Sunday, September 26, 2010

What do you know?

After my last post my neighbor emailed. She said she had a piano she didn't want and I could have it.


As the piano sits, waiting for tuning and paint. It gets all kinds of attention.

Enzo pounds on the keys as he chants off-tempo Suzuki rhythms. (I'm really interested to see how he proceeds with his lessons)

Zizza has nearly mastered my entire repertoire. She's hasn't quite got "Heart and Soul" down yet but this evening she perfected "dadalum, dum dum, dadalum, dum dum, dadalum dum dum dum dum" You know, the one you play on the black keys only by rolling your knuckles across the group of three to make the "dadalum" sound? Does that song have a name? Does anyone know what I'm talking about?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Mississippi hot-dog

I've been rather absent here lately. Sorry about that. The thing is though, I can't really promise to be less so for the time being. I've honestly been trying, but my blogging brain has mostly vanished. I will for sure be back on the Blog Wagon come November. NaBloPoMo and I have a score to settle after all.

Today amazingly, (has it really become amazing for me to have something to say?) I have a bit to share.

Last week Zizza started Cello lessons. She's been looking forward to it for months now and the day finally came. There's a little 1/8th size cello to whom she refers as "Little Fred" standing proudly in a safe corner of her bedroom.

Sometimes she'll relieve Little Fred of his case outside regular practicing hours and play on her own. During these times I fret, hover and admire. What if her impromptu solo sessions teach her bad habits? Then again, look how sweet and lovely she is enjoying her instrument.

I reconcile the two sides of my thoughts by standing by and as gently as possible suggesting things like "Scoot to the edge of your chair," "How tall can you sit?" "Are your fingers floppy fish?" "Remember to hug Little Fred with your knees" and so on. Looking over that list makes me think that perhaps I'm not as unobtrusive as I'd like to be, but I'm doing my best.

The pest part of Zizza's freestyle playing is her left arm. After only one lesson, all she'd done with that hand was place it in resting position. Siting idle though surely cannot do for an arm whose mate is engaged in music making, so the left arm flows and dances trough the air as the right steers the bow across the strings. Today, in her second lesson she learned finger placement for her left hand, so I suppose the days of interpretive left arm dancing are numbered.

Another thing happened today as well.

Last week with all the talk of music lessons Enzo let it be know that he would enjoy to play the piano. He talked about it for a few days before Zizza's lesson, he mentioned it on the way there, and he brought it up as we chatted before her lesson began. "But where," I asked, "am I going to find a Suzuki piano teacher?"

Turns out Zizza's teacher teaches Piano as well. Lucky me. Lucky Enzo.

Enz was rather ill during the past week. You can thank my lack of blogging moxie for your being spared post after post about vomit. He was too busy feeling sick to talk about piano lessons. By the time we showed up for the Cello lesson today, I'd almost entirely forgotten about his desire.

We went in, and sat down, Ziz and Little Fred were getting situated when Enz asked me, the teacher's name. I told him and bold as brass he called out to get her attention. When he had it he asked her "Can you teach me Piano?"

He had a snippet of a lesson once Zizza's was through. It included a fair amount of banging, but I'm hopeful.

I'm also in the market for an inexpensive decent sounding key board to fill the gap until I can locate and appropriate used piano on which to execute the Design Mom treatment.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

On my hands

A little tail-less lizard sneaked into my house.

I killed it.

Here's what happened.

Mr was heading to the store. As the front door closed I saw a little something sort of scamper through the gap and run for the dark corner next to the big cardboard box where my solar oven is staying until we find it a permanent home (both accessible and out of the way. Does such a place exist?)
Closer observation taught me that the little something was a light brown lizard with it's tail missing. I opened the door back up and called for reinforcement.

Mr tried to coax the little guy out of hiding and back to the wonderful world of the out doors where crickets are plentiful and awaiting consumption but but no-tail was having none of it. He just scooted himself further and further under the box.

I got this great idea that since he was so fond of that box, maybe I could use it to sho him.

I lifted the edge he was squeezed under and slid the opposite end toward the door. My thought was that lifting the box would destroy the sanctuary he'd attained by squeezing under, then when the box slid, he'd get spooked and run the other way into the velvety arms of the deep black night.

I lifted. I slid. We waited. Nothing happened. No tail-free lizard scrambled forth in terror from what had been his place of refuge. I lifted the box further and discovered the flaw in my plan.

When I lifted, the little fella didn't feel threatened by the opening of his hiding place as I imagined he would. Instead of running from the betraying box, he pushed on wedging even further beneath it. Thus when I slid the box his little lizard head was shmeared against the floor.

I've been telling myself that he wouldn't have lasted out side anyway. There next to my front door, is not much of a hiding place, and without the balance of his tail he was kind of slow and wobbly. Even if he'd stayed out there and lasted the night surely a bird would have got him come morning.

Agree with me will you? That lizard never stood a chance. Had my front door remained closed last night he'd have rejoined his maker by this time just the same.
Also, I hear instantaneous head smashing is a good way to go.

Happy Birthday Baby.

We love you.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Hey, I actually sewed something!

And what's more, I'm posting about it!
One of my friends had a baby. I thought and thought about what to make for them but all of baby projects I've done in the past seemed dreadful. I mean, they're all useful type things that she probably would have been happy to receive, but making them sounded dreadful to me. Finally, just weeks before the baby was born I got an idea that made me smile rather than shudder.
I asked the mama if she had any t-shirts that were sentimental but not wearable. The good news was, she did. It was this BYU shirt with a miscellaneous stain near the hem.

I removed ribbing, snip snipped, re-applied ribbing, assembled, added snap tape and TaDa! Baby jammies.

Baby jammies in the honor of his Mama's alma matter.

I love it when a plan comes together.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Food terror

Summers when I was a kid were easy rolling days with hot pavement and the occasional spray of a garden hose. There was mostly always watermelon on the dinner table and a few lucky evenings of the season would bring Sloppy Joes. I still find that there's not much better than a Sloppy Joe and a slice of watermelon after a day in the sun.

Sloppy Joe days were the good days, the ones that elicit shimmering memories and blankets of nostalgia. On average days, it was more likely to find the table laid with Zucchini Casserole the demon of summer meals.

My mother made the dish by browning up ground beef along with a chopped onion, then she'd throw zucchini slices in there and cook 'em 'till they were good and slimy. Also I think maybe she added some cornstarch and water to form a gravy like sauce?

Over all my mother is a very good cook. I have come to see the merit in the other dishes at which I turned up my childhood nose but not this one. There's not even one redeeming quality there. I had to fight the gag reflex through every bite I was ever made to take of that stuff. If I were at my mother's house today and she served Zucchini Casserole, I'd have to excuse myself from the table rather that attempt politeness in the presence of the beast. Luckily the recipe has been retired from her repertoire so there's no need to worry.

A few years ago I was participating in a produce co-op and found zucchini in my produce basket. What was I to do? Where was I to turn? I tolerate zucchini bread, and there's a zucchini cake recipe floating around out there that's quite delicious but out side of baking the only use for Zucchini I knew of was the dread casserole and do you honestly think there's any way I would ever make that?

I considered just tossing it, but then I felt wasteful and guilty. Once the guilt was triggered, I couldn't even forget about it so It would go bad and I could chuck it in peace. The darn zucchini wouldn't leave my mind. Every time I entered my kitchen I would know it was there. Like the creepy stalker boy in high school who you try your best to ignore but can't quite because you know he's there, watching and if you let your guard down and lose track of him you might turn around and find him there beside you in all his creepy glory hoping for some kind of interaction to take home with him and dream about.

Lucky for me, some random friend of a friend whose blog I happened to be glancing at posted a Zucchini recipe and it didn't sound half bad. Just shred the zukes, squeeze out some excess water, and sautee them in olive oil along with a few cloves of chopped garlic, then toss with pasta and Parmesan. Good and simple, simple and good. Plus, not slimy at all.

I've had a good relationship with zucchini ever since. I even feel comfortable using it's nick name these days. See up there how I called them "Zukes" in the context of the saving recipe? That's the kind of healing power those simple instructions hold for me.

Recently I was perusing facebook and I came across the following post by a girl who grew up around the block from me.

" so i made some zucchinni with potatoes and hamberger and fried it together. it tastes so good with ketchup on top. wow what a great dinner"

Suddenly I found myself gagging as the memory of slimy zucchini eased itself past my protesting esophagus. I had convinced myself that zucchini was no longer being fried up in the company of hamburger and onions (she added via comment that her dish also included onions)

I've looked askance at the zucchini as I pass it by in the produce department during every shopping trip since.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Karma and cabinetry.

Do you know what this is?


When I was at the Grocery store, I knocked a box of crackers off the shelf as I made my selection and instead of taking the fallen box whose crackers were broken by my own hand, I put it back and took another. This other. The one smashed my the patron who visited the graham cracker isle ahead of me.

This week in Kindergarten they studied the letter G and Zizza was chosen to be the letter of the week kid. That meant she did a little letter G shaped collage, took a few items starting that letter (gardening gloves anyone?) to class for a guessing game and had the option of bringing a snack that begins with G to share with the class.

I'm going to go ahead and start planning for a number themed snack to send in the coming weeks.

She and I talked about granola at the beginning of the week but last night when I remembered about the snack I just didn't have it in me to check for ingredients, make a possible trip to the store and then compile the dish. "What else even starts with G?" I whined. "Graham Crackers" said The Mr. And I was like "Hey yeah! I even bought some of those the other day!" and then I went to bed.

This morning my inner competitor (I heart Alice Bradley) woke up and the thought of my child showing up at school and retrieving a packet of crumpled grahams from her back pack to distribute to her waiting classmates was just too much to be borne. At this point I didn't know that karma had crushed my crackers, I just expected crushing to occur during transport. Anyway, I decided to...
dip them in chocolate. I managed to find about twenty six intact cracker sections to dip. Sadly, there wasn't time for the chocolate to set fully so they were a goopy mess. A delicious goopy mess though. And I put each cracker in a cupcake paper while they were cold from the fridge so hopefully the mess didn't happen until after they were distributed.

In other news: I've been looking for a perfectly mid-century hutch and I found it.
Yesterday I drove all the way to Timbuktu to retrieve it.

I really love the recessed drawer pulls. Like, a lot. Enough to drive to Timbuktu.

There are some water rings and such in play here, so I'm going to be refinishing but I don't really have a plan yet. Stain? Paint? I don't know.
I do know I'm going to paper the back of the shelves in a big world map. I also think it could be cool to paint the fronts of the drawers and the little cabinet door and leave the rest unpainted. Either white or pale aqua would be my paint color. I don't think I'm going to do that right off though, it would be down the line somewhere.
If you have opinions I'd like to hear them. As long as you don't plan on my heeding your advice, cos you know, I might not.