Friday, July 31, 2009

Monday, July 27, 2009

This? This is why I will never rule the world. Or even the county.

On Wednesday, I discovered a ginormous zucchini in the garden. Judging from some I harvested last year, I figured I'd easily be able to make two loaves of zucchini bread with it. I decided I'd make one to take to my mom for her birthday, and one for me to eat for this week's breakfasts. To streamline the process, I wanted to procure a second loaf pan so that I could bake both loaves at once, so I went to Bed Bath & Beyond on Friday evening in search of a second Pyrex pan. I needed a loaf pan, smaller than a store-bought loaf of bread. A mini loaf pan, right? (If you can see where this is headed, you're more clever than I.)

BB&B no longer carries the Pyrex loaf pan I bought last year, so I compromised and bought a little aluminum Wilton mini loaf pan. All good, yes? Yes. Fast forward to tonight. I worked until 5, suffered the injustice that is the grocery store at 5:15, and dove into washing the dishes as soon as I got home. Fortunately, MB had washed half of the dishes yesterday. Unfortunately, I was left with the more time-consuming half, the tupperware and pans and odds and ends. From about 5:45 until about 7:45, I washed dishes and ate dinner and washed more dishes. Finally, finally, it was time to bake zucchini bread.

I wasn't really in the mood. My back has been killing me all day, and I was hoping to do a prenatal yoga DVD before bed, wah wah woe is me. But my sister and I are taking Mom out to see the Harry Potter movie for a belated birthday on Wednesday, and I really wanted to bring her the bread as a surprise. I have yoga class tomorrow night and won't be home until 8:00, so tonight was my best shot. Buoyed by the thought of a warm slice of zucchini bread before bed, I soldiered bravely on. I spent about 15 minutes grating the monster zucchini, measured out two cups of the results, and carefully prepared two identical bowls of dry ingredients.

Since I'm familiar with the baking time of the Pyrex pan, I decided to use it for the first loaf. When I went to get it out of the cabinet, I discovered my grievous error.

Loaf pan, mini loaf pan. Apparently not the same thing.

Well, bugger. And by this point it was 8:45. Zucchini loaves have to bake for 55 minutes. If I tried to make two, I'd be up until 10:45 at the least. My pregnant ass says No thank you to that. I did the only thing possible. I admitted defeat, plastic wrapped the extra dough, and slunk off to make fun of myself on the internet, all the while smelling the delicious aroma of the bread that I can't eat because it's for my mother. That, ladies and gentlemen, is real love. Happy birthday, Mom. Please enjoy this loaf of bread with a side of my suffering.

P.S. There is a giveaway on my book blog if anyone is interested.

Reading:  The Dangerous World of Butterflies:  the Startling Subculture of Criminals, Collectors, and Conservationists by Peter Laufer

Playing:  a Cowboy Junkies station on Pandora

Friday, July 24, 2009

Photo Friday

my new favorite wildflower, the rattlesnake master

View the entire Photo Friday collection on Flickr.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Third Thursday lolkitters

(Yeah, I have trouble counting my weeks.)

View the collected Third Thursday lolkitters on Flickr.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


I got a package in the mail today from my kickass friend the Untamed Shrew. Inside, there was a bottle of Dr. Bronner's baby soap, a prenatal exercise DVD (!), and this:

Gifts from the Untamed Shrew always have the best wrappings in the world. In case you can't read it, this one says, "So when the Brachiopod is teething, you'll be all HERE and s/he will be all RAA and you'll be all OMG BABY VS. T-REX."

And inside, I found this:

It's a fabulous teether from the very cool Little Alouette. I have long coveted their super rad (and handmade! and sustainable!) teethers, and no shape is more perfect for a child of mine than a dinosaur.

Also, let me embarrass myself a little by posting a (really blurry) photo of what my belly looked like at the end of a long day of eating, back around 15 weeks:

(Please ignore all that stuff in the background. We're currently storing things we've saved for a yard sale in the future nursery. And, uh, a bunch of stuff that I never got around to carrying up to the attic.)

Friday, July 17, 2009

Photo Friday

Kitty on my belly. He probably won't be able to do this for much longer.

View the entire Photo Friday collection on Flickr.

Monday, July 13, 2009

I wish I knew how to quit you

I have been a fan of Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series for years and years. The books can be sexy, entertaining, scary, and sidesplittingly funny when Evanovich is on, and for many years she produced hit after hit with a rare miss or two that I can recall. But lately, things just haven't been working for me. I do mostly enjoy the "between-the-numbers" books, even though on its face the premise of superhero-like Unmentionables is a little silly. In fact, it may be that silliness that keeps the holiday-themed books fun. In the early days of the Plum books, they were fun because you never knew what to expect. Now, as I told my friend the bibliophile one day when we were talking about the Plum books, I feel like Evanovich is almost trapped by her fan base. She can't play around with the characters as freely as she once did, because so many people are SO invested in them. She can still play around with the holiday books, because by definition she is outside the strict boundaries of the normal Plum universe.

I said in an email to the bibliophile, I also see a problem in that the numbered books always follow the same formula -- a bad guy or main case is introduced, Stephanie decides to track down fugitive, has some slapstick moments, has sex with someone, and then eventually catches the fugitive. There's only so many ways you can tell that story before it starts to get old. After I read Fearless Fourteen, I found myself thinking about giving up on the series. I honestly can't even remember why I was so disappointed, that's how bland it was. But then the new book, Finger Lickin' Fifteen, appeared on my library hold list, and I told myself I might as well give the series one more try. Happily, FL15 was much more enjoyable than its immediate predecessor, enough so that when the inevitable #16 comes out, I'll probably read it, too. Reading it also helped me refine my difficulty, I suppose, as it brought into focus the things about the series that just don't work for me. There are really only two big issues.

First, there's the apparent fact that in all her prior fourteen (or eighteen) books of bounty hunting, Stephanie has really not learned very much. I'm okay with her not carrying a gun, and I could buy it if she had a quirk where she constantly forgot her taser. Or, I could deal with that stuff if that were the only things that hadn't changed since the early books. But she still handcuffs people and then has to watch them run off. She still lets cornered bounties go to the bathroom before running them down to the police station, only to have them slip out the window and escape (that happens twice in book 15). She still takes Lula with her on jobs, and Lula still freaks out and knocks Stephanie down in a spazzy moment, allowing the target to escape. Now, I realize that Evanovich has chosen to follow a very loose progression of time, and I've heard that's she's stated on record that she's not going to move ahead years in time. I'm okay with that, especially since it means we probably won't have to suffer through the age-related death of Grandma Mazur (or Rex the hamster), or Morelli's retirement. But really, even if the span from the beginning of one book to the next was only a month (unlikely), that would mean she's been a bounty hunter for 15 months. And she's still letting people escape out bathroom windows while she stands around waiting for them to come back?

Secondly, I feel like character development has pretty much stalled out. Most of the minor recurring characters have been dropped entirely (Valerie the sister, Moon Man the stoner and occasional bounty, Sally Sweet the drag queen). The main characters really haven't changed much in several books, and Morelli barely made an appearance in book 14. Again, I have to wonder if the huge fan base and associated expectations are trapping Evanovich. It would be great to see Morelli and Ranger and especially Stephanie continue to change and evolve, but how would fans react if their old favorites suddenly developed along new storylines? I gotta say, I doubt I'm the only fan who would be happy to see some new direction.

How about you guys? Any Stephanie Plum fans out there? How do you feel about the books lately?

Reading:  Red by Ted Dekker

Playing:  Bringing Down the Horse by the Wallflowers

Friday, July 10, 2009

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

7 - 8 - 9

I hate to do two video posts in a row, but I have been thinking of this song all day:

It's from the Barenaked Ladies' decidedly non-lame children's album, Snack Time.

As a bonus, my favorite track from the album (which I suspect I'll buy for the brachiopod someday):

Friday, July 03, 2009

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

And that's a magic number

MB and I have always known that we wanted to have kids, when the time was right. We knew it would take a lot of planning, a lot of guesswork, and -- ultimately -- a lot of luck. Appropriately, on May 1st -- a day once celebrated as a fertility festival -- this happened:

And last week, there was this, kicking and kicking and kicking its precious little chicken legs:

The pregnancy has been really, really, blessedly boring and uneventful so far, for which I am unspeakably grateful. I eat a lot these days, in the way that a 40-ton brachiosaurus could be said to eat a lot. In weeks 7 - 9, the fatigue nearly killed me, and it's most likely for the best that I wasn't blogging about it at the time. But so far, I haven't puked, so I'll take it.

Today I am 13 weeks pregnant. I have started wearing the ridiculously cute maternity pants that my kickass friend Rachel sent me, and I'm looking forward to being able to spend my workday doing something other than sucking in my gut every time someone walks by, as I finally told my coworkers the news today. Pretty soon maybe I'll even look pregnant instead of like I had too many Cheetos!

We're calling it the brachiopod. I think I'm already falling in love.