17 December 2009

Zee Kitchen (Update)

Countertops. Check! New door. Check! Things are coming along. Enjoy the pics of the installation of the countertop. It's a dark, dark green granite. I haven't even seen it in person yet. These pics are courtesy of Jake the Contractor.

14 December 2009

Pee Pee in the Potty!

Big news: Benny went pee in the toilet last night. And, unlike the other times he's gone to the bathroom on the big boy chair, he seemed to understand what was going on last night and was excited to be doing it. I'm not sure if we've turned a corner or not, but this is definitely progress. Baby steps. We'll keep taking them until we're diaper-free!

On another positive pee-related note: We're using cloth diapers at night now rather than disposable. That way we can make up for some of the waste of using disposable diapers at daycare. Hurrah for green parenting!

07 December 2009

Zee Kitchen (During)

1. Nate finishing his demo work.
2. Bare kitchen - nothing but the cabinets.
3. Ditto.
4. Today, after Jake the Contractor (think Bob the Builder) removed the partial wall. Those wooden pillars will be removed soon. It's so open now - minus the debris.

Things are most definitely progressing. Even in the cold, dusty house, the kitchen is coming along!

01 December 2009

Life Sans Kitchen: Day 3

Technically, I've only been without a kitchen for about two days. So far, OK. Jake, our contractor started yesterday after a long weekend of Nate tearing stuff out of the kitchen. The only thing Nate left in there were the cabinets. Jake's progress report yesterday read something like this:

The Good: The dishwasher did not leak as bad as we had thought, so we don't need to do any repairs to the subfloor (that could have gotten expensive FAST). Also, the floor is already insulated, although you would never guess that by walking on it on a cold winter's day, so we'll save that money.

The Bad: The crack in the wall where the old house and the addition meet is much, much worse than originally anticipated. Jake said he's seen worse, but I'm not sure. The structural engineer will be at the house today to check things out.

The Ugly: I can't remember what the ugly was. Perhaps it was our entire house. The living room now houses a (working) refigerator and a (not-working) range as well as a make shift kitchen (complete with a microwave) on the desk. It looks pretty, pretty classy. We have yet to go out to eat, after two full days of this. Hopefully that bodes well for the future!

27 November 2009


If you don't know what that is, consider yourself lucky. A sawzall is a small saw-ish tool that supposedly can cut through anything. Including the part of the kitchen cabinets we're removing. It's not a pretty sight or sound. It provides a reality check for what we're about to do: Turn our kitchen into a construction zone. A messy, dirty (de)construction zone. I'm still not sure I'm prepared for this.

The upside is that we received our new sink from FedEx today. It's a beaut. I can't wait to rip the nasty old maroon one out. We won't even wash dishes in that sink because it's so disgusting. The new back door is all but ordered. We've decided on a lovely fiber glass door. Cheaper than wood, looks better than steal. The best of both worlds perhaps. Next up: A new faucet tomorrow. The construction officially begins on Monday.

25 November 2009

Wine and Waves

After several "takes" we finally got a good picture... See below.

Turns out that riding bikes and tasting wine is 1) fun and 2) tiring. We rode 25 miles this day and tasted at five wineries. I was tired and tipsy most of the day. We rode all around the Alexander Valley in Sonoma County. It was gorgeous!

Our lovely home for two days. We have some interesting stories from other guests.

These photos from our trip to California in early October are a tad bit late to arrive to the blog. It's been a crazy couple of months. We did have a nice time though. And, very surprisingly, we haven't had a drop of the 12 bottles of wine we brought home. That will probably change soon (between the terrible twos and the kitchen remodel, that is)!

22 November 2009

Life in Shambles

A bit dramatic, yes? The kitchen is officially in shambles. Nate is waiting until next week to tear out the stove. When that happens, we'll really be screwed. Right now we have dust on the floors and doors off the cabinets. All will be torn apart.

Our contractor sent us the final estimate today. YIKES! Word to the wise: Don't add and add and add to your wish list with your contractor and expect the number to be small. We're going to go forward, knowing that we'll be all but broke for the foreseeable future. It will all be worth it in the end. It will all be worth it in the end. It WILL ALL BE WORTH IT IN THE END!

The countertops are ordered. The sink and over-the-sink-light is on its way. We'll buy the faucet this weekend. All that we have left to pick out are tiles and paint. Hopefully that means that the weekend shopping sprees are over. Who knew that re-doing a kitchen would be all-consuming? Not I, I say. Not I.

16 November 2009

Abrazos y Besos

Benny has never been too keen on giving hugs and kisses. He would reluctantly dole out kisses at bedtime, but otherwise, this type of cuddling and physical contact was limited. Until... Until the ladies at daycare taught Benny how to say "kiss" in Spanish. Now if we ask for a besos, Benny gives us several. I think I got 20 besos yesterday. A record for sure.

Since Benny seemed more open to Spanish kisses, I thought he may be partial to Spanish hugs too. When we were at my parents' this weekend, I asked my brother for the word for "hug." Now Benny is happy to give up an abrazos no matter what he's doing.

The really funny thing about all of this is that Benny is just now getting into saying goodbye to people. But, he's more likely to say "arrivederci" than the English counterpart.

10 November 2009

Zee Kitchen (Before)

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Update: The appliances arrived yesterday. We found out that the dishwasher was "wood-floored in," meaning that when the previous owners installed the wood floors, they didn't bother to move the dishwasher out of the way. So, everything but the refridgerator are in the basement. We're looking at a post-Thanksgiving start date. Hurrah!

Terrible Twos (and Three Months)

Holy moly! Benjamin Jasper Brown has officially entered the terrible twos. He started in on the massive tantrums after we returned from California and hasn't really stopped since. He now says, "I want a timeout," and runs in his room and sits in his time out chair. Guess that strategy isn't the most effective.

His teachers at school also mentioned that he's started to say "no" to many of their requests. Great. He's doing it at school now too. This from the boy who has been extremely good at school. "Benny always has a good day," they say.

In more positive news, Benny now says that he's "two and three months" when asked. I have no idea where he learned that, but it's pretty freaking cute. He can also correctly identify his right hand, left hand, right foot, left foot, and on and on and on. He jumps with two feet and climbs many things (including his changing table).

So, I guess these are the growing pains we need to get through for the next few months or years. Little stinker.

09 November 2009

Denver Half-Marathon

A few weeks ago, I ran the Denver Half-Marathon with my friend, Jen. Lovely day. Lovely course. So glad to be finished with those long runs for the time being!

03 November 2009

Kitchen Remodel, Phase 1

We spent a small fortune on new appliances this weekend. Phase 1 of the kitchen remodel is now complete.

We'll be replacing the appliances, obviously. Removing a partial wall. Removing the 70-year-old wall oven. Putting in a "bar" area. Painting. Re-tiling. New countertopping. New light-fixturing.

It's going to be intense!

02 November 2009

Happy Halloween!

Daddy, Dumbo, and Mommy. Halloween 2009.

Benny loved carving the pumpkin. He liked eating it too!

Best buds: Benny and Toby, the flying monkey!

15 October 2009

The Big Trip

We had a lovely time in California. Here are a few pics that Smaifeld sent me. One is at the speakeasy ("anti-saloon league"). The other is of the morning after. We look surprisingly bright eyed after a night at the speakeasy. Once I finally upload photos of wine country, I'll post those too with more details of the fantastic trip!

12 October 2009

Happy News!

Luke and Aman are getting married! Hurray! Happy news, indeed.

(Luke is my brother and Aman is his lovely fiancee, obviously.)

06 October 2009


In about 12 hours, Nate and I will be taking off on our first adult-only trip since Benny was born (probably since he was conceived!). We are heading to San Francisco to spend some time with friends and to experience Sonoma wine country in all of its glory.

We have a lot to celebrate this week: I finished my dissertation and graduated, Nate passed the professional engineering test and is now an official P.E., and I got a job. And on top of all of that, we celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary in May (in September we celebrated being together for EIGHT years)! We have a beautiful, amazing son and a house that will be beautiful and amazing some day.

So, while Nana and Papa spoil Benny all week, we'll be spoiling ourselves. On the itinerary: Staying at a B & B in Healdsburg so we can bike around to different wineries and taste without risk of driving after too many tastings. Spending Friday and Saturday in the city, one of my favorite cities. We'll cap the trip off with an evening at a speakeasy with four friends. It's going to be great!

01 October 2009

New Season, New Goals

Fall is officially in full swing. I haven't checked my list of things to accomplish in awhile. I checked it today (at work, bad me) and realized that the list has been a good motivator for me to do things. For example:

#23. Make bed every morning. I've been almost 100 percent here. Whenever I'm home in the morning, I make the bed. It's become routine. Granted, that's only three days a week. But Nate has also started making the bed when I leave early (not often, but sometimes). He also makes a point to tell me when he's made the bed.

#17. Attend at least three book readings. I love to hear how authors craft their stories. It's fascinating to me! I'm attending a book reading and signing this weekend of one of my favorite authors: Margaret Atwood. I had to buy the hard copy of her new book to get a ticket, but this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity chance to see a prolific writer talk about her craft. I'm very excited!

#66. Grow bangs out. I would have done this regardless of the list. But, it's been nice to document my progress. And remind myself why bangs are a BAD idea in the first place. Too bad a new girl started and has super cute bangs. Makes me think...

#58. Sweep and mop kitchen every week for three months. I've delegated this chore to Nate. One way to be productive is to delegate. I'll take the credit!

Now I'm going to focus on the easier items to complete: writing friends and family, surprising my mom with little gifts, going on family bike rides. Gotta start making that stuff happen!

27 September 2009


We attended the Great American Beer Fest this weekend. My stomach is still dealing with the shock (as I sip another beer). It was quite an experience, complete with a one-ounce glass and over 200 breweries. That and a lot of happy drunks!

22 September 2009

TWO Book Reviews

It's not often that I have ambivalent feelings about a book. I either love books or I hate them. For example, the fourth book I've read since completing my dissertation, The Alchemist. Hated it. I finished it over a month ago, so I don't really remember why I hated it, but I recall that I only finished it because it was so short. It's supposed to have some deep meaning - profound, if you will. Perhaps I'm not deep enough to read into that. Whatever. Didn't like it. At all.

Clearly, not so ambivalent. That's why I was surprised that I was so ambivalent about Jane Smiley's Ten Days in the Hills. Normally I LOVE Jane Smiley. Moo U. and Ten Thousand Acres, to name a couple. I even went to a book reading about Ten Days in the Hills. The book reading was great. The book was long. 530 pages long. So, I'm surprised that I couldn't find something that I loved or hated about it. It was mostly just kind of boring. It's about a group of people who spend 10 days in the Hollywood Hills just after the Iraq War began. Some are family, some are old friends. Some are anti-war, some are really conservative.

My unfeeling feeling about this book makes me think that, perhaps, I'm not a very perceptive reader. I do remember that the book is supposed to be a modern-day take on some classic book (Decameron, I just checked). I'm a fairly well-read person, but I have no clue how this relates to Decameron. I have to admit that I've never even heard of Decameron.

A reviewer had this to say: "Smiley delivers a delightful, subtly observant sendup of Tinseltown folly, yet she treats her characters, their concern with compelling surfaces and their perpetual quest to capture reality through artifice, with warmth and seriousness. In their shallowness, she finds a kind of profundity." I couldn't have said it better. In fact, I wasn't sure how to say it at all.

Maybe my ambivalence lies in my ignorance. Maybe now I'll check out that Decameron book.

If I had to summarize my experience with the two books:

The Alchemist: Bleck.
Ten Days in the Hills: Eh.

17 September 2009

Those Who Inspire: My Sister Caley

I'm having a hard time of thinking about things to write about lately. My life is fairly uneventful now that I'm working. Work, play with Benny, make dinner, put Benny to bed, go to bed. So, I thought I'd start a semi-regular post about those individuals in my life who have inspired me.

I'm going to start with Caley, my oldest friend, who I consider family.

Caley and I met when we were six. Her dad owned the farm a mile away from my parents' farm. Her parents were divorced, so she spent summers in Brule. To be honest, Caley scared me for the first ten years of our friendship. Not scared in a bad way, but scared in the way she fearlessly tackled every aspect of her life. Plus, she lived in Omaha. That seemed like such a huge, cool place when I was six years old.

For those first ten years we rode her motor bike, swam in creeks and ponds, and generally cavorted around our respective farms.

When we were teenagers, she started smoking and drinking and dating guys. I, on the other hand, didn't smoke, didn't drink, didn't date guys. And I thought she was SO cool. I was the nerd, she was the cool girl. Despite our differences we remained friends. And despite not seeing each other for nine months out of the year we remained close.

Then we went to college. Drinking, partying, making out with boys. We had a grand old time. And then we had a falling out. As I recall, it was mostly due my issues. Caley has always been one of the most faithful friends I've ever had. We spent a few years "finding ourselves."

We remained in touch, but I can't say that we were particularly close.

About five and a half years ago Caley called out of the blue. We don't talk on the phone much, so it was a little out of the ordinary. She was calling to tell me that her mom wasn't doing so great. Her mom, Maggie, was like a mom to me for a better portion of my early 20s. She was an amazing woman who was battling cancer. We planned for me to spend a weekend in Omaha so I could visit Maggie and say goodbye.

Then I got the worst call imagineable. Maggie passed away. And I went to her funeral. And I watched Caley grieve in the most touching way possible. This woman, this friend of mine, lost the most important person in her life and all I could do is to be there. I tried, but realized recently thatI failed her. As a friend.

Five years later, Caley visited me in Denver. We have merged again, on a similar path. This time it's more meaningful than booze and boys. Our beliefs - about women, about working, about the earth and ecology, about many things - are very similar. Somehow we found each other again. She made me care about many of those things. I finally asked her, after five years, how she was doing. She broke down. And I realized that she has been carrying this burden of grief for five long years and I had no idea.

Caley has inspired me in so many ways. She is a master gardener, she loves to read, she can bullshit with anyone. She is gorgeous and gracious. She is good with her hands and she is good with her heart. I am proud to call her my friend. My sister.

Caley, if you read this, I love you. And thank you for always being a friend to me - even when I wasn't open to it.

14 September 2009

Funny Story

Since I'm having a hard time posting things now that I'm working, I thought I'd share this funny story from a friend...

So here's a heart warming story:

I'm in the back yard playing with the kids while Renee in bed sick. Brody is on the swing, Cloe is running around. I've just pooper scooped the yard not 30 minutes ago, but while my back is turned Cloe finds the one turd I missed and PUTS IT INTO HER MOUTH! I turn around to see her with a half turd in her hand and a look on her face that says "this thing tastes like shit!" So I literally slap the remaining turd from her hand and scoop what I can from her mouth. Then I have to unfasten Brody from the child swing, pick Cloe back up, run inside and rinse Cloe's mouth out as best I can. Then I wash both kids' hands as well as my own.

Meanwhile they've both picked up on the abrupt and drastic downturn in my mood and started that wailing cry that kids do when they realize that the person that's supposed to be in control really isn't. So now I get to call poison control while two kids screech like ambulance sirens in the background. It takes me about 30 seconds to stammer through a polite way to tell the poison control lady that my 18 month old daughter just ate dog shit. It went something like "Um...hi...I'm not sure if this the right place to call, but...um...my 18 month old daughter just...um...found some dog...feces in the back yard and...um...well...she ate it." At which point the poison control lady says "Oh, my...please hold." So now I'm thinking that I've got to take the kids to the emergency room. But no, apparently the lady just had to look up "shit ingestion" in her manual. No emergency room visit is required, but be on the lookout for symptoms similar to food poisoning for the next 24 hours. As I write this, we're on hour 5 of the post poop ingestion vigil. It's going to be a looooong day tomorrow.

(insert obligatory ButTheySureAreWorthIt statement here)

09 September 2009

Goodbye Summer, My Old Friend

Where have you gone, friend? No more dog days of summer. No more sunny evenings. From here it's leaves changing, snow falling, and the monotonous days of winter. OK, I'm being slightly dramatic.

We celebrated the end of the season with a weekend in the mountains with Papa Knucks, Kat, and Uncle Matt. Nate's dad and his dad's new wife were driving through for their honeymoon. We met them by Buena Vista and camped for two nights. Benny, as always, proved that he is the perfect mountain baby. We even took him swimming at the hot springs. It turns out that he's also a water baby. He got used to the water pretty quickly and then didn't want to get out. Sadly, this is the first time he's been in an actual pool. And now summer is over :(.

So, we move on to fall. The leaves will change, the temperature will drop, and we'll look forward to everything the season has in store for us (a trip to San Francisco and the wine country, visits from friends, building a fence, designing a new kitchen!).

16 August 2009

Outdoor Paradise

Nate and I were driving home from the grocery store yesterday and happened upon a garage sale about a block from our house. We did one of those slow motion double takes when we saw a patio set for sale. We've been talking about getting something for our patio so we could eat outside and enjoy the lovely Colorado summer. We didn't want to buy something new (see my goal to buy 80 percent used) and we weren't having any luck on craigslist.

I ran down to the garage sale to check the set out. It was well worn, but a nice teak-ish looking set with lovely chairs. The table top is really worn out, but we can cover that up. We're going to try to restore some of the wood's previous beauty with some teak oil later this week.

Some neighbors came over to BBQ last night and we had a fantastic night on the patio. Nate and I are kicking ourselves for not finding something earlier this summer. We ate breakfast out there this morning and read the newspaper while Benny napped. One of the biggest perks is that it doesn't matter what Benny spills - I don't have to clean it up!

Otherwise we had a lovely weekend. We were in the mountains for a late afternoon picnic on Friday night. My new boss hosted it at her mountain cabin. Very nice. On Saturday we ran errands and cleaned. Today I ran 6.5 miles because I'm training for another half-marathon then Nate, Benny, and I headed to the zoo for a quick visit with the monkeys, elephants, zebras, and more. All in all, a fantastic, productive weekend. Mostly spent in an outdoor paradise!

10 August 2009

Working from Home

It was bound to happen. We made it a full four weeks before Benny had to stay home from daycare. Nate volunteered to stay at home with the fever-ridden, coughing Bear. I relieved him at 3. Benny slept. I worked. Then Benny woke up, felt better, and proceeded to make me laugh until Nate returned home. We went to Duck Park. On the way I was instructed that "Benny ride duck, Mommy ride seahorse." When I protested that I wanted to ride the duck, Benny informed me that, under NO circumstances, was I allowed to ride the duck. OK.

Although I am grateful that Nate stayed home for most of the day, the whole experience reminds me that I am still very much the primary caregiver. That's not to say that Nate didn't pull his weight today. However, I volunteered to call the daycare, make an appointment for Benny at the doctor, and offered to come home early. Why? Because that sort of thing is second nature to me now. Nate seemed really apprehensive about calling the pediatrician's office. What were Benny's symptoms, how long had he been experiencing them, etc.? In the end, it was easier for me to call than coach Nate through the conversation.

I'm wondering if this will change as we adjust to this new schedule. Benny did wonder where his daddy was this afternoon when he woke up from his nap. That doesn't normally happen. Perhaps change is coming after all.

The good news is that Benny's fever is gone and he'll be back at daycare tomorrow. Keep your fingers crossed that we don't have too many sick days in the next few months!

07 August 2009

What the @$**...

I have many thoughts about the state of the world, country, and my life right now.

1) I'll start with the world/country. As I've made it clear in previous posts, I consider myself a progressive person. I supported Barack Obama in the election. I realize that that does not inherently make me a progressive person, but he was better than the alternative (remember my rant about Palin?).

Right now I'm having a hard time understanding why people are SO resistant to health care reform. People, seriously. The system we have is not working. Admittedly, I don't know much about the current proposals, but I do think that something needs to be done!

2) I'm happy that Sotomayor was confirmed. No one really thought she wouldn't make it. I did enjoy listening to middle aged white men go off about Sotomayor's "record" of ruling in favor of Latinos. Irony anyone?

3) After a full four weeks of working, I'm happy with how things are shaking out for me professionally. I'm getting accustomed to the schedule and the workplace. Benny is doing great at daycare. Better than I ever could have imagined, in fact. I'm so impressed and proud of him.

4) Although I've been saying this for the past two years, I really do have to make an effort to stop cursing now. Benny repeated "oh shit" at the park yesterday when he couldn't get up on one of the platforms. Oops.

Finally, in my biggest what the hell moment, how is it already August 8? How, how, how???

29 July 2009

The Great Outdoors

We went camping for the first time with Benny a few weeks ago. Although I had my reservations, Benny proved that he is, indeed, a mountain man. He loved hiking in the rocks, splashing in the stream, and exploring in general. We had to help him go to sleep, but it only took him about five minutes to let go of wakefulness. He slept much better than both Nate and me. We'll be going again when we have a free weekend.

26 July 2009

Happy 2nd Birthday, Mr. Bear!

TWO! Benny is two! We had a wonderful day. Complete with attending a birthday party for a friend in the morning and hosting a celebration for the Bear in the afternoon. The guest list:
Nana and Papa
Great Great Aunt Mary Anne and Uncle Jim
Lys, Carl, and Theo
Sara, Kirpal, and Sophie
Sam, John, and Avery
Adam, Pamela, and Jack
Nick and Aaron

20 July 2009

Book Review: The Namesake

I followed one good, easy read with another. The Namesake, by Pulitzer Prize winning author Jhumpa Lahiri, is a fantastic story about a kid who struggles with the name his Indian parents have given him. He is named after a Russian writer and doesn't understand the meaning behind his name. The story mostly follows his life, but also gives us a glimpse of how an immigrant Indian family makes its way in America and how the first generation its children largely shun the traditions their parents try to instill in their lives.

If I had more time to analyze the book, I may have some insightful comments. The best I can do after a 10-hour day, run, and 45 minutes at the park is to say that I liked the book. It was well written with a nice story. Lahiri's collection of short stories, The Interpreter of Maladies, is now on my list to read. It's the book for which she won the Pulitzer. My brother's girlfriend, whose parents immigrated to Canada from India, told me that many south Asians love her stuff. That amounts to a good recommendation.

19 July 2009

Le Jardin

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A bean plant, post-hail storm. We finished our lettuce today :(. Also finished for the season: arugula and radishes. But, we've been enjoying the first crops of cucumbers and green beans. And that's not to mention all of the fresh herbs we have. We're counting down the days until all of our tomatoes ripen at once! Heirlooms, cherries, and the early bird (which isn't so early after all).

First Day

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Pictures of Benny's first day of day care and my first day of work. We can't get this kid to look at the camera! But, he did look extra spiffy with his orange crocs and green plaid shirt.

14 July 2009

Just Par for the Course

This will be a quick update ... based on reader response ... my first day at work and Benny's first day at daycare went really well. I shouldn't be surprised. Benny has always been an easy-going kid. He doesn't seem to be ruffled by much. In fact, I think Carmen and Maria (his teachers) are surprised at how well he has adjusted so far. He's napping on a mat on the floor (I never, ever thought that would happen!). He's interacting with other kiddos.

And I surprised myself. I shouldn't be surprised that I can do this job. I mean, really, I write all of the time. And I write well. So grant writing will be a challenge, but a challenge that I'm certainly equipped to take on.

12 July 2009

Learning Curve

Summer is in full swing now. We're enjoying the first bounty from our garden: lettuce and arugula. Yummy yummy salad greens. Unfortunately, we're nearly finished with both crops. We did manage to consume both harvests without much bug destruction. The cucumbers seem to be next, along with more tomatoes than we'll ever be able to eat.

We've learned quite a bit about gardening in our first year as green thumbs. The first is to stagger planting. For example, if we had staggered the planting of our two rows of lettuce, we wouldn't feel like we need to eat massive salads every day for two weeks. Rather, we could eat medium-sized salads for a month. My garden goddess friend, Caley, was in town this weekend and taught us many tricks for gardening.

She also accompanied me on not one but two shopping excursions (the first was cut short by The Bear - he's not the best shopping companion). I spent a good chunk of change on a new work wardrobe because ... I'm starting my new job tomorrow! I've never owned sweater sets and slacks in my life. There's a first time for everything.

Benny and I will both be dealing with a learning curve tomorrow. It's his first full day of day care as well. Eek. I'm excited for both of us, but very nervous just the same. We may have a long period of adjustment in front of us!

05 July 2009

Corn Flour and Happy Accidents

My brother Luke and his girlfriend Aman are in town for the weekend. That means one thing: Experiencing my brother's amazing feats in the kitchen. That kid sure knows how to make some mean grub. He pulled out his tortilla press last night and fashioned up some homemade corn tortillas for fish tacos. They were perhaps the best fish tacos I have ever consumed (complete with marinated fish - thanks, Nate - fresh salsa - thanks, Aman - and cabbage). Nate and I are convinced that we need a tortilla press now too.

When it came to breakfast this morning, Nate and I planned to stick with something more traditional: eggs and pancakes. However, when we checked the pantry, we were out of flour. Here's the happy accident: We had plenty of corn flour leftover from last night's feast, so we thought, "Hey, why not make pancakes from cornflower." THEY. WERE. AMAZING. We are wondering how we've lived 30+ years without experiencing the yumminess of corn flour pancakes. Here's the recipe, if you're so inclined:

2 cups MASECA® corn masa flour
1 cup Sugar
4 Eggs
2 tsp. Baking powder
¼ cup (40gr.) Butter
1½ cups Milk

In a bowl, mix together MASECA, eggs, baking powder, sugar, butter, and milk; continue until all ingredients are well combined.

In a lightly greased skillet, cook each hot cake over medium heat on both sides for about one to two minutes or until ready.

Serve with butter, maple syrup, or marmalade of your choice.

01 July 2009

Book Review: Shopgirl

I broke a record reading this book. I picked it up last night around 9 p.m. and finished it by 5 p.m. this afternoon. I do have to give Benny some massive props for taking a three-hour nap today. That certainly helped.

by Steve Martin (yes, the comedian) was a nice breath of fresh air after the dense and not-too-interesting The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. Granted, Shopgirl is only 130 pages, so I can't really compare the two books in any way.

The book is set in early 2000 L.A. It focuses on Mirabelle, a 20-something artist who supports herself by working at the glove counter at Neiman's. By all accounts - her's included - she is not an interesting girl. She struggles with depression and immaturity. But she is beautiful and catches the eye of two men: Jeremy and Ray. Jeremy is a loser and Ray is a successful older man. She falls in love with Ray, but he is not looking for love. This is a story about Mirabelle maturing and plodding through a difficult time in her life. And I think Martin captures the frustrations of depression very well.

This novella is organized into short chapters that highlight the highlights of Mirabelle's life. It moves quickly. I won't divulge much of the plot because I would highly recommend reading this book. It's quick and entertaining. Shopgirl is also a movie (starring Steve Martin as Ray). I also remember thoroughly enjoying the movie.