Category Archives: Best Thing Ever

Nine Years Ago Today …

… I went and got hitched to a man who not only took my last name but also does all the laundry and gets up in the middle of the night with the kids. I totally win. Here’s a wee retrospective of the day (note: I’ve been married so long these are scans of actual film photos. If you can imagine.)

It was a beautiful afternoon in June

Look at how cute my attendants were!

That's the smile of a woman who knows she's caught a keeper.

The Happy Couple, post-vows

Memorial Weekend Recipe Blogging

Soooo … it’s Memorial Day Weekend, and nothing says appreciation for the military like a damn good chocolate chip cookie recipe, amirite? That and plus also, I don’t have any other burning issue to blog about. Anyhoodle, I know everyone and their granny has a chocolate chip cookie recipe, but please trust me when I tell you, you need to try this one. I have had numerous people bite into one of these cookies, pause, look me in the eyes and go, “Wow. That is a GOOD cookie.” The keys to making these are the dash of cinnamon – you want just enough to bring out the flavor of the cookie, not enough to really taste – and the baking time. To achieve the perfect blend of crispy edges and soft chewy center, you have to watch them like a hawk and take them out of the oven as soon as you see brown around the edges. This started out as a Betty Crocker recipe, from a 1970s era cookbook, but has been tweaked over the years by my mom and by me until it has reached cookie perfection. It also makes more cookies than most chocolate chip cookie recipes, which is good, because these go pretty damn fast.

Dammit These Are Good Chocolate Chip Cookies

2//3 cup shortening
2/3 cup butter, softened (salted butter makes it better)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar (packed)
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. soda
1 tsp. salt
dash cinnamon
12 oz. semisweet chocolate pieces.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Cream shortening, butter, and sugars together until fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Mix in dry ingredients. Slowly stir in chocolate chips.

Use a medium cookie scoop, or drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes or until the edges of the cookie are light brown. DO NOT OVERBAKE. The tops should still be very pale – only the bottoms should be brown. You’ll think they’re not done yet, but trust me. They’re perfect. Cool slightly before removing from baking sheet. Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

If you make these, let me know how they turn out!

Percussive Guitar: Yes, Please

One of the cool things about teaching at a contemporary music school is that your students introduce you to a lot of awesome new (to you) artists. Last semester one of my students gave a percussive guitar performance for his final project and I was really blown away by both the sound and the style. He recommended a couple of artists as masters of the style, and boy, are they ever. I would love to be able to play like this. But instead I have kids. Anyway, check them out if you haven’t heard them before, and enjoy the gooditude.

File this under “Things That are Awesome”

Picked up the Hatchling from her second day of preschool this morning (verdict: still loving it), and as soon as the Sprout saw her big sister, her face totally lit up with a HUGE grin. Then they spend virtually the entire ride home just looking at each other and laughing, while the Hatchling kept saying, “I so glad to know you’re here!”

Hoo. That’s the good stuff. Now here are some cute pictures:

The First Day of School
First Day of School

She just at a lot of cookie dough. Sugar high?

I find that having two small girls on the counter is a real aid to cookie-baking
Ellie gets to lick the spatula

Here’s a little video of the Sprout in her bouncing contraption. MAN, I wish they made these for adults.

Awesome and Not Awesome

Having your mother, who is basically Martha Stewart, come for a visit and cook and clean like a true maniac. She cleaned my room, y’all. She is the ONLY person other than myself whom I would allow to even witness my room in its usual state of chaotic decrepitude, and not only did she witness it, in three hours she cleaned that sucker from top to bottom. I can only assume that she’ll dine out on the horror of it for weeks to come, but so far she’s been very pleasant about it to my face. We have also been eating like royalty, including fried chicken with hawaiian rice, pork chops with garlic mashed potatoes, roasted sweet potatoes, and fresh green beans, and tonight’s meal of sauerbraten with poppyseed noodles and red cabbage. That’s not even including the chocolate chip cookies, pound cake with chocolate cream cheese frosting, and banana bread. Mr. Squab thinks he died and went to heaven. She also does all the dishes, and has been helping me sort through all the Hatchling’s baby clothes and clean out the Hatchling’s room – oh, and then today she went out and bought the Hatchling a new twin bed because she has already outgrown the toddler bed we just set up for her about a month ago. (No, really: as in breaking the slats that hold up the mattress. She’s the size of a four year old.) We also went out today and got supplies for her to knit the Hatchling a purple and green cardigan with dragonfly buttons. A clean house, good food, new clothes and furniture: these are the building blocks of a peaceful Squabby mind. We will be very sad to see her go, and she’ll probably collapse from exhaustion the minute she steps onto the plane.

Not Awesome:
Having a reaction to the flu shot I got on Thursday that makes me feel … well … kind of like I’m getting the flu. So I’m spacey and really tired and not much good for anything. I woke up this morning at five o’clock with what I thought was an allergy attack, but it didn’t go away and I’ve felt increasingly blech as the day progressed. (And if you ever need evidence that I am not a morning person, just try talking to me when I’ve been forced out of bed at 5 AM by nasal difficulties. It’s not pretty, y’all. Not pretty at all.) It had BETTER be a reaction to the shot and not some actual disease coming on, because I’m supposed to fly out to see my sister and her new baby this coming weekend, and I refuse to be waylaid. Take that, contagion.

iPhones are squabby

Even more confirmation that I, as a squab, should be an iPhone owner: this NYT article reviewing some of the many new apps available for iPhones as of this Friday, includes the following one:

Urbanspoon, [which] is “a cross between a magic eight ball and a slot machine:” you shake the phone, and it randomly displays the name of a good restaurant nearby, using the iPhone’s G.P.S. and motion sensor.

OMGponiesnrainbowz!!!1!! That, my friends, is a squabby app. Which I will be using frequently, even if I can’t go out to dinner very often.

In case you’re interested, I’d nominate the Razr for squinny mobile phone, and the Blackberry for squotund. But I’m open to correction/suggestion.

Toddlers of Mass Destruction

This last Thursday, we had dinner with the Hatchling’s BFF Fiona and her lovely mama. We gorged ourselves on pasta from Fat Lorenzo’s, and by the end of the meal the girls’ shirts were so completely besmirched with alfredo sauce, there was nothing for it but to remove them entirely. And all I have to say about that is this:

If there’s anything cuter than two pot-bellied little girls running topless around my living room and tickling one another, someone should alert Homeland Security, BECAUSE IT WOULD BE LETHAL.

Dinner with Fiona: the aftermath


Too good not to share

We think the Hatchling may, finally, be hitting her verbal stage. For the longest time she’s had the same few words (kitty, hi, no, dada, ok, yeah) and relied on her (surprisingly effective) baby babble for everthing else. But then on Sunday she spontaneously came out with two very clear new words, each with an attendant gesture. The first one is “Bye” which she says while waving. Only she says it more like “BY-eeee,” all long and drawn out and hilarious. All Sunday morning she was telling us “bye” and walking out of the room, only to come back in with a grin and do it all over again.

The second word she added to her vocab was “tickle,” which she does, not surprisingly, while tickling you. She started this out of the blue while we were out with her best friend Fi, and at first we thought it was just an anomaly, but no – first she tickled Fi and then she tickled the rest of us. She goes “ticka-ticka-ticka” while she scrunches her fingers on you and looks mischievous. It’s pretty awesome, I tell you what.

So anyway, on Sunday night, Mr. Squab is putting the Hatchling to bed, as per usual, and over the monitor I hear the usual sounds, followed by a second of baby-wailing, followed by a good two minutes of mega-giggles. The giggles subsided and Mr. Squab came downstairs. “Man,” he said, “I just had a total Daddy meltdown up there.”

“What happened?” I asked.

Turns out, after Mr. Squab had finished rocking the Hatchling and was going to put her in her crib, she started pitching a fit, and locked her arms around his neck like her crib was a bed of red hot coals or something. This is unusual, so Mr. Squab pulled her back out and asked her if she wanted to rock some more. She said yeah and he sat back down with her, her arms still around his neck and her head nestled in in his shoulder. For a few moments they just rocked in silence, enjoying the snuggle time. Then Mr. Squab felt the Hatchling’s hand move up towards his neck. “Ticka-ticka-ticka,” she whispered, and then giggled. Mr. Squab happens to actually be ticklish on his neck, so he started giggling, too, which of course made her “ticka” him some more. After a minute or two, Mr. Squab asked the Hatchling if she was ready to go to bed now. “OK,” she said, so he laid her in her crib and she went down without a peep.

“Wow. That’s the good stuff,” I told him.

“Yeah,” he said. “It doesn’t get any better than that.”

Happiness Is …

Finishing up what you thought was the final novel in your new favorite series, only to receive the next book, which you forgot you ordered a few weeks ago, in the mail, that very same day.

Sometimes early onset senility results in nice surprises.

The Little Things

Today I had the luxury of dropping off the Hatchling at a friend’s house for the afternoon. (Doubly appreciated because Mr. Squab has been out of town since the ass-crack of dawn Monday morning, so the Hatchling and I needed a little time apart, you know?) This meant that I could:

– Go to Target and pick up prescriptions that had been waiting there a week;

– Take the time to actually choose some hair color, rather than quickly snatching up the first one that looks like it might be OK;

– Exchange some shoes and pants that were too small for the Hatchling;

– Treat myself to a sandwich and coffee at a cafe, and eat the whole thing SLOWLY and WITHOUT SHARING;

– Pick up the house in preparation for Mr. Squab’s return.

Please note, I was able to do this all in the space of a few hours. Had there been no childcare involved, each of the first three items would have taken a separate trip (or, if combined, been the hellish trip from hell with the hellchild); the fourth item would have been impossible; and the fifth item would have been done imperfectly and hastily during one of the Hatchling’s naps.

So, to recap: I’ve apparently reached a point in my life where merely having a few hours to myself ranks right up there with sex, wine, and chocolate as one of the greatest things ever. I might think that was sad if I weren’t so stoked to have gotten all those things done.