31 March 2008

The Second Law of Something Important

A word to all of you who share my categorical disregard for Following Directions in Recipes: the laws of chemistry and/or physics do occasionally prevail in your kitchen, too. Specifically, the law that says that if you stick burnable substances in your oven at too high a temperature for too long a period of time, they will burn.

What is that law, exactly? You'd think thermodynamics, but that's all just energy conservation and whatnot. The only other law that's coming to mind is Avogadro's Law, which is a personal favorite of mine due largely to its similarity to the word avocados. But that's about gas molecules, methinks.

Right. Digression.

So if some afternoon you are seized with a fierce longing for homemade granola, overrule the part of your brain that is saying you already know most of the logical ingredients for granola, and go with the extreme faction protesting that it could still be a good idea to consult a recipe.

So that you don't bake it at, like, 400 degrees instead of 300.

And so that you don't add in your dried cherries and chopped pecans/almonds before the baking instead of toward the end or completely after.

And so that, as a direct result, you don't end up chiseling out the salvageable granola from the scorched mass adhered to your cookie sheet.


On the bright side, the salvaged granola was really, really good.

And I had a cute assistant cook who found the blackened mass hilarious.

Before shots:

After shot of some of the rescued granola:

Things to put in your granola: dry oatmeal (I used quick oats because that's what was hanging out in my cupboard, but apparently This Is Bad. I didn't really notice a difference, though.), molasses or maple syrup or honey (I went with honey), brown sugar, oil or butter, and then stuff to mix in after you bake the granola.

Would you like a recipe? Lemme just find you a nice-sounding recipe. Hold on.

Here ya go.

And hey, I think I remember the name of that law: The Second Law of Common Sense.

Right. I must have been absent that day.

Happy baking. :)

26 March 2008

Forget Cocoa Beach

Spring break means

: backyard campfires (and a wee bit of rain) : miniature bubbles : Mario Kart : sleeping in till 7 : family card games : general happy galavanting about the premises :

Here's hoping your week is just as splendid.

25 March 2008

self-portrait challenge: political.4

We know the statistics.

A lack of clean water kills a child every fifteen seconds.

And I'm wondering about this today, about why we really don't care about the child who died fifteen seconds ago. Or the one who will die in fifteen more seconds. Or the one dying right now.

Perhaps stats like that just seem too far removed from our modern world to be real. Or perhaps we've heard it so often that our hearts are too calloused to break.

Or perhaps it's because it's not our kid dying.

But that will be some mother's child. And the death will be real. And I can do something to change her reality.

With a hundred dollars, I could buy a new purse, a cute pair of sandals, a meal at a swanky restaurant. Or I could save someone's kid.

I'd like to think that if this were my child, if it somehow, someday is my child, you'd do the same for me.

Click here for more self-portrait tuesdays.

23 March 2008

22 March 2008

mad skills

"99.99997% of the world plays without a contract."


19 March 2008

en cee double whatever

There are very few tasks in the universe for which I am less qualified than filling out one of these brackets. Tightrope walking across the Grand Canyon, perhaps, or orthodontic surgery, but that’s about it.

My supreme ineptitude stems in part from the fact that I have not watched even twenty seconds of any game this season, nor could I tell you the name of a single current college basketball player, NCAA or otherwise.

My MIL picks her teams by school colors/mascots, which is something I would totally make fun of under normal circumstances except that under this circumstance I'm forced to admire that she knows even that much.

The main thing I know about basketball is that it takes a reeeally long time because they keep stopping the clock for all sorts of stupid things. So when the clock says there’s thirty seconds left, it really means thirty seconds of play plus six cumulative minutes of everyone’s remaining time outs plus a bunch of intentional fouls and subsequent free-throws. So like ten minutes or something. If you’re lucky.

(That’s one of the two things I learned while cheering in college, the other being that I cannot tumble to save my or anyone else's life. So if, say, we’re standing in line at the supermarket together and we’re held up by masked gunmen who demand that someone does a round-off back-hand-spring full down the produce aisle or else everyone dies, don’t look at me.)(Really. It's all on you.)(But I can totally do a somersault-cartwheel for bonus points.)

Nonetheless, I dutifully complete one of these brackets every year to participate in the Owens family competition. It's rather a win-win situation for me (or reallywin-don'texactlylose situation, to be more precise). Everyone has incredibly and appropriately low expectations for my standing, so if I happen to luck out, I look amazing (or lucky). And if I end up somewhere in the region of last place, well, it's what we all expected anyway.

I completed my online bracket last night and I already forget who I picked to win it all, but if they happen to win, I will totally gloat about it here.

Right. We'll never speak of this again.

18 March 2008

self-portrait challenge: political.3

I appreciate a good many things about my country, but I identify myself first as a citizen of the world.

This means, among other things, that I am responsible to do what I can to promote the well-being of those with whom I share this earth.

Learn more about World Vision, a humanitarian organization dedicated to addressing the root causes of poverty and injustice.

Click here for more self-portrait tuesdays.

17 March 2008


monday mornings are for soft stacks of laundry, banana milkshakes, missing the weekend guests, and quiet play with my littlest ones.

12 March 2008


On with the dance! let joy be unconfined;
No sleep till morn, when Youth and Pleasure meet
To chase the glowing hours with flying feet.

~George Gordon, Lord Byron, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage

11 March 2008

self-portrait challenge: political.2

{household politics}

We operate under The DumDums Rule, also known as bribery. (Although, my ├╝ber smart friend Crystal says that technically it's only bribery if the lollipops are offered before the desired action; given after the action has been performed makes them a reward. Semantics are a beautiful thing, eh?)

Whenever I need Elle to model the latest outfit I stitched together, she gets rewarded in dumdums. I'm all: just two more minutes honey, no, i don't really want to see your tongue right now and can you please put your shirt downdoyouwantthatcandyornot? Inevitably, her brothers each get a dumdum as well for staying out of the pictures. You have no idea how hard that is for them.

Bought it bulk, these miniature lollies equal about two cents apiece.

At some point it will occur to my children to ask for a raise, but for now everyone but the dentist is quite pleased.

Click here for more self-portrait tuesdays.

09 March 2008

um, yeah

This is the kid who tells me, "Mommy, I want all the cookies in the whole world."


Because that's definitely going to happen.

07 March 2008

catching my breath

Last night's award ceremony marked the end of our Upward basketball season, and while I did enjoy cheering for my boys (or, you know, sitting there trying to look like I had the first clue about basketball--but I was totally cheering on the inside), I will not miss swapping the warmth of my bed for the near-arctic climate on my way to Zee's 8 AM game each Saturday. Who schedules these things, anyway?

Now we have a brief three week break before the spring soccer season kicks in. I do try to maintain a certain impartiality (this is actually a lie, I do not try at all), but I have a soft spot in my heart for soccer. Here is a sport where I actually know enough to heckle the refs, and where the fathers within earshot on the sidelines ask me questions about the intricacies of the game. I know, the wonders never cease.

I'm just reeeally hoping my part of the world thaws out before then. Feel free to do a sun-dance on my behalf.

05 March 2008

freezing rain, wintry mix, and other Acts of God

So I stood James up last night. Hopefully he's not taking it too hard.

Apparently my love of British accents was not influential enough to make the weather behave, and between the freezing rain here, the thunderstorms in Atlanta, waiting in line for de-icing, and countless delayed flights everywhere all jockeying for priority to land, I didn't quite make it to the concert. We did actually get on the plane and taxi out a few times, but the ice-sealed flaps (which, I hear, are important for the whole flying deal) meant we never did progress to the taking off part.

I did, however, get to finish two half-read novels and chat with fellow almost-passengers and admire photos of kids/grandkids/poodles and eat ice cream on a stick from a vending machine. Oh, and I am really good at crossword puzzles. I also got to spend the night with my cousin and his wife (who live near the airport) at their gorgeous new house.

Also, I got to feel loved. The hubby drove me to the airport since I am an even worse driver than usual in icy conditions, The Ununcle monitored flights and gave advice and even missed the concert on his end of things, and Craig and Angela braved the weather and roads to collect me from the airport. I so wish I'd had my camera with me so y'all could see Angela's hand-painted footstool in the guest suite, with its welcome basket of towels, bath essentials, and bottled water. It was like a posh hotel except, well, friendlier.

All in all, it was not a bad way to spend a day.

This morning, long after Craig and Angela had left for work, I sipped hot chocolate and savored a magazine and relished the stillness and quiet. Not quite as good as a full concert of that brilliant Brit accent, perhaps, but pretty darn close.

04 March 2008

blunt saves the day

It's Tuesday once again, and 'round these here parts that generally means I am subjecting you to my lovely contribution to the self-portrait challenge. However.

James Blunt is in concert tonight, and I am jetting down to Atlanta (courtesy of the highly esteemed Ununcle) to see him. And that, paired with my lack of self-portraiting ahead of time, means that you get a much deserved break from the wonders of me.

See y'all Thursday.

03 March 2008

IOU: Gina Tomato

We met back in sixth grade on a joint GT field trip. After the morning's chemistry presentation, we all congregated at the Burger King across the street, where Gina introduced herself with her signature effervescence, and in response, one of my friends whispered loudly to me, "She's so irkatating, don't you think?"

It was all downhill from there.

Gina and I mutually annoyed each other throughout junior high; she was a bit too peppy for my taste, and I was a bit entirely too self-absorbed and immature and capricious (especially with the boys) for everyone's taste.


Sophomore year Gina and I landed in the same graphic arts class, and as we scanned the room of goth/hippie/stoner faces, we both determined each other our best bet and banded together in our shared normalcy. It was, without question, the best thing that could have happened to me.

The brilliant thing about arts classes is that while your hands are occupied screen-printing, your mouths are free to gossip and smatter, and your brains are free to think, "Funny thing, I really, really like this girl." Or at least that's what my brain was thinking.

We started hanging out together, not just in graphic arts but at lunch and on Friday nights, and over the course of that year I learned that Gina is one of the most effortlessly hilarious people I know. She's also compassionate and wild. An exceptional listener. Wise in a way that steadies me.

I learned that this is what a best friend looks like.

I was more than a little regretful that we'd lost all those years flitting around at the periphery of each other's lives, but grateful, deeply grateful, for the possibility that lay ahead.

Gina saw me through the next few harrowing years, and while she regularly diagnosed me "psycho" for staying with the dude tied to my turmoil, she also understood what it meant to unravel at the thought of leaving him.

What else can I tell you about her? She'd help me spy on strangers in the next car over and discuss their obvious subterfuge in our exclusive code. She was fashionable and tiny and could sing like Pavarotti on estrogen. She had a thing for bubbles and knee socks. She penned zany, poignant poetry--and trusted me enough to let me read it. She glimpsed the dark, wretched corners of my life and didn't once run away screaming. She was a little bit of God with skin on.

She was my friend. And I'll spend the rest of forever richer for it.

02 March 2008

Haiku Thursday (except, you know, on Sunday)

Snow in March

Errant snowflakes cling
To black slumbering branches –
The final showdown

~Melanie Bartelt