Wednesday, December 27, 2006


I'm making an excruciatingly slow re-entry into a world that does not revolve around wrapping paper, large quantities of overly-rich foodstuffs, and basically running around in—when you boil it all down—circles. Despite the late nights and general feeling of exhaustion, it was a lovely holiday spent in constant and pleasant culinary interaction with friends and family (one cousuncle just e-mailed to chide me—me, of all bloggers!—for not updating here since the 22nd, but never mind).

The SU and I spent the bulk of yesterday alone (the girls being in the tireless hands of their sitter who, unlike me, is not adverse to leading them triumphantly through craft projects that require acrylic paint) and leisurely enjoying things that I now imagine only the child-less can leisurely enjoy: eating out, shopping, going to the movies, wandering through a bookstore. Our movie of choice was "Dreamgirls," the theatrical version of which I saw onstage when I was very young. I had specific memories about the original version, certain moments that I loved. And so I waited the entire film for CC (he being the songwriter brother who basically turned his back on his super-talented chanteuse of a sister for several years, only to return once he realized that success wasn't all it was, you know, cracked up to be) to sing Effie I have a song, and only you can sing it the way it should be and for Effie to wail back I've waited sooooooooo long to hear you say that to me. Say it again, say it aggggaiiiiiinnnnnn.... and for CC, of course, to answer Effie sing my song the way it should beeeeeeee. I waited because it's my favorite scene. In the whole story, it's my favorite scene. And the scene happened, but the song didn't. I almost jumped out of my seat to demand...something. Instead, I just sat there, crumpled up in disappointment and asked the SU to pass the popcorn. I curse the person(s) who edited the scene! I curse them with spiders and evil monkeys and colicky infants, and dreams about falling off the edge of a cliff! Fie on them, I say. But besides that, I enjoyed it. Our audience clapped every time Jennifer Hudson sang, and then again when her name appeared in the credits. I felt somehow bad for Beyonce and her enormous wigs. It's a strange thing, indeed, to feel sad for such a beautiful and talented (even if her specific talents don't appeal to you, I don't think anyone could successfully argue against the adjective) person.

We cooked an 8-lb. beef tenderloin on Christmas Day, and this morning I shredded up the leftovers and tossed them into a pot with a head of sliced up garlic, half an onion, crushed tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. It's been simmering for almost 5 hours, and if you were to take a bite it would literally melt in your mouth. There's something a little off about turning filet mignon into something to put in a flour tortilla, but so be it. Pass the shredded cheese, please.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Vicarious Living And, Well, Waffles.

I may as well admit that I've been living vicariously through this blog since November. This Ms. Posie woman is like some kind of miraculous, shimmery, fairy-like person. Or at least that's how I imagine her. A gumdrop wreath? Handcrafted fabric dolls? Cupcakes of such exquisite perfection that I wouldn't dare eat them? And that's only the beginning. It's borderline insane; she makes Martha Stewart look like a bumbling amateur. I really should write to her and tell her how much pleasure she's provided lo these past few months and how her blog is the ultimate antidote to bah-humbug-ishness. But then again, some folks are meant to be admired only from afar. Such is the case, I believe, with the very magical Ms. Posie.


In other pleasant holiday news, my niece-in-law Sarah hilariously gifted my girls with a complete set of Hello Kitty appliances. Without getting into why they have already opened these gifts, I will just declare that if by some miracle you have been considering purchasing the Hello Kitty wafflemaker, you must do it. Because never, never, never in my life have I had better waffles. They're all fluffy yet crispy, and tiny enough to eat in one or two bites. I would not lie about such a thing, as I take waffles quite seriously. Shut up, I really do. Here is the wafflemaker:

And here are the waffles (they have regular waffle-y marks on the other side). The girls added chocolate chip eyes to theirs, but I required no such accoutrements:

And so, as you fall asleep tonight, I hope that visions of Ms. Posie's posy things and, yes, Hello Kitty waffles dance through your heads.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Today in Three Vignettes

I can't decide which is more disturbing: penis/bust enlargement spam or spam that says...

Then he slowly rolled over on his side and began the terrible job of getting to his knees again. Because you went on living to find out what happened next, isn't that what you're really saying? Paul jammed his teeth together and grimly told himself he would not vomit, would not, would not. Paul jammed his teeth together and grimly told himself he would not vomit, would not, would not.

What's that all about? Maybe it's not spam. Maybe someone is just sending out a getting-to-know-you-e-mail. In which case, I would have told him/her not to include the word "vomit" in an initial correspondence.


Day-to-day happenings are fairly predictable out here on the Peninsula. We are simply not privy to the stories that play out so obviously in every coffee shop, laundromat, corner store, bus stop and whatnot all over a city like San Francisco. And while there are days when I view this as lamentable, I can't deny—certainly since I became a parent—that I find comfort in the relative lack of drama. Still, I'm occasionally privy to something more than people in tracksuits sipping their latte or whatever and reading the Wall Street Journal. Today, for example, while waiting for my order at Kinko's, I watched as a large homeless man busied himself laminating his "Homeless—In Need" sign. He then purchased some hardware to turn it into a banner. And this image has kept me company all day.


Our neighbors one block over invited us over tonight to light the menorah(s). First the dad gathered the kids around and read the Story of Hanukkah (one of his kids had removed the paperclip that kept five complicated pages of war scenes segregated, and the dad accidently read too far into said pages to extricate himself. Quite hilarious to watch him fumble around, editing all willy-nilly), then we lit the candles on the three different menorahs (two kid ones and a family one), then they played the dreidl game, and then we got potato latkes to go, came home, and made dinner.

And I gotta tell you: latkes and pasta are not a bad pairing. Anyways, some photos (though, sadly, not of the latkes and pasta):

Monday, December 18, 2006

Ver vs. Ice

I'm sure the Weather Gods were pointing and laughing at us this morning when we scooted out the door 5 minutes behind schedule, only to find the car completely encased in ice. They were probably in full-on guffaw mode when I acted on the bordering-on-mentally-incapacitated assumption that turning on the windshield wipers would de-ice the windshield. Or perhaps they waited until I got out of the car and hopped from foot-to-foot blowing on my hands and saying, "Okay, okay, okay, let's see..." while the girls screamed "We're gonna be late! We're gonna be late! Mom! Mom! Come on, we're gonna be laaaaaaate..."

I was not to be defeated.

Like a primate discovering that a tree branch makes a decent backscratcher, I, too, fashioned a tool from what was on hand. And what was on hand was a CD case (The Best of Hall & Oates, if you must know. The girls love "Maneater," and I really don't want to discuss the matter further, so please stop pressing me. I will add, however, that "One on One" is completely underrated. Laugh if you must, but history will bear me out). I scraped away the ice, raised my arms in victory, and yelled "Ha! You see that?! Ha!"

Oh, but how does it end, Ver? How does it all end?

Reader, we made it to school on time.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Sugarplums Dance

We're getting all gussied up and heading into the city for the family matinee of Nutcracker. They are serving cookies and cocoa at intermission, and the kids can take pictures with their favorite characters. Lea, of course, has her list prepared: sugar plum fairy, snow queen, and I think the rat king. I'm disproportionately thrilled about the cookies and cocoa and picture-taking, so much so that I'm sure to be disappointed. No doubt the cookies will be dry and the cocoa will be filmy and the sheer numbers of frantic children trying to score a photo op with, let's say, Clara will be enough to induce a migraine. But for now, four hours before curtain time, I will live in VerWorld, where the cookies are pleasantly warm 'n' chewy, the cocoa has been poured through cheesecloth, and a gigantic Nutcracker awaits me in my own private photo booth.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Attention Double-Deficit Disorder

I was just now performing a series of repetitive cooking-prep tasks. I approached these tasks in a high-minded manner: I would turn off iTunes and focus on every slice, every dice, every brush of oil, every last thing. In this way, I would finish up quickly and with a mind as clear and perfectly-functioning as that of a...a...a person who lives their life with a clear and perfectly-functioning mind.

I'm sure you know where this ends.

Within 10 minutes, I had turned on the Dreamgirls soundtrack and was moving frequently from cutting board to laptop so I could read blogs and answer e-mail. So of course, something that should have taken forty-five minutes ended up taking ninety. And my mind? All aflutter with extraneous information, idle gossip, and Christmas gift ideas. Let this be a lesson.

I am now going to extract all the seeds from two pomegranates.

I should be finished sometime tomorrow morning.

Monday, December 11, 2006

It's Better for Everyone This Way

In one hour, I will be back here at Nesting Ground Headquarters fixing a snack for the kids.

In one hour, the spousal unit will be sitting in a conference room with eight other people. And one of them will be...ohmalord hold onto your winter cap and secure your scarf about your neck...Bono.

It's not that I don't adore the spousal unit, it's just that I would adore him so much more if I were also in the conference room.

Kidding. I'm kidding.

Because, really, what would I do if introduced to Bono? I think it would go down something like this:

Random Introducer: And Bono, this is Veronica.

Bono: Hi, Veronica. It's nice to meet you.

Ver: rmphferderhow.

Bono: Excuse me?

Ver: [whisper] Nice to meet you, too. Mr. Bono, Sir.

Bono: [Looks around the conference room trying to find a way to politely escape from Crazy Lady] Nice group of people.

Ver: [still whispering] Nice group. Group is nice. People are nice. Grouping people is nice. Group. Nice.

Bono: Okay, then...

Ver: [mumbling, cheeks flushing like pomegranates] iahrkdslrkems? Shanks.

Bono: Come again?

Ver: Can you take a picture with me? For my, um...for my blog? It could be good publicity because, you know, like fourteen people read my blog. And if you think about it, there's a statistical chance of, oh gosh I don't know, one in five thousand, that one of those fourteen people doesn't know who you are, and then when they see you with me on my blog they might go and buy one of your albums or something and, you know, everyone could use a little pocket change, right? Your wife makes clothes with hemp, doesn't she? Hemp is neat. I like your shoes.

Bono: [turns on heel and departs]

Ver: Good-bye Mr. Bono, Sir. Good-bye.

Something like that.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

December, Remembered

For the past several years, December—arguably my favorite month of the year—has disappeared in a disconcerting flurry of shopping, cooking, inevitable colds, social obligations, card-sending, and all-around stress. By the time it's over, I have little memory of what occurred; all I know for sure is that the person looking back at me in the mirror needs a vacation and several spa treatments. But this year, I'm making a change. This year, I am reclaiming December! How, Ver? How are you reclaiming December? Please tell me so that I too may recapture the glory that once was. I'm doing it by adding yet another thing to my to-do list. Oh, but Ver, that sounds so antithetical to your stated purpose. Please explain.

[Aside: can anyone pinpoint the exact moment I started to talk to myself on this blog? I'm turning into one of those women with 400 cats who applies blush too liberally and wears a tinfoil visor so nobody can steal my thoughts...]

Anyways, this task that I've decided to undertake will leave behind a record of at least one thing that happened each day of the month. Every night so far, I've plunked my personage down somewhere and decorated these chipboard thingies. Here are the fronts of days one thru three:

And this is what's on the back. I haven't filled in the text blocks yet, but that's the least of my worries:

I guess it's kind of a twist on an advent calendar? I'm not sure. If I actually end up with thirty-one of these at the end of the month, I'm gonna do a little dance, videotape it, upload it to You Tube, and post it here.

You wish.


Writer's group was so excellent last night. I was in a goofy mood, probably because I hadn't eaten and had made the drive into the city with my heat seater turned all the way up while singing along at the top of my lungs to John Legend. I also double-dosed on Claritin because there's a dog at S's home. S's wife, who teaches in the writing program at USF, was holding her final class of the semester at the house, too, so in my deranged mind I set up this faux war between the groups and encouraged my fellow members to engage in some mayhem. "Let's fight them," I whispered. "Come on. I can totally take that guy in the argyle sweater."

But enough about my nonsense. I had my work-in-progress up for discussion and was so energized and encouraged by the conversation that I shirked today's errands and slipped into the library for some uninterrupted writing time. And then I was so pleased with my output that I took myself to lunch before rushing home to host a playdate for Lea. Now the girls are building some sort of Lego kingdom, there's a pot of picadillio simmering on the stove, the Christmas lights are on, and nobody is yelling, "Mama! Mama! Mama!" You know what that's called? A very good day. Plus, we're forcing bulbs and the first one has just opened:

[insert lame smiley face emoticon—possibly sporting a Santa Claus hat—here]

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Short Takes

Public Service Announcement: There's almost nothing that a small dish of Pepperidge Farm Goldfish and a small tangerine can't fix.


Thank goodness my writer's group meets tomorrow night, otherwise the hope of being involved in any sort of literary activity (reading excluded) this month would be an um-I-don't-think-so-Ver kinda thing. I am sad because Marianne has left the group, and I miss her one-of-a-kind Marianne energy and the way she whips out her little index card notebook and jots things down in her impeccable penmanship, but the good news is that another "M" has stepped in to join us. I liked her right off because she immediately threw the word "bitch" into our pre-meeting conversation. In case you're wondering, our pre-meeting rituals include the making of tea, the selecting of cookies, and chit-chat about agents and editors (of which I have neither, of course, but never mind) and kids (oh which I have three, of course, but never mind).


My cyberpal Julie is a fantastically good egg. That's a fine thing all on its own, but she doesn't stop there, oh no. She also has a brand-spanking new blog of which I am a devotee. I'm so envious of those folks whose blog revolves around an actual concept. Unlike me, they do not wade around in the muck of every-little-thing-whether-you-want-to-read-about-it-or-not-ahem. You can check Julie out right here.


And, finally, I would love to send you a holiday card of the snail mail variety! So e-mail your address, and I'll add you to our list...