Saturday, April 17, 2010

Big-Ass Spider

I have been pretty good lately about cooking more. And for the most part, I cook healthy meals, with fresh, whole ingredients.

Tonight's dinner was Vietnamese-style beef and noodle broth. It's kind of like pho, traditional Vietnamese soup. I thought it tasted pretty good, but the S.O. thought it needed some tweaking. I think I can accommodate him and keep it fairly healthy.

But the real reason for this post isn't to share the recipe, it's to tell you about what I found in the basil. Because I don't have any kind of green-thumb whatsoever, I buy fresh herbs in these flat plastic packages. They're pretty convenient, and I don't usually waste too much that way. Tonight, I opened the package to pull out some basil for the soup and found a big-ass black spider.

I'm not usually terribly squeamish about spiders, but this one was sitting in my basil. And I freaked a bit. And by a bit, I mean I pretty much lost it, slamming the package closed and calling the S.O. to deal with it. (He washed it down the sink.)

I put the basil in a colander to rinse it and assure myself that Charlotte didn't leave any babies behind. I was thisclose to just throwing the entire package into the garbage -- the outdoor garbage. But I know that would have been really wasteful.

Still, I have to admit my skin is kind of still crawling.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Big Fraidy Cat

Yesterday's weather produced nothing more than a small cloud burst and lots of rumbling. Ripley doesn't like thunder.As you can probably tell.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Hi ya, Big Boy

Yesterday, I went to my friend's house so she could cut my hair and make it look like a color that actually exists in nature (yes, they call in "Natural Instincts" but it doesn't look all that natural when you put it over pre-existing dyed blond hair, but that's probably a story for another entry). She recently had a baby boy, and this is the first time I got to see him -- other than a picture on Facebook, in which he looked oddly spray tanned. (He's not.)

During the course of the afternoon, I got to hold the boy a few times. He's quite cute and seems so tiny. I held him and walked around with him for a bit while my friend made us some lunch. During that time, he decided it would be a really good idea to pee and let some leak out the diaper -- just a couple of drops, but still it's pee. I have to wonder if I should be flattered.

It turns out that having a kid is kind of a big job. And my friend, who recently turned 40, isn't so sure she wants to try for a second one. I don't judge -- OK, yeah, I'm Judgey McJudgerson, but I don't judge my friends in regards to their parenting choices and styles -- but she did seem to be pretty darn tired and was obviously feeling like she was nothing more than a dairy for this little man.

Don't get me wrong, she's deliriously happy with this baby. She was just exhausted and realizing (as I'm sure all new parents do, no matter how prepared) that having a kid is way more work than they thought.

I have accepted the fact that the universe doesn't want me to have a baby. But there is a part of me that thinks the universe has a grand scheme to lull me into a false sense of security, then years from now, when I'm contentedly settled into my mid-40s -- BAM! -- pregnant. Is it wrong that I think the universe is trying to pull a long con on me?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Another Big Brother

A couple days ago, I told you about the oldest of my three older brothers. Now, let me tell you a little about the youngest of my three older brothers.

My niece and brother, high above the zoo.

We're separated in age by almost four years but were close enough in age growing up to have gone to elementary school together for a bit, walking to school together. And close enough to actually play together some. He might not remember -- or might not like to admit -- that he helped me set up a doll house at the top of the stairwell so my "Sunshine Family" could live next to a waterfall.

Me and Mike at our aunt's wedding. I didn't get to be a flower girl, thus the pout.

We were also close enough in age to have fights and arguments, but I must be getting old because I don't remember them ever being that bad. (Not like some of the other fights in our house that involved hammers and broomsticks. But I digress.)

Mike was always the handy one. He built end tables and lamps and other wooden items that are still in use today -- and that didn't look like they were built by a "kid." I wouldn't have admitted then how much I admired his skill.

Today, I admire him for his incredible parenting skills. He has raised my niece and nephew on his own and done a damn fine job, too. They're both smart and well-adjusted kids and somehow tolerate their aunt and her silliness. Their visit last year was the highlight of the summer -- strike that -- it was the highlight of the year.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Big Red Nose

Allergies suck.

Apparently, the entire country is experiencing record high pollen counts. I guess I'm selfish because I don't really care about the rest of the country. I just care about my raw nose.

For me the worst part is that I never even had allergies until I was in my late 20s. Now I never know what might trigger them. Dust? Definitely. Animals? Some. A dog with any amount of Lab in its blood will set me off like nothing else. Even my own dog (who is certainly Lab free) will sometimes cause me to break out on my arms.

I never really thought pollen was my problem. And around these parts, it might not be pollen. With the high winds, it might just be dirt and dust blowing around. All I know -- and I don't need a doctor or some other expert to tell me this -- is allergies suck.

Big time.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Big Movie Night

Over the weekend, the S.O. and I watched two movies out on DVD right now. We don't go to the theater very much any more, mostly because I'm a curmudgeon who doesn't like crowds or talking during movies or crying babies or sticky floors. And I like to make my own popcorn and watch movies in my jammies.

We'd heard a lot of good things about both the movies we watched (on DVD because we're not that high-tech yet) . They weren't super hyped up, which can be the downfall of a movie. But they got good press and even received some awards. And they both definitely lived up to my high expectations of them.

The first one was "The Blind Side." Sandra Bullock won an Oscar for her role -- in case you missed that with all the news of her cheating husband -- and she, along with the rest of the cast really do turn in great performances.

It's heartwarming without being cloying, and kind of restores my faith in humans. And don't worry if you're not a huge football fan. Football plays second fiddle to the real story here.

The second movie we watched was "Fantastic Mr. Fox." I loved this movie for its unabashed playfulness.

Where "The Blind Side" was uplifting for it's rags-to-riches story and help-your-fellow-man message, "Fantastic Mr. Fox" is funny, laugh-out-loud, release-your-inner-child pure fun. George Clooney voices Mr. Fox, bringing all his old Hollywood type of charm to the character. Meryl Streep voices his wife, and Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Michael Gambon (Dumbledore!), Willem Dafoe and other lend their talent.

Based on the book by Roald Dahl, "Fantastic Mr. Fox" is fantastic, with talking wild animals (should I be bothered that all the mammals can talk, but the fowls are food?) who get themselves into crazy situations that are only partly due to their being wild animals.

These two movies, while wildly different, made a great double feature. Add in some homemade popcorn and the dog curled up on my lap and you really shouldn't wonder why I prefer my movie nights at home.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Big Brother

No, not the giant talking face from "1984," but my actual big brother -- the oldest of the three. We keep in touch through (extremely) sporadic phone calls, but mostly through Facebook. We exchange comments and chat sometimes. I often think Facebook is evil, but in this case it's been great.
Jim and me and our dog, Herkimer.

We're separated in age by nearly seven years, so we didn't always do kid things together, but I can remember him taking me to see "The Rescuers" at the movie theater. And he was the epitome of what a big brother should be to a baby sister. He was protective. He looked out for me. And while he sometimes teased me (and still does!), it was always good-natured teasing and he was never ever mean to me.

With him living in Michigan and me in Colorado, we don't see each other often enough, but I know he's always there for me. He's the first person I wanted to talk to after Mom died.

He's been feeling a bit under the weather lately, so I've been thinking about him a lot and hoping my happy thoughts reach him and make him feel a tiny bit -- or a whole helluva lot -- better.