Monday, July 30, 2007


OK, I didn't really intend to take a one-month hiatus, but...I really haven't been cooking all that much. Some chicken chili here, a lot of panzanella and caprese salad there....I'm just doing a lot of assembling raw ingredients rather than cooking big meals from scratch.

But let me tell you, the heirloom tomatoes out here are stunning - gorgeous, multicolored, sweet as candy and perfectly ripe. Check out these ones that I had in my caprese salad last night!

Honestly, though, I've just been kind of swamped this summer. Between the Harry Potter book release (which I finished within 25 hours), going on vacation (camping, Monterey, Portland, etc), Rugrat's change in custody arrangements, and spending as much time as possible with Mr Wonderful....I just haven't had as much time as I'd like to do food blogging. I promise that when fall comes and school starts back up (and Mr Wonderful moves in), things will get into a more regular rhythm. Plus I just enjoy cooking more when the weather is colder. It's hard to get excited about turning on your stove or oven when it's 100 degrees outside.

Weekend in Portland

Had a lovely visit with my sister and her family up in Portland this past weekend. Mr Wonderful and I rented a car on Friday and toodled around Portland on our own, checking out a restaurant & coffee shop recommended by Rachael Ray (both were fantastic), and hitting up the mecca of bookstores: Powell's. It was a truly incredible store, and of course I couldn't resist buying a few books.

Saturday morning we went canoeing on the Clackamas river with my sister & her whole family (six people in a four-person was an experience for sure). Of course we flipped the boat, but managed not to do it until the very end of the trip, so we weren't soaking wet for very long.

Saturday evening we hit up the Portland Brewers Festival, and oh my goodness, that beer was STRONG! I had three or four and I was completely blitzed. My sister acted as our designated driver, and thank goodness because the rest of us were pretty drunk. I ended up passing out in my clothes and woke up very early on Sunday with a blue-ribbon hangover. It was a horrible headache, but I think it was worth it. We really had a great time overall and I'm looking forward to visiting again soon (but next time I'll bring the Rugrat; my nephew was very disappointed that Rugrat didn't come).

In relationship news, Mr Wonderful and I have decided to shoot for October 1 as his move-in date. This may be altered based on how comfortable Tomboy is with all this; it will probably seem very fast to her, considering she hasn't spent a whole lot of time with Rugrat and I yet. So we're going to see how things go - we are planning a sleepover on the first weekend that we both have the kids (in about two weeks, when Rugrat returns from summer camp). I've talked things over with Rugrat and told him that Mr Wonderful is probably going to move in before Halloween, and his only complaint was that it will be a whole two months before he gets a pet (Mr Wonderful has a snake and a cat). He is thrilled with the idea of having a "sister" (his word, not mine), and was very happy to hear that she would be here on the same weekends he will. Mr Wonderful and I are making plans already; he's looking into transferring to the local hospital that will open this winter, and I am making plans to redo the office so that Tomboy can have it for her room. There is a lot to do, with rearranging stuff and getting rid of superfluous things (i.e., boxes and boxes of books), but I think we can get it done in two months.

This is a little scary though, for both of us. Mr Wonderful has never lived with a girlfriend before - at least not officially. He was "practically living" with a serious girlfriend at one point, he says, but he always had his own place. I am a little freaked out too - of course I've lived with boyfriends (and my husband, a million years ago) before, but it's been about five or six years since the last time I lived with another adult. I'm used to making decisions on my own and not having to consult with anyone else; this is going to be quite a change. And the fact that we both bring almost-tweenage children to the party is another complicating factor. The last time I lived with someone, Rugrat was a toddler. He didn't have a whole lot to say about it back then. He seems fine with it now, but I'm not sure he really gets that this is going to be a permanent thing. So even if he fights with Tomboy, or the cat scratches him, or Mr Wonderful tells him to clean his room, or whatever...we're not going to change things just because Rugrat decides one day that he doesn't like it. We're merging two families together; there are bound to be some bumps in the road. And the ease with which Rugrat is taking the news kind of scares me, because I don't think he realizes what's actually going to happen here.

So...there's some stress here, for all of us. But Mr Wonderful and I are excited about taking this step, and the majority of the time we are very happy with this decision. We are both committed to making this relationship work, on a very permanent basis. This is just the next logical step for our family.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Harry Potter and more (no spoilers)

Death Eater
Originally uploaded by snarkmeister.
As I may have mentioned (once or twice or a million times), Rugrat and I had planned for the past six months to attend the Harry Potter book release party at our local B&N. Rugrat decided, the day before the party, that he wanted to dress up as a Death Eater. I think his costume turned out rather well, don't you? I also drew a "Dark Mark" on his left forearm with a dark green pen, and we got many compliments on it at the party. It was a MADHOUSE there...we waited in line for an hour and a half just to check in and get the armband. My armband was #96, which means I was the 96th person to check in who had reserved a copy of the book already; many people had not reserved a copy, and they got a different-colored armband.

At 11 pm, they started lining people up according to the numbers on their wristbands. There were different sections of the store for each group of 50 people. At midnight, they opened up ALL the registers and they moved people out FAST. They had the books pre-bagged; you just paid and they threw the receipt in the bag. We were way at the end of the second group of 50, but we were still out of the store within fifteen minutes. It was incredible.

We came home, I hurried Rugrat into bed, and then settled in to read for about an hour before I conked out. I ended up finishing the book around 1 AM on Saturday night, and I have to say, it was fantastic. This is how you finish off a seven-book series. Yeah, I'm looking at you, Stephen King (I'm still bitter about the ending of the Dark Tower series). HP7 was very satisfying. Of course, it also made me feel super-smart, because pretty much all of my predictions came true. ;-) Knowing (or thinking I knew) what was going to happen didn't stop me from sobbing like a little baby when I read those parts though.

OK, enough about Harry. Just a quick update about Mr Wonderful -- we have started discussing, seriously, the idea of his moving in. To the point that we are talking about what we need to get rid of (in order to fit the things he's bringing), and him transferring to the local Kaiser, and redoing the office/spare room for Tomboy. Of course none of this is happening right away, because the kids still need to spend more time together (which they won't get to really do much of until September), and Tomboy needs to spend more time with me, and get comfortable with the house and stuff. But this is happening, and it will likely be within the next few months. Mr Wonderful and I are very excited about it. I just can't wait to go to bed with him every night and wake up next to him every morning.

And because my life has taken this turn...I am sorry to announce that I am giving up the dream of opening the used book store. At this point, it just doesn't make sense for me, or for us. I can't afford to quit my job and strike out on what would likely be a very financially unstable business venture, especially as Mr Wonderful will soon be going back to school for a couple of years, and will probably only be working part time. And I can't keep collecting these books and storing them in boxes in my garage; quite frankly, we need the space. So I am going to make plans to get rid of the books I've got - whether via garage sale, donating to libraries/other causes, selling to used bookstores, or whatever...they've just got to go. I'm a little sad, but the fact that I haven't made any real moves towards starting the business (besides amassing HUGE numbers of books) tells me that it's obviously not the right time. And making a life together with Mr Wonderful and Tomboy is more important to me than holding on to a dream that may or may not ever happen.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Today's the day!

Or, rather, tonight's the night. Rugrat has decided that he wants to dress up this a Death Eater. Heh. Yeah, that's pretty standard for him. I think we're going to have to hit a party store or something for some costume materials this afternoon/evening. He really needs a black hooded cloak to pull off the costume, and Mr Wonderful suggested that we get a mask and spray paint it silver (as opposed to just using the "mask" Rugrat made out of tinfoil taped to a pair of sunglasses).

The bookstore party starts at 7 PM, and Rugrat is so excited to be allowed to stay up until midnight (without being forced to take a nap in the afternoon). Whereas I am just excited to get my hands on the book I've been eagerly anticipating for several years now.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Final countdown

There are now less than five days to go before the final Harry Potter book is released. Yes, I'm counting down the hours. Yes, I'm a total and complete spaz.

I started re-reading the series late last month, and am probably a third of the way through the sixth book as of right now. So I'm fairly sure I'll be all caught up by Friday night, when Rugrat and I will head on down to our local B&N for the Midnight Madness party. I have to say, I haven't looked forward to something this much since...well, probably since Christmas when I was a wee munchkin and still believed in Santa Claus. I've been reading the Harry Potter books since Rugrat was just a tiny little monkeypod in diapers, and he's in third grade now!

In other news, Rugrat and I will NOT be going to PS at the end of August. Tomboy said that she didn't want to have to cut her vacation short (which we would've had to do, as Rugrat returns to school on Aug 30). That's totally understandable (and very diplomatic of her to give that as the reason), and quite frankly I was surprised that Mr Wonderful had thought it would be appropriate in the first place. Because, as I mentioned before, we've only spent time with Tomboy once. But all that will be changing soon, as Rugrat will be going to summer camp in a few weeks, and when he returns we'll finally be on synchronized weekends. Then they'll be spending more time together than they ever wanted, I'm sure. ;-)

Mr Wonderful is still, well, wonderful. I love that we have so much fun together - and I'm not just talking about the sex. We laugh together all the time. He's my favorite person, and there's not a day that goes by that I don't feel incredibly lucky to have found him again after all these years. And he tells me the same thing - that he is so very glad that I found him on myspace. That it feels so right, being with me. That it's getting harder every day to be apart from me. Knowing that he feels the same way I do, hearing him SAY these things, gives me such a sense of security and joy. I think we're building something great here, and I just can't help thinking that all those years of being single were preparing me for this. Because I don't think I will ever take this for granted. I want to cherish him, and US, every day.

Friday, July 13, 2007


Last night Mr Wonderful came over after a long day of sailing (and getting dumped in the bay when the boat capsized, hee hee) and said to me, "I was talking to my mom today, and she thinks you should come to P--- S------ in August when [Tomboy] and I go." Jigga-wha?? Furthermore, he told me she said, "You have her blessing." Wow. I've never even talked to her but apparently he must say really good things about me, because she is already asking him when we're going to get married and give her a grandson. Thankfully he set her straight on that count; there's no way either of us want to have another child.

But back to the point...I would love nothing more than to meet his mother. Really. She sounds like someone I'd get along with very well. I'm just not sure that it would be fair to Tomboy for us to tag along on this trip; Tomboy has met me (and Rugrat) exactly once. And Rugrat would be coming too - which is another consideration altogether, what with his picky eating and his temperamental thing. She doesn't know either of us that well, and to spend almost a week together, 24-7, might be a bit overwhelming. I don't want her to feel like we're horning in on her vacation time with her dad and her grandparents. She's already missed quite a bit of her time with her dad this summer, and I'm about to drag him off to Portland on one of his scheduled weekends with her. She seems very content to roll with things as they come, but I really don't want to push it. Anyway, I voiced my concerns with Mr Wonderful and said I didn't think it was a good idea....but then I couldn't think about anything else last night and had a really hard time falling asleep. Because: dude! He wants me to come meet his mom! Why am I saying no?? And I really do want to meet her.

So this morning I told him that I do want to come to PS, and he said that he'd talk to Tomboy about it and see how she felt. She might be fine with it, who knows? But even if it doesn't work out for us to come on this trip, Mr Wonderful said that we could take a couple of days off and drive down there for a long weekend, just the two of us, maybe in the winter when the weather is nicer.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


I've been so lazy recently. This morning I just couldn't seem to drag my ass out of bed when Mr Wonderful got up; I vaguely remember him kissing me goodbye before he left, and then I conked out again until 8 am.

Last weekend was even worse - I didn't do much of anything besides eat, read (I'm re-reading the Harry Potter books in anticipation of book 7, which comes out in a little more than a week), and sleep. I napped three times on Sunday, I swear to God.

And blogging? Hah. I haven't updated the food blog in weeks - I still have to post the chicken chili recipe that I made when we went camping. All I want to do is just curl up and sleep the day away...but I have too much to do. Obviously there's work; I've got to do that. And then I have to pick up Rugrat a couple of times a week, meaning that I'm dealing with the awful Hwy 4 traffic. Tonight the Harry Potter 5 movie comes out, and we're going to see that before we head back out here (hoping to miss the traffic). On Friday I have to go back in to the dentist to have a tiny cavity filled. This weekend I've promised to set up a CMS shell for my project manager's new pet project, and I want to get through the last of the HP books (or come really close). I'm about a third of the way through book 5 now, so I shouldn't have any problems polishing them off before next Friday.

So I have things that I need (or want) to get done, plus of course the nagging crap that I really SHOULD do, like clean up the backyard again and reseed the patches on the front lawn. But....I'm just so sleeeeeeeepy. Maybe I'm iron-deficient. Or pregnant. Oh God, that would SUCK. I so do not want to be pregnant. Mom, don't get your hopes up, I'm on the pill.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

It burns!

My eyes are burning. I need to blink more often, I think. I've been installing software & copying stuff over to the "new" laptop all week (in between taking care of the occasional minor issues that co-workers request). It's not difficult, but it is time-consuming and irritating, especially when I import like 100 sites on Dreamweaver and when I reopen the program they are ALL FUCKING GONE. God. Because you can't just click a button and import them all quickly and automatically. No. You have to specify the local directory that DW should use to store site files. What a pain in the ass.

Speaking of pain in the ass, that would be me this week. I'm PMSing pretty hard for the first time in several months (I get my PMS the week AFTER my period, which is completely bass-ackwards and weird, but I haven't had it in quite a while) and Mr Wonderful is having his "time of the month" too, when he's a little less patient. Plus he's a little under the weather. So what did I do? Oh, what did I do? Yes, I picked this time to have a fight with Mr Wonderful - our first fight, actually. really wasn't bad, as far as fights go. It was more like a conversation where we both discussed our differing points of view, with a little side order of me being edgy and feeling like I'm about to cry (thank you, PMS). And basically, it all boiled down to a little breakdown in communication (plus, yanno, the PMS). It was the most adult "fight" I've ever had, I think. In fact, the worst part about the whole thing is that I haven't seen him yet since we had this conversation, so there's been no hot make-up sex yet. I plan to remedy THAT situation tonight. ;-)

And speaking of drama, I have a dentist appointment tomorrow. I tend to put this off for about five years, and then finally I'll break down and go see a dentist for a cleaning & checkup (thank goodness I have nice, strong teeth). I just get more and more phobic about the dentist each time I go to one. It's been like this ever since the time I had two fully impacted wisdom teeth taken out with nothing but novocaine. Horrible. Awful. Traumatic. And so this time, I found a dentist who would prescribe me Valium for the initial exam & cleaning. My preference would be to sleep through the whole damn thing, but if I can't have that, at least I'll be so drugged up that I won't care. Right? Right??? God, I hope this works.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Camping at Lakes Basin

Mr Wonderful and I just had an idyllic weekend camping up in Lakes Basin, north of Lake Tahoe. I took Friday off and drove up to meet him at our campsite, which turned out to be the most awesome campsite ever. It was right on the Yuba River, but far enough removed from Hwy 49 to make it feel pretty secluded. Our particular campsite was the best, with space for two cars, lots of trees around us to make it feel semi-private, and only a matter of seconds to walk down to the river to cool off.

When I arrived (around lunchtime) on Friday, he was sitting there at the picnic table, reading his book. I was SO happy to see him, and he had been anxiously awaiting me...he even put a little welcome message on his car bumper ("Hi Baby!"). So sweet. We unpacked, set up the tent and the air mattress/sleeping bags/etc., and had a little lunch. I changed into my bathing suit and we walked over to the river and got in (slowly...and's FREAKING FREEZING water, since it's all melted snow). We went for a hike up into the woods and had sexy time out there in the wilderness, because we couldn't wait for nighttime and the campground was a little too populated for privacy. ;-) Then we drove over to Gold Lake so he could show me that area (where we originally intended to camp) and we both agreed that our campground was much, much nicer.

The next day we woke up bright and early, and after a big breakfast, we went back to bed. Heh. Then we got up a little later, and drove out to Upper Salmon Lake, where we hiked for a few hours. It was a heck of a trek...we hiked up to about 7000 feet, and my lungs were feeling every single one of the fifteen years that I smoked. But the view from the top was fantastic; I got some lovely photos of Upper Salmon Lake (photo left), little Horse Lake, and the tiny Deer Lake, which was rather dried up due to the lack of snowfall this past winter. I also got a couple of shots of the Sierra Buttes (photo below).

We got back to camp, had a little lunch and then hopped into the river for an icy cold bath. Yes, a bath. In the cold river water. Which I took voluntarily. And it was AMAZING. The water was cold, but not painfully so - you couldn't stay submerged for long, definitely, but it was absolutely invigorating. Mr Wonderful found a great spot that was just deep enough to allow a person to float underwater, with your hands on rocks on either side of you to keep you from floating downstream, and we washed off with some castile soap he'd brought. It was such a rush - and for some reason nobody from the campsite ever seemed to come down to that spot in the river, even though it was only a few steps away from the campground. So it was as if we had that spot all to ourselves during our stay, and we spent a lot of time down there, just chilling out and dipping our feet in the water occasionally.

After the river bath, we came back to the campsite and air-dried in the tent. I'd brought a towel, but it was so lovely and warm inside the tent, with the sun shining in...and later on, I went into the tent to read for a little while, but it was so warm and relaxing that I ended up falling asleep. Mr Wonderful snuck up on me and took this picture while I was crashed out. ;-)

That evening, we had the chicken chili I'd prepared & frozen at home, along with some (rather squashed) cornbread muffins. Mr Wonderful had been chatting with the campsite manager and got quite friendly with him, and the guy told Mr Wonderful about a concert that was being held out at an amphitheater in the woods, so we decided to check it out. was like the worst bar band you've ever heard, doing covers of some great songs, but doing them very, very badly. We tried not to giggle too much, and snuck away when the band took their break. We headed back to the campsite and I built an awesome campfire (almost too awesome, it was HUGE and we had to let it die down quite a bit). We had some s'mores and half a bottle of wine, and then snuck off to bed.

On Sunday we stayed in bed a little later, but eventually we had to rise & shine. We went into the little town of Sierra City for breakfast, and then hiked the PCT to Love's Falls, and joined back up with the Wild Plum loop. The Wild Plum loop is the trail we followed on Friday afternoon, so we knew our way around fairly well, and we went off the trail to the river, where there's a lovely little waterfall and a great place to hang out for a bit. Since it was our last hike before packing up and leaving, we weren't too anxious to get back to camp quickly. Even after seeing two rattlesnakes on the trail (I know!!), we still wanted to stay there and hang out for as long as we could. But eventually we had to get back to camp and dismantle everything, pack it away, and head home. Both of us wished we could have stayed longer, and we'll definitely be going back there again.