Sunday, December 30, 2007


I never make New Year's Resolutions. Because let's face it: Why would I be able to resist the donut on January 1st, if I can't today?

But I'm not saying resolutions are all bad. Please don't let me stop you from making any. (1) As a matter of fact I've decided to be extra-special helpful by making resolutions for a few people. Those are way easier to keep, and I'll help!

So in 2008 . . .

PCSguy: Will learn to properly load the dishwasher. Normal families do not need to run their dishwashers after every meal.

the left side of my brain hurts just looking at this

Spatial relations are just not this man's thing. Once we were going to the beach and we had piled the suitcases, coolers and like 74 tons of baby gear next to the car. PCSguy put the first bag in the trunk, shook his head and said "That's it. Nothing else will fit. Maybe we can tie something to the roof."(2)

Lady at the gym every Wednesday afternoon: In 2008, I think you should stop wearing your fanny pack on the stairmaster. It creeps me out.

Hollywood Writers and Whoever is Making them Mad Enough to Strike: I'd like you to please resolve to solve your differences pronto. There's only so much reality tv even I can watch, and things are getting dicey around here. PCSguy and I have been reading at night. Books. Thank you in advance.

1) Although I think you're perfect just as you are.
2) So I tied him to the roof, went to the beach and had a nice vacation.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Mission Impossible

I woke up this morning with one goal in mind.


Get the fuck out of this fucking house as soon as fucking possible.

Personally I think this is reasonable. I've been under virtual house arrest for eleven days. That's a long time in a 926 square foot house with three kids who got a karaoke machine for Hanukkah. Remember when Martha Stewart was under house arrest and everyone was like "Oh that's not so bad"? They should have sent her here. (1)

Being almost forty, I have lots of experience leaving the house. First thing you need to do is choose a destination. This is way harder than it sounds. There are THREE of those little people (2) and only one of me. One just had knee surgery so nothing with too much walking. They have way different interests and little ability to compromise.

So the mall it is.

Don't get all scoffy at me. I considered other things. I thought about the zoo, but then I remembered that tiger that escaped at the
San Francisco zoo. Eli's already paranoid that the tiger wants to eat him, so that's out.

I can't imagine who put that idea in his head.

Then I thought about the natural history museum. Get a little education into everyone, try to salvage their tv-addled brains. But Eli's afraid the dinosaur will eat him.

Christmas is over, Santa's gone. Nobody's going to try to eat him at the mall.

So the mall it was. My long-time reader will remember a little bet I had with PCSguy that I could stay out of the mall from Thanksgiving until Christmas (3) so this was exciting stuff.

You know what? It was a major letdown. The kids got haircuts. We ate a couple of tacos. We admired the animal decorations. But when Eli got tired we turned tail and left. It's possible that my six week hiatus was like Phase One of the South Beach Mall diet. I no longer crave it.

But you know what else? I got out of the house. Mission complete.

Oh, and nobody got eaten. Bonus.

1) That would have worked out well, actually. That would be punishment for her and she could have helped me sort out my tupperware cabinet.
2) Did I say that already? This, extended vacation we can call it, has allowed me plenty of time to count and recount my children.
3) A bet I won.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

What I did over my Winter Vacation
by ShallowGal

PCSguy knows that I absolutely need a break from the cold winter air, so he booked a large fully-staffed villa on Tortola. The seven of us (1) flew business class, nonstop from DC to Tortola and spent 7 sunny days on the white sand beaches. At night, under the stars, we danced and drank and celebrated life. It was a relaxing break and we can now enter the new year fully recharged.

Oh wait, no. That's the dream I don't even have ten seconds to have (2)

What I Really Did On my Winter Break
by a hollowed-out shell of ShallowGal

The day before break began, I decided that I could not listen to Noa's coughing one more second. With $20 left to spend in our Flexible Spending Account, I dragged her to the pediatricians office hoping for extra-strength cough syrup. Instead I left with the award for World's worst mommy ever having missed an obvious case of pneumonia and as a bonus, a few extra germs for myself.

By Sunday I had a raging case of something nasty. I spent the next four days in a feverish haze, watching my home being slowly decimated by a very bored toddler in wiggles underpants and a robot mask. (3) Just as I started to feel somewhat better (Wednesday night? Wait did I miss Christmas?) Eli imploded. He spent all night puking and crying in my lap in the rocking chair.

The pediatrician diagnosed an ear infection so nasty that for the first time in my ten years as a mother, I was offered a prescription for baby tylenol with codeine (4) I spent the rest of the day doing pukey laundry while my sick children napped peacefully.

Although I spent four days eating nothing but soup and ginger-ale, I managed to gain two and a half pounds. I have a Dior Gaucho Tote worth of Omnicef, Z-Paks and tylenol with codeine on my kitchen counter. George Bailey, I ain't. My winter break sucked.

1)Me, PCSguy, all three kids, the nanny and the night nanny
2) Seriously. In the shower today I only got to shave one leg
3) Actually he did it very quickly.
4) Is this a great country or what?

Saturday, December 22, 2007

PCSguy has been, well let's call it fussy, for the past week or so. It's definitely either something at work or something I did or something that happened at the gym, I'm like 51% sure. I hate seeing my beloved so unhappy so I did what every good wife does.

I looked up his biorhythms to see what the hell was wrong.

It all makes sense now

But obviously you can't translate this information in a vacuum so I re-ran his chart with mine.

That doesn't look so good

Because I'm such a good wife (1) I decided to see if he'd be better off with Angelina Jolie:

I expected better because PCSguy looks just like Brad Pitt

Yikes. 14% compatability. Maybe I'd be better off with Angelina Jolie:

Angie and I should get together and compare tattoos dedicated to ex-husbands

See Angelina and I are both bad-asses that's why we're so emotionally compatable. But even the 45% physical compatibility should cheer PCSguy immeasurably. But just in case I ran me and Colin Farrell:

Holy Crap

But despite the obvious fact that Colin Farrell is my soul mate, I have PCSguy all nicely broken in so I think I'll keep him, fussy and all.(2)

1) As we've already determined
2)But I'll keep Colin in mind as a back-up plan:

Friday, December 21, 2007

I can put a price on anything

Two bottles of Absolut Vodka: $38.57

An 864 piece Lego castle: $19.97 (1)

Chinese food delivery three times in the same week: $135

Having a seven year old with pneumonia and a nine year old with knee surgery both the week before Christmas: $11,817.48 in medical bills (2) and 42 Christmas cookies that ShallowGal may as well apply directly to hips.

A full bottle of xanax, with 2 refills left: Priceless.

1) At Costco on clearance, is that an awesome deal or what?
2) Thus far.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Inquiring minds want to know

With a solid month of blogging under my belt and a copy of Blogging for Dummies beside me, I now feel qualified to answer some of the the many questions people have asked.

1) How do you find time to blog?
Two words: low expectations and playhouse Disney.

2) Does PCSguy mind that name?
Well that's really a question for him, isn't it now? Ooh, that's like Jeopardy, answering an answer with a question. Why do they do that anyway? Is it just a gimmick? (1) Isn't it enough that these people answer these tough questions? And have you noticed that the questions have gotten way easy? Remember when the categories used to be stuff like calculus? And hey ! Did you hear Alex Trebek had a heart attack? Maybe from the stress of having to pretend to know all the Chinese dynasties in order. Feel better Alex !

3) Have you updated your blog lately?
Hmm, that may be a question or it may be a dig. Not all of us can be EW's blog of the year. (2)

4) Are you going to blog about Jake's surgery?
I wasn't, originally, because I get all verklempt thinking about it. Plus I talk to pretty much all my readers a couple times a day on the phone. But for those lucky few who got here by googling pot-holder-drawer, here's the short version: Jake had a benign tumor removed from his leg yesterday at Children's Medical Center. The surgeon said on a scale from one to ten, this procedure was a 1.5. Jake's recovering well and will even go back to school tomorrow, far ahead of schedule.

So, yes, I get all choked up thinking about my first baby in pain, and even more so when I think about all those kids there who stay way, way longer than ten hours. But what pushed me over the edge, what brings out the mushy side of me that nobody wants to see, was the kindness of all our friends. Jake was showered with toys, books, videos, candy, cookies, homemade egg rolls. Huge cards. Calls from his teachers, coaches and friends. E-mails and IMs. Total insanity how many people love him. And way too cool. (3)

And not to knock my poor traumatized post-surgical child but do you remember the episode of the Office where Michael Scott burns his foot on the George Foreman grill and then hobbles around on crutches, even though he totally doesn't need them ? And refers to himself as disabled? I'm just saying.

1) You know, a gimmick. Like foot-noting a blog.
2) Maybe not blog of the year yet, but like every other honor you can bestow upon a blog. Well done girls !
3) But not surprising. He is one cool kid.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

If you thought my mind was a scary place, you should see my pot holder drawer

When I was growing up, my mom used to have a drawer where she threw dead batteries. "Just in case," she used to say. My sister and I made fun of her all the time; did she think they were going to spontaneously start working? Would she keep her dog if that died, you know, just in case?

Twenty years later I only wish I had a drawer full of dead batteries.

I read somewhere that everybody is entitled to one junk drawer. I have one in my desk. It looks like this:

If you look closely you can see my spare rubber chicken.(1)

All the other drawers in my house have a designated purpose. This drawer for example is my pot holder and petty cash drawer (2) It looks like this:

Make perfect sense too, cause you always need a pot holder to unload the dishwasher

And sure enough, if you clean out this drawer, like I do exactly once every eight and a half years you find pot holders. Eight of them to be exact.

Maybe because I have eight hands.

Ah, but that's not all Bob ! Tell them what else they'll find in the pot holder and petty cash drawer! That's right ! Two boo-boo bunnies (3) and five packs of sour ice-breakers.

Boo-boo bunny declined to be photographed for this article

Wait ! There's more ! A large zip-lock bag of combs I stole at school picture day, two unidentified screws and a small bag full of used pacifiers.

True story. Last month we were having dinner with some really cool friends at their house. Eli starts freaking out around 9pm because he's so tired. Rather than send PCS-guy home(4) for a pacifier to try to get him to sack out on the couch, we accept an old paci that our friends' daughter used. She's sixteen now. We gave Eli a FIFTEEN -year-old used pacifier rather than drag our sorry asses away from grown-up conversation and a bottle of red wine. And then Eli says, and I am not making this up, "Me get new pink paci. It must be me birthday."

Obviously my kids are going to have way bigger issues when they grow up than the contents of my pot holder drawer.

Next in the drawer: like a million packs of gum. And a pot holder that was trying to escape, bringing our total there to nine. It's like the Twelve Days of Christmas in there, because I swear, a turtle dove would not surprise me in the least at this point.

A pack for each maid a milking !

Now it starts to get scary. Yes, now. The instructions to a phone we no longer own, in a language we never spoke. (5) A dinosaur tattoo, THREE pairs of nail clippers, a tangle of safety pins and a customer loyalty card to Noodles & Co. We got 8 out of 9 punches. Not even sure they're still in business.

Ooh, so close !

Hang with me, we're almost to the bottom. A picture of my nephew taken in 2003. An unopened pack of Yu-i-oh cards. Three more combs trying to get the hell out of my kitchen (6) $1.02 in Canadian change. A plastic heart filled with puppy tattoos. Two hair bands, a lipstick, two random electrical thingees and Noa's library card.

You know what I never did find though? Petty cash.

1)Seriously, it's my spare. In case something happens to my everyday rubber chicken.
2)And by petty cash I do mean petty, like "tip the pizza" petty. So not worth pissing off the big dog, stalker-friends.
3) Boo-boo bunnies that have long since lost their ice pack and which no self-respecting 7 or 9 year-old would use. And of which the 2-year-old is terrified.
4)And it's like less than a mile.
5) Spanish

6) At this point I'd like to join them.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

All Done

This morning, at 11:36 am, I crossed the last item off my to-do list.

Don't be too impressed. It was last Thursday's list.

I can't decide if I expect too much of myself or if I'm just wildly inefficient. It's an interesting question though, and one that I will go consider over a glass of wine and the new People magazine. I'll let you know what I figure out. (1)

1) It's the first item on my new list.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Can I tell you something really embarrassing?

Promise you won't think less of me. It's that bad.

PCSguy watches Deal or No Deal.

And not in a "Oh I can't find the remote and the tv is just on for background noise" kind of way. He actually sits down at 8o'clock on Friday night and has an opinion about if the contestant should take the deal. He makes predictions about the banker's next offer. He yells at the tv when someone doesn't take his advice.

I told you it was embarrassing (1)

Why am I telling you this? No reason. Just looking for something to write about while the kids fight over their new karaoke machine. Three kids, two microphones and one disc. Eli refuses to nap and is still recovering from pink-eye. He's actually crying because he and Noa are playing pizza guy and Noa told him they were out of pizza. Out of imaginary pizza.

It's one of those rainy days and Mondays kinda deals, complete with whining and early school dismissal.

And no relief in sight. PCSguy is in Miami. (2) At the Doral. I heard it's warm there. He brought his tux. As per the usual, I'm still in my pajamas. At 3:21 pm.

At least he didn't bring his golf clubs. Then I'd have to tell you something REALLY embarrassing.

1) I never said it was about me.
2) Remember stalkers: BIG DOG

Saturday, December 8, 2007

ShallowGal's holiday present to the very best readers on the internet

It has come to ShallowGal's attention, that she actually has readers ! People who come by and shake their heads in disgust at my inability to pick a tense or choose a grammatical person (1) and then call me (2) to tell me they read my blog. So don't let the fact that only PSCguy uses the comment section fool you ! I have, at last count, at LEAST four readers.

And ShallowGal loves each and every one of you.

So as my holiday present to you, I am going to share my very famous, oft requested recipe for Mexican Wedding Cookies. The very recipe which my Grandmother, who came to this country during WWII as a young bride and mother, would make me if she owned the America's Test Kitchen cookbook and wasn't locked up in an Alzheimer's facility.

You know how sometimes people say "If you only have one cookbook this should be it." Well I don't understand that. Why would you only have one cookbook? They aren't that expensive. I'm not saying you need to go buy anything crazy like Mary Bell's Complete Dehydrator Cookbook (3) But hey, loosen the purse strings and live a little. And totally you need America's Test Kitchen Cookbook. Costco always has it for $19.99

Okay, enough stalling. (4) Although all of ShallowGal's friends are kitchen goddesses, I'm going to really break down the steps for you so you don't make any rookie cookie mistakes.

Mexican Wedding Cookies
makes 4 dozen small cookies

2 cups walnuts (you can use pecans but walnuts are way better)
2 cups all-purpose flour (I prefer King Arthur)
3/4 tsp of salt
2 sticks of butter, softened
1/3 cup superfine sugar (Take 1/2 cup of sugar and grind it in a food processor for 30 seconds)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. (or more!) confectioners' sugar

Step 1: Adjust the oven racks to the uper and lower middle positions and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Process 1 cup of nuts in a food processor for about 15 seconds, until they're the texture of coarse cornmeal. Put them in a medium bowl. Process the other 1 cup for only 5 seconds so they're coarsely chopped. Mix the two kinds of nuts along with the flour and salt.

Step 2: Drag out that Kitchen Aid you got for a wedding present. Wonder why you picked such an odd color. Berate yourself for not using it more often, it is a really nice piece of equipment. Beat the butter and sugar together using the flat beater (not the dough hook and not the wire thingee, you knew that right?) until light and fluffy, 3 to 6 minutes. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add the nut mixture until combined, about 30 seconds. Scrape the bowl and beater with a rubber spatula (Pampered Chef makes a nice one, and if you have a Pampered Chef party I'll totally come and buy another one) . Continue to beat until dough is cohesive, like 7 seconds.

Step 3: Roll dough into 1 inch balls, lay on a parchment lined baking sheets (believe it or not I have the best luck with my ratty old baking sheets instead of my new fancy schamncy ones that conduct the heat) After about 10 minutes switch the sheets so the top one moves to the bottom and V/V. The cookbook calls for 18 minutes, in my oven they take closer to 22 minutes.

Step 4: Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack. I find that if you touch them before then, even lightly, they crumble, which is totally where that phrase comes from. Once cool roll in confectioners sugar and then re-roll before serving.

Cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days. I buy massive bags of walnuts at Costco and store them in the freezer between baking sessions.

1) It is *so* a word.
2) On the phone. Which is so much more personal than commenting.
3) But it did get REALLY good reviews.
4) I'm afraid once Meg has my cookie recipe she won't feel the need to invite me to her cookie swap anymore and she has such awesome friends that it ups my cool factor just hanging out in her kitchen with them.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

ShallowGal and Posse Take New York

American Express tells tales of the boost to the U.S. economy when ShallowGal and ShallowGal's daughter and ShallowGal's daughter's doll (1) took New York. Unfortunately, it wasn't Bloomies or Bergdorf's or any of the 67 cute boutiques marked in Zagat's 2008 Shopping Guide.

The exorbitant charge was to the American Girl Doll Store.

Let me reiterate that, in case you missed the finer points of my sarcasm. We went to New York, the fashion capital of the world, and the doll got a new outfit (2) . The doll got a blow-out. The doll got a facial.

Felicity shall henceforth be referred to as ShallowDoll. ShallowGal's changing her name to Chump.

Clearly it is the doll who needs her hair combed

1) An awkward title for a book.
2) Plus the doll is a total sell-out and happily relinquished her colonial roots for a trendy skating ensemble.