Thursday, December 30, 2010

Making Good

My little fisherman and I made good on our 3/50 project today, we visited Free Range Fish & Lobster where I couldn't help but notice that the haddock was pricier than the lobster. Only in Maine! We bought not-so-free-range farm salmon, a product of an industry that I'm told is scheduled to blow up the planet, but I can only coddle one righteous cause at a time. We spent just half of the $16.67 requirement, yet I feel justified since earlier this month we spent a tunzl at Simply Scandinavian Foods on a Princess Torte and other squeezable fish European tube products. That's 2/3 of the 3/50 pledge, but I'm sure I spent enough at the Clipper Mart to make up the difference...for the new year I make it a goal to be more mindful of where I spend our tiny billettes of finance--Enough with The Man sticking it to the little guy, harumph.

My Little Fisherman Guy

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Three Fitty, Pleez

On the evening that my former corporate employer mailed me an end-of-year "fundraiser" letter stating that I was overpaid by $742 and that I needed to mail it back to them (I don't, it's been established that they were wrong and that they should go to hell) I come across this sad depressing article on the state of once-local products, and instantly I've become recommitted to "buying local," something I wish I'd done more of this holiday season (as it turns out, the internet isn't as local as I thought it was.) So here's the 3/50 Project--$50/month at 3 local businesses, that's ***digging out calculator*** $16.666666666666666667 per business per month. Heck, that's...I don't know, I'm bad at math, but still. While it was brief, considering the panic I went through wondering where and how I might come up with this $742 and the ensuing battle I took on with the payroll department when the CEO down the street makes plenty to cover their goliathan error, I know I need to start rethinking things...even when my former corporate employer is local (just nevermind that part.)

Three Slash Fifty! Support Your Local Bands! Three Slash Fifty!

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Nook Hook

Because 1000sf living doesn't always mean you have room for a dining table (other than the coffee table) Hubby got me this for Christmas:

I'm so excited! It's not yet finished or polyurethaned or installed, but once it is I think it will be like adding a whole new room, I can't wait to eat meals and play Jenga and do homework here, I love it! I got extra spoi-yuled this year with a full stocking (last year it was empty, oops), a watch, earrings, my first very own iPod, a can of mace, dining cards, Stars on Ice tickets, the gifts just kept on coming, it was amazing!

Jimmy's Christmas morning trainset earned multiple "Wow!"s before anyone else was even awake.

I find that he always finds double-duty out of the gifts his grandfather makes for him. Last year he discovered that his new stepstool doubles as a mini dinette:

This year his custom wheelbarrow is also useful as a seat for watching movies, or just plain hangin' out.

And my Festivus party went off so well that we're thinking of spending next Christmas at Disney.

r Wilderness Lodge, Lake Buena Vista, United States

For the restivus!

Friday, December 24, 2010


The past few days have been festive around the house. I made hubby's mother's prized banana bread,

...and received a fun Tower of Gifts from my aunt,

I know with items such as this,

...and this,

...she's looking to get on my hubby's good side. I myself figure when pears come packaged like this,

...that you have to do something special with them, I'm looking into into poached flambé recipes. Biscuits on biscuits flambé. Can't wait!

Jimmy quite by accident discovered that wrapping paper doesn't stop the singing, motorized tire noises, and flashing headlights of one of the presents under the tree---the box acts just the same way the battery operated vehicles he plays with in the toy aisles.

"Shake shake shake, shake shake shake, shake your booty," reeep reeep reeep, uuuuhhhhrrr, screeeeeeech, slam! "Shake shake shake, shake shake shake...." aka WHY did Santa authorize this?

To be honest, Jimmy is a little traumatized by Santa. He certainly likes the idea of presents, but he's not so hot on some big omnipresent man coming here to deliver them. This will *not* stop him from accepting the gifts, but still...not into it. Even so, we put out milk and cookies,

I hope Santa likes almond milk.

...but Jimmy remained ever more interested in the Youtube trains.

There was no problem with Santa and the dairy-free milk.

Many more hours of work to go, Merry Christmas Eve, all!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Ho Ho Ho

It was Pajama Day at school today, and Jimmy actually sat with Santa there.

Look how happy he is! And how high his pants are!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Puppy Love

Jimmy and I attended a Yankee Swap for ornaments today, when it was our turn Jimmy turned down opening a new one and opted to steal this one from my stepmother.

He may be saying that he wants a dog, I'm not sure, but this will be the only Golden hanging around our tiny house, that is for sure. Hee! All in all we had a nice time in a beautiful house, I love old Portland neighborhoods!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Lately, I just feel like I want to live in this...

Atelier Van Lieshout's Vostok Cabin is a kind of blobby, rusty survivalist dwelling made from steel plates salvaged from old boats: "The changing climate, growing poverty, wars and more are only expanding. This movable nomadic dwelling unit provides shelter from this disconcerting situation."

Vostok Cabin by Atelier Van Lieshout

Thursday, December 16, 2010

"Everybody shut up and look...

...forward," Wally dispatched to Jimmy, my nephew Alex, and me as I was crumpled up like a day-old newspaper ball that you'd use to rouse a woodfire, I was folded this way because Alex was in the passenger seat and Jimmy's carseat is on the center hump of the backseat of a VW Cabrio and a 2-door convertible is not designed to be a family car, or any multiple-personmover car. I had to crane my neck to see forward, and once I did I saw a Wienermobile. There are only 7 in existence so I can understand interrupting a post-Cracker Barrel conversation to point it out, why it may've been the first time I've seen one, I'm not sure. I do know it was the first time we visited our new Cracker Barrel, the place where I got in a mraaaaow mix with the waitress over the semantics of flavorless carbonated beverages (she didn't serve me the club soda I requested she said because the restaurant only carries seltzer water on tap) and it was at the Cracker Barrel where we also first learned that Jimmy might be allergic to whitefish. He had a bite of my haddock sandwich, chewed, spit, and puffed up like cute, red, splotchy, runny Jimmyfish. The "spirit" check remained positive (continued smiles, laughs, cuteness) but jeez, who knew! It makes me wonder what the Market Pantry popcorn shrimp is made out of, it's an allergen-free experience each time he eats those. Fishhhy....

Also, if you missed out on Wally's band's radio Christmas performance this morning, do not worry. You can listen to it here! Merry Krizmass!!!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Blogeria Randomia

Many thanks for the condolences on my MiL's passing, they are much appreciated and hubby is tremendously thankful as well. =]

Weblogus Randomus:

The Shipping News. It used to be that the "Handling" part of "Shipping and Handling" was the only questionable part of mail order products, what is up with this new "Processing and Handling" charge? Really.

The Grumpy Put-Out Guy in the Santa Hat. I was driving down an industrial parkway and there was this grumpy truckdriver guy huffing away from his truck, angry, improperly dressed for the cold, and wearing a santa hat. How does that happen, and why does it happen in moderate regularity, these grouches in the spirited hats?

The North Pole. Jimmy's aunt and uncle treated us to a ride on the Polar Express, what a great opportunity matched by a great time!

The Book of Mormon. I grew up with their commercials and I knew it was them wearing the ties and bikes and traveling in twos, but not until I saw the PBS Special did I realize who The Mormons were, and I find them fascinating. So do the makers of South Park and their Broadway Musical comes out in March...I cannot say I'm not intrigued.

Holiday Spirits. Hubby's band will be playing live Christmas songs on the radio Thursday morning 8am EST, if you're so inclined you can listen live here.

Le Sal-Jolais Nouveau est Arrivé. It's Christmastime which means it's time for Wally's studio landlord to distribute his homemade wine. Its label references the stomping part, wimps need not apply, I can't wait to taste it!

I can't believe there's only 10 days minus 20 hours until Christmas!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Goodbye, Norma T.

Wally's mother died last night in the home of his sister. He had paid her a birthday visit four days prior, he said that she had gone way way downhill from when we visited her in October. Grammy Norma was 66, an excellent gardener and kitchen expert and fiber artist and hard worker, had cancer all over her body but it started as Lymphoma, Wally is thankful that her pain is over.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Magic of Christmas Fund Raisers

Tonight Jimmy's school had a babysitting-sorta fundraiser, for $20 they'd take him from 4:30 to 7:30 and let him play and show him movies and feed him pizza so that Wally and I could take advantage of a Street & Co. gift certificate given to us last Christmas by Jimmy's aunt and uncle.

Jimmy was more than happy to bounce into the school after dark, and I felt like the local yokel bouncing into such a restaurant, we hadn't been out to eat as a couple since before Jimmy was born. And Street & Co. is definitely much nicer than Chuck E. Cheese's, I wasn't even sure how to act. We were earlybirds (oops) so we started with a vino/club soda at the lounge and I felt like we were in a cozy wintry Quebecois bistro rather than at a restaurant in our very own town. There was no camera there, and Wally thanked me for that, but the atmosphere was so amiable and warm I knew it could only go up.

I'd researched the menu earlier this week and I felt it was...sparse...which left me optimistic considering Street & Co.'s reputation and longevity, kinda like when Kramer explained to Jerry that thinner deli meats were better because the taste has nowhere to hide. No salmon on this menu, we tossed around the Lobster Diavolo for Two as an option but both off us ordered off the specials menu, which after 10 years I call "A First." Wally ordered the Fisherman's Stew which had all kinds of seafood and chorizo, and I was extra special and ordered something completely new for me, it was a whole Branzino fish stuffed with olives and on top of fennel. The "stuffed with olives" part is what got me, Wally assured that he'd guide me on how to eat a whole fish (a challengey afterthought after the whole stuffed-with-olives part.)

After ordering we were surprised with "tastes" from the Kitchen, our mutual friend sent us DATES WITH ORANGE, MINT AND LABNEH and ABRIGO WITH FIG CAKE AND MEMBRILL (I copied those from the online menu, apologies for the YELLY CAPS) which were so unexpected and so amazing and so tasty. Thank you, Riley!

Soon after our tastes our meals came in pans, I found myself staring at a whole dead baked fish...and it was delightful. Moments later I did take our server's offer to fillet the fish, and the whole experience seems sort of life-changing. Sure, there were moments of hesitation à la Howard Hughes in The Aviator, but for the most part I felt pretty bold in my attack. How could I not it was delicious. It sorta looked like this:

...without the lemons and with half the stuffing and in a pan of carmmmmmelized fennel. A new dawn for this adult, after eating this I feel like I could climb Mt. Everest. But with all mortality aside, the olives perfectly complemented the light mild whitefish, it leaves me with no wonder why this restaurant thrives year after year. And Jimmy had an excellent evening at the school, a complete holiday success, thanks Mark and M!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Festival of Mirror-Based Coruscation

Tonight Matisyahu, the Hasidic reggae guy who sings this song, shares his annual Festival of Light celebration with Portland, a holiday show that I'm told had previously been reserved for NYC audiences. In the past few weeks I heard little bits and pieces about the four-foot dreidel he uses for this set, then today I learned that it is a four-foot disco ball dreidel which left me wondering what it must look like. ?. I could have just looked at various places on the internet but I just hadn't gotten around to it. Consequently without any effort at all I was able to see what it looks like at our very own State Theatre.

I love it! Ziggy-yiggy-yo viggy-yiggy-yo!

Photos courtesy of the State Theatre.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Blaze Praise

I wouldn't normally put a candle on the tree, but I'm in love with Jimmy's craft project of the day, it sure puts the pretty in "toilet paper tube."

He's been under the weather for a week, but thank hoozit I think my muffin is finally starting to emerge from the exhausting wrath of Dr. NO!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Messy Diet of the All Too Quiet

You know something's up when you've been able to write a 20 minute email uninterrupted. This happened today, things were too quiet so I got up to investigate, and found Jimmy sitting in this:

Apolo-cheese for the fuzzy image, but this is sorta how Jimmy was looking covered in Parmesan.

I was just happy his paws weren't in the evertempting bear bottle of honey.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Christmas with the Alpacas

Earlier this week I was at RSVP on Forest Avenue and my eyes caught a flyer for Christmas with Alpacas at Estabrook's, a greenhouse 3 towns up. I was reminded of an Alpaca Fair I attended several years back at the Portland Expo, there I met a lot of cool people and it was fun.

When I picked Jimmy up at school on Friday I couldn't help but notice that his hands were freezing. It was time for mittens, you bad mommy!

Jimmy's been cranky all week. This morning I thought of the Alpaca Show and how he might enjoy a pair of soft fiber mittens. Fully expecting a screechy, high-toned "NO!!!!" I was caught by surprise with an enthusiastic nod when I suggested Christmas with Alpacas. We were on our way.

Estabrook's must have done some heavy advertising, there were parking issues and guys directing traffic. It was a lot of fanfare for, just a handful of alpacas. Oh well.

Inside one of the greenhouses was a craft fair, hurrah! Alpaca mittens, here we come.

The items were beautiful, and always pricey. I was reduced to peering distantly for small mittens, the vendors were very aggressive (but not as aggressive as the roaming Santa outside. No Santa! He does not want to hold your pinky! Back off!!!)

At one end we found a table of free cookies, hot cider, cocoa, and a man scraping a steaming white substance from a chaffing dish into another bucket, griping about how he thought he was going to be ladling chili and oatmeal for guests, and not doing this (whatever that was.) Jimmy chose an M&M cookie.

M&M Alpaca Crackah

At the other end was a really nice craft table for kids, Jimmy sat down at once but it took some cajoling to get him to do the crafts.

I tried a few different seats and stations, but ultimately he was most interested in the cookie.

Alpaca Slackah

Behind us there were women spinning alpaca yarn.

And a baby alpaca pen.

And I never distantly peered a set of children's alpaca mittens, not that I would have been able to afford them. Oh well!

Inside the main building were some great Christmas trees!

And on the way out we caught one last glimpse of the alpacas.

All in all, it was....moderate! Malpaca Christmas!