In which I realize that I'm not good with nail polish

I've been all about self-improvement lately.  I'm not sure what inspired such grandiose objectives, but I made about a half dozen summer resolutions to which I've stuck to with varied degrees of success.  And some degrees of outright failure, but let's not think about that right now, okay?

Many thanks.

One of my struggles is nail biting, so I've decided to quit cold turkey.  I've actually been pretty good about it, and my nails look a little better than Frodo's right now.  Since they are all peely and chippy and breaky, I've started applying clear nail polish to keep them looking halfway decent.

And this is how I know I'm no good at polishing nails.  Seriously.  I remember my mom painting my nails a few times when I was a kid, but since I always chewed on them, she decided that it would be best that I didn't attempt to digest whatever it is that nail polish contains.

Is it just me, or does anyone else read the word "polish" and want to pronounce it "Polish," like the people of Eastern Europe?

Just me then?  Okay.

Anyway, since I've painted them a few times now, my fingernails don't look so bad.  Plus, the PAH-lish is clear.

Today I attempted to paint an actual color on my toenails.  (Not that I bite my toenails, because ew, but I just never really got into the whole thing.)  It looks like my 21-month-old painted them.  Seriously.  Except she'd probably do a better job.  There is a lovely bronze sheen all over my cuticles, the skin surrounding the nails, and some inbetween the toes.  I'd post a picture, but I don't have nice feet so I won't inflict them on anyone.

I'm so ashamed.  I know I'm not all frills and ruffles, but sheesh!  Now I have to wear shoes until it wears off of the non-nail portions of my feet!  Closed-toe shoes at that!



Hellllooooo iiiinnnnn theeeeeerrrreeeee!

Um.  So.  Hi.


I'm still here.  Sort of.  It's been a crazy past few months, but things might just be settling down for a little while.

Or so I think...

Let me sum up.

April was consumed by Easter and all the Church and family obligations it entailed, plus recovery.  Okay, so that was the beginning of April.  The rest of that month was basically spent preparing for May.  Here is why:

May 9th was Mass in my hometown for my grandfather, who passed away 6 years ago.  Wee Ninja Girl, my sister The Queen of Musicke, and I trekked to the Albany area for a long weekend, leaving EP Dude home all by his lonesome.  (He cried every night.  He told me so.)  We arrived home on the 10th, only to unpack and get the house ready for my brother, sister-in-law, and three nieces to descend upon us for one night only on their way through to New Hampshire.  That was the 12th.

May 16th was the ARS Recorder Concert, which required rehearsal, baking, practicing, and more rehearsal.  It went really great, by the way, except for the strange little bird that kept attacking one of the windows.

May 21-23 was the weekend that my ENTIRE FAMILY (parents, siblings, nieces) came to stay with us for my younger brother's graduation from the Rochester Institute of Technology.  It was insane and loud and a total blast, but I was exhausted afterward!

The holiday weekend was full of fun and parties, but also exhausting in its own right.

Whilst all this was going on, we were trying to get our house sided, changed our minds and went with windows instead, and are now looking to get the house painted.  We also had a cancer scare in the family, which of course caused much anxiety all around.  It turned out to be a serious cancer, but at the earliest possible stage, and it's been taken care of, to everybody's relief and joy.

So... I've been a tad busy.

I've also set up an Etsy shop which I am slowly stocking with yarncrafts and jewelry, and maybe even some sewn items, once I get around to taking pictures and posting stuff.

Otherwise, everyone is well and getting ready for summer.  May was unbearably hot.  Now that it's June, I'm actually wearing jeans and a sweatshirt because it's so cold and rainy.  Sigh.

Finally, a gratuitous picture of Wee Ninja Girl, because she's getting so big I can hardly stand it.

Oh, and I solemnly promise to post more than once every two months.  Honest.

Stop laughing, I mean it!


No fool!

It looks like my followers increased by 25% recently*, so I should probably actually post...

Although, if I was 9 years old and my mom were here and I wasn't in school for some reason or other, she'd probably kick me outside on a gorgeous day like today and tell me not to come in unless I've broken a bone or am otherwise bleeding profusely. 

Yes, I said profusely.  Skinned knees and small scrapes and cuts don't count.

I was just saying to EP Dude yesterday that the Rochester area has been lucky this year in terms of weather-related disasters.  While much of the Northeast battled blizzards, defied downpours, fought flooding, and sparred with sinkholes (what?), we haven't had any fun at all.  A snowstorm here and there... some drizzle... maybe a smidge of freezing rain... and now it's 74 degrees and sunny, and should remain so until Easter Sunday.

While I appreciate it, I find it hard to focus on the graveness of the Triduum when there are frolicking chipmunks and squirrels and chirpy birds all over the place.  Not to say that I can't focus or pray properly, but I am much more easily distracted.

Two weeks ago we planted impatiens, johnny jump-ups, snapdragons, and some rosemary in little Jiffy peat pods and already the snapdragons and johnnies are popping up!  I am so excited to move them outside where I hope they will manage to grow despite our overabundance of shade in all the prime garden areas.

Has anyone else started their spring and summer "Things That Need to Be Done But Keep Getting Put Off Year After Year But We're Really Going To Do Them This Year, We Mean It, Honest" lists?  I started writing one a few weeks ago, but I will probably have to put it into a spreadsheet where I can track things like cost, estimated time of completion, progress made, and such.  Plus, then I can spend all sorts of timei color-coding things and making them look pretty.

Aaaaaaaaand, now Wee Ninja Girl is awake from her nap and my free time is over!

A blessed Triduum and Happy Easter to all!

*In actual numbers, my followership (it IS TOO a word!) went from 4 to 5, but I prefer not to use actual numbers if it's all the same to you.


Warning: This post may contain child-related anectodes. Read at your own risk (of boredom).

I must apologize.  I blogged three days in swift succession, and then left you all hanging for a week or so.  I am so ashamed.

Here is the reason I don't blog as often as I would like: Wee Ninja Girl.

Yes, folks, Wee Ninja Girl is the true culprit here.  I'm the victim!

Stop laughing!  It's true!

I spend most of her awake time chasing her around while she tries to get away with stuff she KNOWS she isn't supposed to do.

How do I know she knows she shouldn't do things?  (Forgive me, English language, for that sentence.)  Well, she will actually shake her head and say "No," as she does them.  For example, WNG will try to take the Dirt Devil dustbuster off its charger so she can vacuum, all the while softly chanting, "no, no, no, no, no."

What makes it really adorable is that she actually says "oh" for "no."

WNG has been honing her ninja skills lately, trying to sneak into the bathroom and scrub the toilet with the toilet brush.  She will play peek-a-boo behind the dining room door, and then suddenly she will stop peeking.  When I open the door to find her, she's usually about halfway to the bathroom.  If she makes it all the way in or manages to grab the toilet brush, I just have to go in and give her "The Look" and she will hand me the brush (gee, thanks) and run out.

She also has developed an affinity for YouTube, particularly Muppet musical videos.  I hang my head in shame.

Why?  Well, I'll tell you.  EP Dude and I have both been very strict with "screen time" for WNG.  The only television she really watches is Wheel of Fortune after dinner (she has started to yell random letters at the screen, just like we do!) or some football during the season.  We don't have cable or anything, so there aren't many options for her, so we figured that every once in a while she could watch a YouTube video or two.

As I'm sure you can imagine, every once in a while has quickly become every single day.  And by a video or two I mean the same 6 videos over and over and over again until we are all singing "Mahna Mahna" in our sleep.

I limit it now to just before lunch and just after dinner, but WNG will still ask for it all the time.  She invented her own sign for the computer, although it took us a really REALLY long time to figure it out. She sort of pinches at her face with all her fingers, as though she is stroking some really epic mutton chops.  Finally, last week, she did that sign while saying "Tee tee?" (meaning "TV") and we thought she wanted to watch WoF.  She said no to that, and then signed again while wandering into the room where the computer is.  Then it dawned on us that she did that particular sign because the Muppet from "Mahna Mahna" has a wispy red beard, and that's what she related to the computer.

I know, random, right?  But I think it's pretty cool that she came up with her own sign.

Lately she has been trying to pull off the whole "if I can't see you I can't hear you" schtick, so when I tell her to do or not to do something she will turn her head away and go about her business.  So, I have started to preface things with "WNG, look at mama.  Look at me."  So far, she always does, and then will comply with my demandrequest.

When she wants me to do something now, she gets right up in my face and stares at my eyes before speaking or signing.  It's a bit disconcerting!

Anyway, happy March, everyone, and let's keep our fingers crossed for Spring!  Then we can actually be outdoors doing stuff in the sunshine, instead of sitting around inside shivering or scrubbing toilets.


Snow Day!

Well, the snow did indeed come, as promised.  It wasn't piles and piles of it, but we seem to have gotten a good twelve inches or so, and it's still coming down at this point.  I'll probably have to go out and shovel again before EP Dude gets home from work.

Or he could just plow his sedan right through the snowplow mound at the end of the driveway and skid to a stop as best he can before slamming into my car.

I'm going with option B.

Don't look at me like that, it's cold out and I've already changed into my comfy pants.

I did go out to shovel this morning, with Wee Ninja Girl in tow.  She was content to just stand on the sidewalk as I shoveled around her for a long time.  Then she discovered that I had cleared a path to the road, and I spent the rest of the time shoveling, warning her to STAY OUT OF THE ROAD, threatening to pick her up and bring her back to the front stoop, and then picking her up and bringing her back to the front stoop. 

So it took a bit longer to clear the driveway than I had anticipated.

But we did have lots of fun and WNG got to wear her snowpants at last.  I love the *zip zip* sound they make when she walks around!

We did not sled down the driveway into the backyard on pillows in garbage bags, cardboard boxes, or any other kind of bootleg sledding device.  We did wander around and catch snowflakes on our tongues and draw a baby face in the snow on my car.

WNG had so much fun doing just those simple things that she started crying when we came inside, despite her cold hands and the snow up her sleeves.  I had to distract her with YouTube videos of the Muppets, which has become her favorite pasttime.

I will expand on that failure of motherhood some other time.  For now, here is the snowbaby all geared up:


Batten down the hatches, ma, there's a storm a-brewin'!

It seems that we here in westernish New York are finally in for a good, old-fashioned, winter storm.  Except it's going to be about 12" total over the next two days, which sounds more like a really long but not too intense snowfall.


I want snow!  I want to bundle the Wee Ninja Girl into her snowpants and sled down the driveway! 

Although I suppose I might need to purchase a sled...

Nah, I think we can just sit on a garbage bag and slide around.  I may have to put a pillow inside the garbage bag, since I nearly broke my tailbone last night falling on the ice in our driveway.  I was on my way to a music practice and when I went to put one foot in the car, the other just slipped out from under me.  My head ached all the way to the practice, and sitting on a folding chair for 2 hours didn't help either.


Back to the snow-induced panic!

WNG and I trekked to Wegmans this morning to do our weekend grocery shopping a day early, just in case people forget how to drive and the roads are messy tomorrow.  We usually go shopping on Mondays and Fridays, so it wasn't too bad to pop out a day early.  Now we can spend tomorrow SLEDDING!  Using pillows stuffed in garbage bags!

Seriously, how bootleg can one get?

Maybe we should use some cardboard boxes instead.  That would be much classier.


Snow baby

I'm so jealous.  Everyone else is getting piles and piles of snow while we here in Rochester have just a few scant inches on the ground and fitful flurries.  Sigh.  Wee Ninja Girl hasn't been able to use her snowpants yet! 

She did, however, get to build a snowman and enjoy some wintry shenanigans last weekend when we hauled ourselves to Albany for my grandmother's 93rd birthday party (more on that in a minute).

Our trip was pretty uneventful, actually.  We took my little sister, The Queen of Musicke, along and she rode in the backseat with WNG, so we didn't have to stop once!  WNG was supposed to nap in the car, but she is the only baby this side of the Mississippi who doesn't ever sleep in her carseat.  Plus, she had her auntie and godmother to entertain her for 3.5 hours, so why would she even try?

Amazingly enough, TQOM even sat in the back with WNG on the ride home as well!  Awesome!

Randomness alert!

One thing I learned while in Albany was how lucky we are in our parish here in Rochester.  (Surprising, I know, to anyone who knows the situation in our diocese!)  We went to a Mass at one of the cluster parishes, so it wasn't the parish I used to attend when I lived there.  It was... an experience.  I don't want to badmouth or criticize clergy, but I will say that I've never in my life had this sort of conversation with a priest before:

Father:  The Body of Christ.
Me: Amen.
Father: Hey, how are ya?  Good to see ya!  How've ya been?
Me.  ...

Yes, folks, he tried to strike up a conversation whilst I was receiving the Host.  I didn't know what to do, so I just moved away and continued back to my pew.  Strangeness. 

It also made it difficult for me because this Lenten season I am focusing on the positive and trying to be more charitable in my daily interactions with people.  It took a lot for me to not seethe and rant about it (and other oddities during the same Mass), although I admit that I did vent a little bit to EP Dude and my mother.

Anyway, my grandmother's party was tons of fun, and it was great to see so much of my family.  I was able to catch up with a cousin I hadn't seen since my grandmother's birthday last year!  My grandmother just glowed having all her children and most of her grandchildren there.  WNG was the only great-grandbaby present, which was a bit of a bummer, but understandable as the others have a lot farther to travel.

And yes, the candles on her cake are backwards to say "39" on purpose.

It was also EP Dude's birthday, but he graciously agreed that we should spend it in Albany celebrating with my grandmother rather than relaxing in Rochester like I know he wanted.  I'm so lucky to have such a guy!

And to make up for everything, I baked him his favorite Dr. Pepper Texas Chocolate Cake from the Dinosaur BBQ cookbook.   Sadly, we forgot to bring the leftovers home with us, but my mom froze it so we can enjoy it the next time someone from Albany makes their way westward.

Mmmmmmmm..... cake.............


Pity party, table for one

I always find it hard to get back into the swing of things after the Christmas holidays.  To transition from seemingly endless activities to the bleakness of January can be a bit depressing.  Thus, I always try to do something to liven things up.

So, Thursday night after I had trimmed some chicken to cook for dinner, I decided to vigorously scrub the cutting board.  While doing that, the large, sharp knife I had previously wielded somehow fell into the sink—blade-side-up, of course—just as I pushed the sponge downwards.


I basically punched the blade of the knife with my right-hand pinky knuckle.  Thankfully, EP Dude is an Eagle Scout and promptly patched me up.  After we got dinner together and Wee Ninja Girl to bed, we decided to go to an urgent care to have professionals take a look, just in case I sliced a tendon.

Hmm, I probably should have put a DO NOT EAT WHILE READING THIS POST warning at the top.  Oops.

It turned out that even if I did knick a tendon, since the cut was straight up-and-down rather than across the knuckle, it would heal just fine.  So now I have to wear a splint on my finger for TWO WHOLE WEEKS.  Ugh.

I have learned since then just how important the pinky fingers are, and hope I never take them for granted again.  And I learned that tenanus shots hurt worse than lacerated fingers, so now I have a sore hand AND a sore shoulder.  *whimper*

At any rate, I'm thinking of knitting up a splint cozy to keep grime from grossing up the medical tape.  I think I have some lovely sock yarn left over that would do quite nicely.

But in the meantime, I will probably just eat some ice cream while riding around in this:


Most. Insane. Duet. Ever.

So. I caught the beginning of the Alabama/Texas game this evening, just in time to see the pregame inanities and hear the National Anthem sung by Josh Groban, accompanied by Flea, on bass guitar.

Josh Groban.



Hold onto your hats, folks, the apocalypse is near!


Twelve drummers drumming...

Aaaaaaaand we're back.

So today is the Feast of Epiphany, or the last of the Twelve Days of Christmas.  Any Christmassy things that were neglected so far must be done NOW or must wait until 12/25/10.  So there.

There was really only one thing I hadn't done in time (aside from the Christmas cards, but those are all sent now!  And there are still gifts to send to the Pittsburghian relatives.  Darn it!) this year, and that was make Figgy Pudding.  So, I made some today.  And because I'm extra nice, I will post the recipe here for you to enjoy next Christmas season.

Not THIS Christmas season, though, because that will END TODAY.

Mary Cratchitt's Figgy Pudding*
  • 16 oz. dried Calimyrna Figs
  • 1 ¾ cup milk
  • 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 ½ tsps baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ cup butter; melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 ½ cup fresh bread crumbs (3 to 4 slices white bread)
  • 1 tbsp grated orange peel (bottled)
Brandied Hard Sauce
  • 1 ½ cup confectioners’ sugar
  • ½ cup butter; softened
  • 2 tbsps Brandy
  • ½ tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 2.5 quart metal pudding mold or fluted tube pan.  I recommend spraying every square inch of the pan with Pam or your friendly neighborhood grocery store brand vegetable spray.  Seriously, spray that thing until it drips.  Well, maybe not that much, but close.

Chop the stems off the figs and then cut them into small pieces. I find it helps to slice each one once longways and then two or three times across.  They will be really sticky, so as soon as you finish chopping them up, wash your knife and cutting board.

In a saucepan over medium-low heat, cook figs and milk, covered, 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally (mixture may look curdled). Be careful not to let mixture boil.

In a medium bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt.

In a large bowl, with mixer at high speed, beat eggs for 1 minute. Reduce mixer speed to low; add butter, bread crumbs, orange peel, and warm fig mixture. Gradually add the flour mixture; beat until just blended.

Spoon mixture into the greased mold, smoothing the top. Use the spoon to push the mixture into all the cracks and crevices of the mold, and try to get the top as even as possible. Next, cover the mold with a sheet of greased foil.

Place the mold in a deep roasting pan and place on the oven rack. Pour hot tap water into the roasting pan to come 2 inches up the side of the mold. Bake the pudding for 2 hours or until it is firm and pulls from the sides of the mold.

While it is baking, mix the hard sauce. In a small bowl and with mixer at medium speed, beat all sauce ingredients until creamy. Refrigerate if it is not served right away. It makes about 1 cup of sauce, which should be enough.

Remove pudding from water bath; remove foil and cool on wire rack for 10 minutes. Invert onto serving plate and remove mold. Serve warm.

*I originally found this recipe online several years ago, but the website where it was posted no longer exists and I haven't been able to find it again.  Luckily, I had printed it out and am now returning it to its internet home.

The sauce is extremely sweet, so don't overdo it!  I like to put some on it while the pudding is hot and let it seep in, and then keep some extra for those who have a sweet tooth.  Or twelve.

Merry Christmas and Happy Epiphany!