Thursday, December 18, 2008

Funnies from the Papoose

The Papoose:
  • now holds cell phones, remote controls, anything with buttons, somewhere behind her head of pressed against her lips, and says, "Hello?" (roughly translated from "Aaa-ooo?")
  • waves bye-bye whenever I put her coat on, whenever we enter a parking lot, whenever we put Chewy in his crate, whenever she goes to bed, and whenever I hang up the phone.
  • says "uh-oh" whenever she drops something, whenever she throws something, when her shoe falls off.
  • says "Da-do" for dog, or Chewy (we're not sure), "da-da" for her father, "mama," "mum-mum" for food.
  • wants to wear my headbands and carry my purse.
  • thinks Bob's name is "gentle."
  • pretends to drink from a coffee cup (maybe we should take a hint from that).
  • tries to brush Chewy with his dog brush.
  • loves brushing her teeth (read: chewing on her toothbrush)
  • says "thank you" ("uh-oo" with a really obvious intonation) whenever she hands you things, and pretty often when you do things for her.
  • brings us books to read her all the time now (especially, Brown Bear, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Yummy Yucky, Baby Says Peekaboo, Raindrop Plop, and Snowman)
  • has said "banana," "zebra," and "giraffe" a few times, but doesn't have them down yet.
  • laughs when she hears people laugh on tv.
  • seems to especially enjoy music by Guns N Roses, Wham!, Buddy Holly, the Beatles (the older stuff), and the Barenaked Ladies. Eclectic taste.
I'll be MIA for at least a week as we celebrate the holidays with fam. I'm sure we'll have lots of cutie pics when we get back. Have a very merry holiday season, peeps!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Feel-Good Stuff

Do you guys know about Network for Good? I didn't until just now, but apparently they've featured it on the Today Show.

One of my dear friends has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. In my pathetic attempt to try to do something useful about it, I went looking for researchers I could throw money at. A pitifully small amount of money, granted, but still. I don't know what else to do. She's too far away to wrap her up in a ball and hug her for hours until she's so thoroughly suffocated with love and support that she couldn't escape if she tried.

Anyway, so Network for Good is a database of not-for-profits that you can search by name or keyword, compare, and donate via credit card or Paypal. They also sell gift cards in case you want to let a giftee give your money to the charity of their choice. You can hit multiple charities at once through one shopping cart, and one transaction. You can send e-cards through the site, alerting giftees of donations you've made in their names. You can see how individual charities break down their spending, or just study the ratings Network for Good has given them. You can choose whether to make your donation anonymously, or to let the charity see your contact info. There's more; it's a pretty great site. You should check it out.


On a completely unrelated note, except in that way where I've eaten four brownies since getting my friend's email with the definitive diagnosis, I wanted to share the Best Holiday Brownies Ever! recipe with you. These are delicious, and even the Husband likes them. He of the "I don't mix chocolate and cinnamon" and the "If you're baking something, it better be chocolate chip cookies" variety. I highly recommend them. A classic brownie texture, with holiday spices to make it special.

Cappuccino Brownies from Everyday Food:

Cappuccino Brownies

Be careful not to overcook these brownies; they should be moist, not dry. This recipe is from Lisa Kim of Brooklyn, New York.

Prep: 15 minutes
Total: 1 hour


Makes 16

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pan
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees, with rack in center. Butter a 9-inch square baking pan, and line the bottom with parchment or wax paper. Coat paper with butter. Set aside.
  2. In a large heatproof bowl, combine the butter and unsweetened chocolate, and place over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring occasionally, until completely melted. Let cool slightly. Whisk in sugar, espresso powder, vanilla, and eggs.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Add to the chocolate mixture, and stir until just combined (do not overmix). Fold in chocolate chips.
  4. Pour into pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out slightly wet, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; cool completely. Remove from pan. Using a damp, warm knife, cut into 16 squares, wiping knife blade after each cut. Peel off parchment paper and serve.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Christmas Downtown

I love small towns. The best parades are always in small towns. Hamilton, NY has its dairy princess. Mill Valley, CA has it's dog section. Dickson, TN has Mr. and Mrs. Old Timer.

Dickson also has a great Christmas celebration where they block off Main Street from traffic and everyone runs wild with cups of hot cider, cocoa, or something with a little more bite; rocks out to the band or toasts the bagpiper; waits in line for Santa's lap; or warms up in the coffee shop or bookstore or antique store or bakery or cigar shop.

We hit the scene with the Ouisers tonight and it was so. much. fun.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Santa Ain't Welcome 'Round Here

What is it about little kids and Santa? Aren't they supposed to love the color red? Why do the treat the jolly old guy like he's some horrifying fat leper with a beard? Maybe it's the beard itself. Or maybe it's the bizarreness of the whole situation. I mean how many times does a parent make a kid get all dressed up, get in the car, and then hand the kid over to some strange man after standing in line for an hour? Maybe they think they're about to be sold into child slavery.

Whatever it is, like S, the Papoosekin's got it, too. A couple of weeks ago, the Husband took her to see Santa while I was buried in copy editing. I got her dressed up, but didn't really mind that I was missing it. I figured it would be pretty uneventful since she would have no idea what was going on.

Boy, was I wrong. Still glad I missed it though.

I asked the Husband to write this story out before he forgot the details, but he just can't find the time, so I figured I'd better do it. So this is a second-hand account; I retain the right to confabulate and pepper inaccuracies throughout.

Santa was appearing right down the street from Ouiser, which is also right down the street from our bookstore, so it was the perfect locale. He took her there after story hour at the bookstore with S and Mr. Ouiser, where the Papoose was apparently knocking over displays like so many dominoes while the Husband tried in vain to repair the damage done and prevent further chaos, chasing her around the store at a breakneck pace. She almost did break her neck when she finally plowed into one display headfirst, like a human bowling ball.

At Santa's place, they stood in line for about 30 minutes, which was challenging, but the Husband managed just fine. When they finally got in to see Santa, the Papoose found herself in his lap and immediately lost it. The Husband shushed and hugged and held and comforted and they tried a couple more times, but to no effect. So the photographer suggested they put the Papoose in the chair alone, where Santa could approach the chair from behind and she wouldn't even know he was there. This seemed plausible, but the wool is not easily pulled over Papoose eyes. She was onto them like white on snow (heh) before the photog had her shot. At this point, apparently she was screaming bloody murder, her face was all red, and there were tears, real tears, people! Finally, in a last ditch attempt, the Husband sacrificed all ego and got in Santa's chair, holding the Papoose, while Santa tried again to sneak up from behind. She would have none of that. By this time she'd decided it was altogether a bad scene, but the photog did get one tearful shot, which I'm supposed to pick up this week. I'm a little afraid to see it.

The Husband had to call me from the parking lot to try to talk the Papoose down from hysterics over the cell phone. Apparently, she screamed all the way home, though by the time she was deposited in my lap, there was a nary a sniffle. I held her while she drank milk and ate comfort food in the way of a Mum-Mum or two, and all trauma was forgotten.

(Note to future therapist: I had nothing to do with this. It was all the Husband. Send him your bills.)

Finding comfort in the bottom of a bottle.

Santa's Email, Hacked

Got this from the Husband and it was too funny not to share.