March 24, 2008


T & A (TNA) spent last week in beautiful Mexico.  The $5 charge at our resort for 15 minutes on the Internet didn't allow us to blog on-site, but now we're back!  Stay tuned... 

March 14, 2008

Our little angel

Ted loves him some cereal. The man can't get enough. I honestly don't think he would have any issues about eating it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner except that someone somewhere told him he's supposed to eat vegetables every once in a while, too.

I love cereal as well, but the only time I get to eat it is on Saturday and MAYBE Sunday (if we're not running late (which is usually every week)). I leave the house at 6:30 for work now, so breakfast is a piece of fruit or bread on my way out the door. Or, peanut M&Ms, of course, which can always be found somewhere in my car, desk, or on my person.

But I digress.

Did you ever wonder what your future children would get from you? Did or do the queries continue as you searched or search for a spouse? Whose traits will they inherit, good and bad? This is one of our favorite games. (For the record, if it's a boy, we definitely want him to have Ted's boobs.) I have a feeling that with Ted's much love for the crunchety goodness that can only be made better with some nice cold milk, and my, um, couth, this is what we might end up with.

Another bowl, anyone?

March 11, 2008

Bipolar Ballads

We've all heard that sappy 1982 Chicago hit "Hard to Say I'm Sorry/Get Away."  This adult contemporary gem starts off as a fairly melancholy love song and then at the four minute mark it segues into this strikingly more upbeat pseudo-rock anthem.  This song got me thinking, is there an entire micro-genre of music out there awaiting my discovery?  Let's call them bipolar ballads--tunes with drastic changes in tempo.  I was now on the prowl, what other schizophrenic ditties could I dig up?

I kept my ear to the ground, and I was serenaded by none else than rhythm and blues singer/songwriter Lionel Richie crooning 1985's "Say You Say Me."  If you can't help but picture Mikhail Baryshnikov strutting his stuff in a unitard when you hear this you aren't alone, it was featured on the soundtrack of one of my favorite Cold War era films "White Nights" (by the way, my favorite is "Red Dawn").  "Say You Say Me" takes an interesting spin on the bipolar ballad.  Namely, slow power ballad, jarringly interrupted by 15 seconds of pop confection, with a somewhat smoother transition back to said power ballad.

Now two songs do not constitute a micro-genre.  There had to be more!  Um, there are.  Allison and I finally wedded our musical collections about six months after we wedded ourselves to one another.  I love listening to my music on shuffle, so songs from the Allison music vaults come up with regularity.  On one of these occasions "Dancin'" from the infamous 80s film flop Xanadu started to pipe through my speakers.  Now this is a bipolar ballad in need of some serious psychotropics.  It's big band and then it's 80's rock and then it's big band and then it's 80's rock and then you're on the couch in need of a cold compress.  Fittingly, with the opening of Xanadu on Broadway, the soundtrack to this Olivia Newton-John career-killer is currently reregistering (at least minimally) on the national consciousness. 

Whenever I make a list I always feel good once it has three members, but there are a couple other songs I'd like to quickly deem BBs (bipolar ballads).  One that's more firmly enveloped within my musical tastes is Radiohead's "Paranoid Android."  Thom Yorke, lead singer of the band even admitted that it, "really started out as three separate songs and [they] didn't know what to do with them."  Allison has a contribution too, Led Zeppelin's "Fool in the Rain."  I want to hear more though.  So if you know a BB please let me know--they must not be forgotten! 

March 7, 2008

Not Hammer time - yet

I don't usually remember dreams after I wake up, but I had a dream last night that kept me from sleeping soundly, and is therefore blogworthy.

Our bedroom faces our driveway, and we usually have the curtains closed. In my dream, they were open, and Ted and I were talking when 5 rough-looking people started creeping down the slope of the hill. I had them in full view and was a little freaked out by their appearance, and was even more freaked out when they just slowly turned the doorknob to our front door and walked right in.

Now, you know when you watch scary movies and some strange sound is heard which makes the main character want to "check it out"? I know that "checking it out" moves the plot forward, but I can't help but think that character is very stupid for leaving the safety of a locked room uninhabited by strange bumps and sharp objects to go face the freakiness that must be awaiting him/her.

I was that stupid person in my dream.

There they were, creeping through our hallway and into our kitchen and dining room. In a low voice, I demanded they tell me who they were and what they wanted. One of them got angry at this question and produced a rusty, heavy hammer from behind his back. He walked toward me with much stealth, each step exponentially decreasing my confidence level. Ted joined me at that point, but stood behind me instead of in front of me. Thanks, baby.

I told them I didn't know why they were here, but that there was no reason we couldn't figure something out. That's when Hammer Guy got really freaky and started banging dents into our beautiful dining room table that we got from Easy Life Furniture* - where "the only way to get it cheaper is if you import it yourself, but you don't know how" - and basically making me very upset.

THAT'S when I remembered the crapload of cookies I made last Sunday (which was both in my dream and for real). I had been craving the amazing chocolate chip cookies that Dana has brought to a few functions, so I finally busted them out Sunday afternoon, much to the pleasure of Ted and me. This recipe really does make a crapload, though, so I had to freeze half. It was this bag of frozen cookies that I took out of the freezer and assuaged our dining room table attackers with. I had to talk to each one, but I offered the cookies, and as they chewed and smiled, the anger passed and they left, with no further scathing.

That's where my dream ended, but I'm telling you - if you ever find yourself in this situation, you better hope to high heaven you have some of those cookies in your freezer, or you will be headed straight to the ER. That is... if they let you live.. MWAH-HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

Cookies That Prevent You From Getting Hit in the Head with a Hammer

1 Cup Shortening
1 Cup Butter
1 ½ Cup White Sugar
1 ½ Cup Brown Sugar

3 eggs
2 tsp Vanilla

5 ½ Cups Flour
1 ½ tsp Baking Soda
1 ½ Salt

1-2 bags Semi-Sweet Choc Chips

- In a mixer (or with hand mixer) cream together the shortening, butter, and both sugars.

- Add the eggs and vanilla and beat for THREE minutes (beating for a full 3 minutes is very important. You’ll see the consistency of the batter change as you beat the eggs with the butter mixture).

- In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt.

- Mix half the flour mixture into the butter/egg mixture. When it’s incorporated, mix in the other half of the flour. Add the chocolate chips (I like to use 2 small bags of chips. Sometimes I use 1 bag milk chips and 1 bag semi-sweet chips)

- Using 2 spoons, drop spoonfuls of dough onto cookie sheet, or use a mini cookie-scooper.
- Bake at 350 degrees appx 7 minutes. The key is to leave them a little doughy. You’ll know they’re done when they are just slightly golden on top. If you wait till the bottoms are golden, you’ve cooked too long.

Makes 5-6 dozen cookies**

Thanks for letting me live, Dana!

* - This is truly the jingle on the radio commercial for Easy Life Furniture. When Ted first told me, I didn't believe him, and would wait for the commercials just so I could hear it. He was totally right, and now it's our favorite jingle to sing. Some of you have been blessed to hear it from our lips. Others of you can only hope.

** - This is a lie. If you use a small cookie scoop, it makes about 8 dozen. Not that I'm complaining. See previous post.

March 4, 2008

A Balanced Diet

My verbosity does not even approach the furthest outskirts of my wife's, so don't expect many Allison-style, multi-paragraph narratives from me. I love Allison, and one reason I love her is that Allison = Different. For Allison's birthday, as she described in the previous post, she and her bosom buddy Megarino threw themselves a shindig (or was it a hoohaw?). At said shindig the guests were not-so-gently prodded to present some sort of talent. Now I have talents, but most of them are not of the performance variety so I had to stretch the definition of the word talent. Allison says one of my talents is being a brat, so I thought, "Ha! I'll be a brat for my talent and roast the love of my life at her birthday party!" It was probably better live, which isn't saying much, but here is the online version of the roast. The original was in PowerPoint format, which being a graduate student, is another one of my "talents".

Now remember, different does NOT mean bad! In the case of Allison, it means good, fun, lovable, unexpected, bright, shiny, smart, beautiful, etc. As an example I thought I'd illustrate how Allison's view of the food pyramid differs from the traditional view of the food pyramid.
Now Allison has her own take on the food pyramid. The base is a solid foundation of M&Ms. To be honest it's actually peanut M&Ms, but under duress she will dabble in other varieties.A casual tour of our apartment reveals how deep her love affair with the M&M goes.Here's a commemorative M&Ms shopping bag on the floor of her closet.Let's see, we've got lightbulbs, a bike lock, a garden hose nozzle and oh yeah a couple bags of peanut M&Ms. Of course! That's a very logical place for the M&Ms! Candy bowl in front entry....check.
Peanut M&Ms in candy bowl....check.
"Uh oh, we're almost out! Get another bag--I think there are some in the garage next to the lawnmower."Phew, in case you finished those M&Ms you snacked on when you first came in the house there's another bowl of them on the dining room table (20 feet away). Mmmm, this time it's the dark chocolate plain M&Ms.On our way back from a Utah Thanksgiving we stopped in Las Vegas to see "Mamma Mia". We were stretching our little legs after a long day's drive when Allison noticed someone carrying a shopping bag emblazoned with the M&Ms logo. It's almost as if the earth stopped rotating, Allison made a bee line to the unsuspecting purchaser of M&M's paraphernalia and blurted, "where did you get that?" Surprisingly unshaken, the man gave us directions to M&M's World, a few blocks down The Strip. Now we had an hour or so before the show so Allison made an executive decision and we were off--off to see the wonderful wizard of M&M. I've rarely seen Allison move faster, we were like the crowded masses rushing into some New Jersey Wal*Mart at 5 am on the day after Thanksgiving. I think the highlight for Allison was being able to, (is that the right word?) a bigger-than-life model of Yellow, the peanut M&M.
The next layer of Allison's food pyramid, and only mildly secondary in importance, is chocolate. Yes, yes I know...M&Ms consist of chocolate, but Allison's devotion to them truly transcends merely lumping them in with the entire pantheon of chocolate. So keep your quibbles to yourselves--in Allison's food pyramid, M&Ms and chocolate are two discrete layers.

As indisputable evidence of Allison's love affair with all things derived from the cacao bean, I took a snapshot of her recipe books. Let's browse the titles:

1000 Chocolate, Baking and Dessert Recipes
The Art of Chocolate
The Essence of Chocolate
Chocolate Cakes
A Passion for Chocolate


The Ghirardelli Chocolate Cookbook

Just in case we couldn't find the right recipe in "1000 Chocolate, Baking and Dessert Recipes", heck! there are only 1000 of them, it's good to know we have 5 other cookbooks dedicated to the subject. I must make a confession, however, one of the books was a Christmas gift from me, but hey, a man's got to know his woman.

Next on the pyramid, and again only slightly less important is Trader Joe's. You know, that unique grocery store that has a unique place in Allison's heart. Once while we were dating I made the 'mistake' of asking Allison what her favorite Trader Joe's item is. 3 hours later the conversation topic was still going strong.

We've got more TJ's bags in our house than the TJ's on Lake Avenue.

Guess which Rose Parade float Allison was more than game to pose in front of?

Oh yeah, and then there's that tippy-toppy-tiny little part of the pyramid. I can barely read the fine print but I think it says something about bread, cereal, rice, pasta, vegetables, fruits, milk, yogurt, cheese, meat, poultry, fish, beans and nuts.

I love you Allison! Happy Birthday (again)!

The Cooling Rack

Baked goods are only half the story...