as well and that the name brand cream works the best but smells the worst.  Yes, friends.  I am now a connoisseur of ass cream to such an extent that I can compare them and form educated opinions based on efficacy and aesthetics.  Ass cream, I have mastered your nuances!

Exhibit B:  A while back after Olivia sent all of my sweatshirts down to the laundry with various combinations of spit up, drool, and snot, I considered wearing an apron all day to protect my clothing.  But then I realized that I needed an apron with sleeves.  Yes!  That's it!  I would invent an apron with sleeves specifically for babycare and housework!  Then it dawned on me that I had reinvented the housecoat, AND I WANTED ONE.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Livy Go Bragh!

Don't nobody go pinching my baby.

Even during a nakey lunch she's got more than enough green on to satisfy Saint Patrick.

May the wind always be at your back, may the road rise up to meet you, may you be in heaven an hour before the devil  knows you're dead...

... and may you be as steeped in green beer as Livy is in greenbeans.

Housewifery: The Casserole Project

We received a copy of Best of Country Casseroles from a loving and beloved relative for Christmas.  It's the kind of book that reminds me a lot of the 1940's - 1970's cookbooks I inherited from my book-hoarding grandfather when he passed away.  He was a cook in the Navy during WWII and loved to putter in the kitchen his entire life.  His speciality was hearty, plentiful fare rich with starch and salt and easy on the budget.  He cooked with a lot of condensed soups and processed foods to save time and money while stretching more expensive ingredients such as proteins.  And, God help him, he had an inexplicable habit of adding yellow food coloring to his dishes if he thought them too wan.  I particularly remember a delicious and vividly saffron pot of chicken and dumplings and a rice casserole as bright and merry as the sun itself.  And so, being a culinary product of his times and professional experience, my grandfather favored cookbooks written for time-pressed home cooks, housewives mostly.  On lazy Sundays I still like to flip through their pages and wonder at the appeal of salmon loaf (one of my mom's favorite dishes from her youth), tuna noodle casserole (one of my childhood favorites), and of putting chopped hardboiled eggs and fried chow mein noodles on everything imaginable.

Clearly, the foodie in me cries, this is not good food.  And the amateur nutrition student in me adds that this food isn't food at all.  Aside from a good source of protein and carbohydrates, can one even call some of these dishes food?  Michael Pollan wouldn't, so can I?  And yet I do find it appealing.  SLB and I tried our damnedest to be snobs about Best of Country Casseroles and to make fun of it, but we both found ourselves salivating over the pages of glossily photographed dishes including every kind of canned creamed soup, piles of frozen vegetables, and heaps of preserved meats.  For as fancy as our palates may have become, this is our home food.  This is what we were raised on, and, in spite of our newfound culinary sophistication, we like it.  It's in our blood, and, sadly, it's in our arteries, too.

Thus, the idea to begin cooking from this book that had been previously, snobbishly destined for the Goodwill pile took wing.  Enter The Casserole Project.  At first I wanted to cook one dish a week until I had completed the book in homage to Julie Powell's adventures with Julia Child's masterwork, but we quickly realized that we would outgrow our pants and die young if we did so.  So, there is no time limit to meet and no required number of recipes to consume.  The rule is only that the recipes must be cooked as exactly as possible.  No subbing olive oil for Crisco, and no adding Sriracha to anything that doesn't explicitly call for it.  And, let me assure you, NOTHING explicitly calls for it.

Our first attempt was the adorably named Brat 'n' Tot Bake.

Wonderfully, some of the recipes feature little narratives describing their inception.  Brat 'n' Tot's inventor, Jodi Gobrecht of Bucyrus, Ohio, writes "As a volunteer at our annual Bratwurst Festival, I could not have someone in my family who disliked bratwurst, so I developed this cheesy casserole for our son.  It's the only way he will eat them."  Now, this seemed a little pushy and controlling of Jodi, but I haven't encountered picky eating in my child yet, so who am I to judge?  And we like brats, we like Tots, and we like the name of her dish, so we dove right in.

SLB went to the market to gather the ingredients, which the checkout clerk commented on favorably stating that she should make a casserole herself for dinner.  Promising, yes?  Not until you read this list and consider its fat and sodium content.

1 pound uncooked bratwurst, casings removed
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can (10 3/4 oz) condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
1 package (32 oz) frozen Tater Tots
2 cups (16 oz) sour cream
2 cups (8 oz) shredded cheddar cheese

"I will kill you."

The prospect of cooking with both an entire one pound tub of sour cream and two cups of cheddar cheese scared me, but we pressed on and followed the rest of the recipe.

Crumble bratwurst into a large skillet; add onion.  Cook over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain.  Stir in the soup.  Transfer to a greased (Why?  Why would it need more grease?) 13x9x2 inch baking dish, at which point it will look like this:

This reminds me of bad mornings after long nights at Earl's on the Ave.

Top with Tater Tots and sour cream.  Sprinkle with cheese, at which point it will look like this:

Sunny with 1950's optimism!

Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 35-40 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted.  Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.  Yield: 6 servings.

Beautiful, isn't it?

When a dish doesn't fundamentally change after 40 minutes of cooking, you should fear it.

No.  No, it isn't.  And, sadly, it tasted as ugly as it looks.  On a scale of 1-10, 1 being inedible, 5 being public school cafeteria food, and 10 being a casserole of the Gods, SLB rated this a 3.  He said that the ingredients are good by themselves, and I agree.  A brat with a side of Tots would have been welcome, but, as SLB said, "the problem was that the purpose of the dish was associating a bunch of ingredients in a horrendous manner. It's such a shame to see tasty bratwurst go to waste."  Ever the economist and martyr, he had two helpings to make the most of what was destined shortly to be garbage.

Wads of unincorporated sour cream shellacked with greasy yellow cheese.

I gave this dish a 2.  You could eat it if you had to, but I didn't have to and so I didn't finish more than 5 or 6 bites of this unctuous, greasy mess.  There's a logical reason for that mouth-slickening sensation.  I crunched some numbers, and Brat 'n' Tot contains 782 calories and 56 grams of fat per serving. 

It really and truly did taste like what I imagine dog food tastes like.  So, the best part of the night was having this in my head.  (Thanks, Shannon, for teaching this to me on a van ride to Roslyn when I was about 7.  You da bomb!).

I really and truly cannot believe that this appealed to anyone's palate or that this would encourage any child that bratwurst was a good thing.  But, perhaps stupidly and certainly optimistically, I MUST believe that among these recipes is a gem or two.  Can human palates vary so widely that these dishes, which had to have been tested by editors as well as home cooks, can all be awful?  I mean, someone likes them, and not in an ironic beard-and-trucker-cap-and-PBR way, so why not us? 

Feasts of our fathers.

The Casserole Project will live on in our kitchen, on this blog, and in our arterial plaque.  If any of my loyal readers are interested in being taste testers, let me know.  I'd love to host you and include you in this worthy endeavor.

Friday, March 12, 2010


We are drinking 3-Buck-Chuck and watching Ken Burns's Baseball while Olivia sleeps peacefully wedged into a crack in her crib.  One of us may have overinduldged.  I won't say who.

O.K., it's me.

I'm wondering if it's stupid and white and pretentious to name any future Me Show child Satchel.  I'm also marveling at what a darling little Keebler elf Bob Costas is.  I could just eat him up, but then who would put the marshmallows in my Lucky Charms?  Who?  WHO? 

Oh.  Right.  Good Point.

And I know I'm destined to take a ration from angry grandmothers and Californians for my lack of posting this week.  So, penitently, I offer this up to the altar of loving family and friends.  It's an oldie (from September!  Gasp!), but really a goodie.

Do you remember these guys?

Then you'll recognize the muse for this:

Poor, exploited baby.  One day, when she's older and if we're rich, she'll go all Menendez on our asses, and we'll richly deserve our untimely end.  Until then, game on! 

Yip yip yip yip yip yip Family!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Ready for her Close-up

Today we received a pleasant visit from David Frank, a local photographer who is taking photos for an upcoming book of children's photos and techniques for taking good pictures of kids.  He was here for about an hour and a half and took hundreds of pictures of Olivia in various locations around the house.  Most of the shots were candids, though some were posed.  The deal is this:  He gets to add pictures of Livy to his portfolio and to his book, and we get a free 8x10 of our favorite picture and an opportunity to order any prints we like.  Win-win!

Local parents, if you'd like to jump on this bandwagon I highly recommend it.  David is gentle and kind with kids, and Olivia took to him instantly.  It was a great experience for Livy and me, and I think David had a good time, too.

The website for his Real Kids project is http://davidfrankphotography.zenfolio.com/ .  Scheduling the appointment was a cinch, and I'm glad we did it.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Apologies to my loyal readers for my lengthy absence from regular posting.  I've been attending to my actual 3-D life, which sometimes interferes with the maintenance of my interweb life.  The nerve of actual people, places, and things to interrupt my screenly world of avatars and carefully edited self-representation!  For shame!

Anyhow, look at my baby:

"Waiter, I will have a martini."

My big, big girl sits up in a restaurant high chair for the first time!  She proudly took her place at the head of the table and happily banged the surface for attention any time my dining companions and I took our eyes off of her for a second.  She also enjoyed her first bites of minestrone soup broth, to which she gave two enthusiastic thumbs up.

She's fully recovered from her month of illness, and the only lingering effects are some weight loss, a nasty fake cough that she executes with a wry self-consciousness of her own great wit, and a strong desire to be permanently attached to SLB's or my body at all times.  She reminds me of those sad baby monkeys clinging desperately to their cloth mamas in Harry Harlow's awful experiments.  She's generally in good spirits, but only when accompanied by a parent.

In other highlights:

*I went to Portland for a quick overnight to visit two of my favorite ladies and get a break from my favoritest lady of all.  Livy had a great time with SLB for the weekend.  They ran a bunch of errands and, as a special daddy-daughter treat, went to the zoo together.  Everyone survived with all digits and most mental health in tact.  It was a great success!  If you're going to Portland soon, you really MUST go to Beaker and Flask.  The food is absolutely flawless.  The restaurant and the cuisine is hearty and homey with just enough perfectly-executed high class touches to justify wearing a slutty festive dress and hooker sophisticated heels.  I enjoyed a simple salad of butter lettuce in a buttermilk and tarragon dressing; the grilled beef shoulder with root vegetable gratin, celeriac puree, foie gras, and balsamic; and my partner-in-crime and I split the panna cotta with beignets and huckleberry sauce.  For drinkies Doug, our excellent bearded bartender, served up two vintage champagne glasses of "Stuck in Lodi," a cocktail made of rye whiskey, gerwutztraminer syrup, Cynar, and Peychaud's bitters.  A fine time was had by all, except for everyone in earshot who had to hear me slur my decreasingly lucid bon mots after two stiff drinks.  Portland, I trust you to forgive me!

*To continue the weekend's luxury, Livy and I went shopping in Fremont yesterday.  Our haul included fancy chocolates, a book of poetry, and art supplies.  Some of these things are gifts destined for delivery later this week.  If you receiveone, it's because Livy and I love you and thought of you during our travels!  If you don't get one, perhaps you should consider being nicer to us.  It's just a thought.  No pressure.

*Livy was well enough to go to baby swimming yesterday, where she stunned the class with her absolute relaxation in the water.  She was able to float on her back with ease supported by only one of my hands while most of the other children didn't tolerate this new skill at all.  Yeah, I got a magical baby.

Happy to be going to the pool!  Yes, there is a tiny swimsuit under those athletic sweats.

*Livy developed two new skills this weekend.  1) She now screams herself to sleep with the ferocity and volume of an enraged smoke monster, and 2) she mooshes her entire self into the juncture of between the crib wall and her mattress when she finally sleeps.  Yes, friends, she is a crack baby.

New Jack Baby

Her bedtime fits and wall-burrowing have left their mark on Livy's face in the form of tiny bruises and abrasions.  So, she won't be winning any beauty contests any time soon.  That's O.K., though.  Mama knows a lot of great places to buy tiaras, and whoever heard of earning a crown anyway?  It just defeats the purpose of being royalty.

Hoods are more comfortable anyway, Mama.  No worries.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

No, Thank You

And, no, I have no idea what I say 2/3 of the way through the video.  Delight renders me inarticulate.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010


Olivia is still sick.  The RSV has stuck, although the UTI never materialized, thank goodness.  Along with her cold she now has a bad case of the baby runs and is fussy like, well,  like a baby who can't breathe and whose hiney is chapped.  Boo, hiss!  This could be due to her cold, or (drumroll, please!) because her teething finally bore fruit and she has a teeny little toothlet in the center of her bottom gum.  Hooray!  We're a mixed bag of emotions and effluvia here at Me Show H.Q.  That can hardly be said to be news, but the experience has certainly been heightened.

To cope with our troubles today Olivia and I declared ourselves shameless slatterns and took a day to be lazy.

We chilled on the floor, one of us looking awfully sick.

Snot haze.  Mucous trance.

And I introduced Olivia to a family favorite, Oklahoma!, because nothing says "family time" like Curly trying to convince Jud Fry to commit suicide in his smokehouse.

"Mom, this shit's twisted."

Horrifyingly, Olivia loved my absolute least favorite part of the movie, the Dream Laurey/Dream Curly sequence.  While I usually make the film's dance break into my own bathroom break, Olivia sat rapt during the shocking whorehouse scene.  As the vibrantly costumed saloon girls tormented the virtuous Laurey by lifting their skirts to expose their technicolor petticoats, Olivia slapped her thighs, laughed, and squealed at the screen.  Clearly, the hussy blood runs strong in this family.

Here's a little video of Livy in partial action.  As usual, the presence of the camera rendered her a lifeless shadow of her usual vigorous self.

Then, spurred on by Curly's speech to Jud about leaving the hole he lives in and doing something healthy for a change, we went for a walk.  On the street in front of our house we saw this:

If you know how this got in front of my house, please never tell me.

I can't decide what's funniest about this: that it's a rubber glove on the street, that its middle finger is raised, or that I'm the kind of homeowner who took a picture of it to post on my blog rather than throwing it away.  I call it a three-way tie.

We also saw a dilapidated house decorated with fake red geraniums.  The scene just screamed "Mayella Ewell."


Upon arriving home, I found that Livy's fever had spiked again and she was too hot.  After spilling half a bottle of formula on my jeans, we both resigned ourselves to pantslessness.  So we hung out on the bed for a while reading Newsweek and snuggling in our skivvies.

Aaaaahhhh - sweet relief!

We proudly compared fat rolls.

It's a draw!

And we grinned at each other in blind, stupid love.

"You're awesome!"  "No, YOU'RE awesome!"  No, WE'RE awesome!"

Lesser women would be ashamed of a day like today, and that is precisely why we do not associate with them.  Either you roll pantsless, or you don't roll with us.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Sick Day

Livy's got RSV, which is scary doctor talk for "a really bad cold".  Sadly, she's also got the something else that makes her have a fever and vomit, too.  The doctor thinks maybe it's a UTI, which would require baby catheterization to diagnose.  So, if she remains fever- and vomit-free for the rest of the day, we call it an anomaly and leave her ladybits alone.  If she heats or throws up, though, we've got to go back to the doctor and shed a few tears.

So, Olivia is sick.  This is true.  But Olivia is also just fine.  This is true, too.  I've just spent the last half hour reading a blog by a mama whose daughter is profoundly and permanently disabled.  Her little lady may never be able to live independently and is delayed in just about every developmental way possible.  My heart breaks reading about their story, especially for the mother whose helplessness in the face of her daughter's challenges reads so strongly in some posts.  I can't imagine what it must be like to watch your child struggle day after day without being able to help.  And I'm really, really lucky that I don't have to.  And I'm really grateful that Olivia is healthy and happy despite her snotty nose and sour tummy.  And I'm grateful that I know that it's mere luck that separates the mamas whose babies are sick for a week and the mamas whose babies are sick forever.

When you decide to have a child, it is essentially like putting your quarter in a slot machine and pulling the handle.  Yes, the odds are weighted more heavily toward general health and happiness, but there's never a guarantee.  We lucked out in winning the baby jackpot.

And so, yeah, it sucks cleaning up puked on clothes.  But today I'll do it with a grin on my face, because that's such a small chore in the face of all that's possible.  And I'll worry over thermometers and uneaten bottles and sticky tissues, but thank heavens that's all I'll worry over.