I'm suddenly very interested in making bread. I tried out two more recipes from my baking book last week. The first was an oatmeal-graham bread.

I know they look burnt, but that is just the egg yolk wash on top. Next time, I will leave it off. It's made with maple syrup instead of sugar, and it has barely any butter in it. But despite being ridiculously healthy, what with whole grains and cholesterol lowering oatmeal and blah blah blah, it was yummy. Sweet without being sugary and moist without being wet. Plus, it's easy to make. So this one is a keeper.

Then, over the weekend, I made Greek feta buns. The buns themselves are a super soft white bread. Almost to Wonder Bread levels. Not my favorite.

The insides are stuffed with feta cheese. I love feta, but the whole thing was kind of bland. If I make these again, I might add some whole wheat flour to bulk up the roll, and I will definitely add some pepper and maybe fresh basil to the feta.

Listen to me, changing up recipes like I know what I'm doing or something!

I also made a chicken and rice casserole last night. B was suspicious, but after I assured him that cream of mushroom and cream of chicken soup were not involved, he calmed down. It's made with brown rice, white wine, and fresh thyme. It ended up being a little bit bland, but I already have plans to make it again with a little more spice and some fresh veggies. I also forgot to take a picture, but it was kind of boring to look at too.

Next up: I'm going to try a rosemary raisin bread for my in-laws this weekend.


Poetry Thursday

Just kidding! I don't have a poem for today. Because I'm lazy and I haven't read one that I liked this week. And I don't feel like looking for one. So there.

The important thing that needs to be said today is

Happy Birthday Saul!

I can't believe it's been six months. I can't even remember what my life was like before he was born, but I really don't want to. Because it couldn't have been half as wonderful as it is now.



Saul's new favorite ride. When we put him on the floor, he crawls to wherever the bag is and does his best to climb on and then he waits for someone to give him a ride. I'm not sure what we'll do when he's too big to fit.


I love how Saul has these 'aha!' moments. He's been working on sitting up for a few weeks now, but he could never balance for more than a few seconds. Then yesterday, when I put him on the floor at daycare, he just sat up and looked at me like "What's the big deal? What are you making all that noise for, woman?"


Yay Veggies!

Over the weekend (with Saul's supervision, of course)

we planted a vegetable garden. We have tomatoes, peppers, okra, black-eyed peas, squash, zucchini, cilantro, and basil. I will probably add more herbs later, but those are the two most important. We also put up a chicken wire fence to (hopefully, pleasepleaseplease) keep the deer out.

Then we planted our potted pomegranate tree on the side of the house. It already has a bud - I don't even care if it makes fruit; the flowers are beautiful enough to make it worth it.

I love love love spring.

Why do I do things like this?

I have a bad habit of thinking of an idea and then going through with it before I think too much. Yesterday I thought "hey, it would be fun to have bangs again." Today, I look like a third grader.



My stick is finally blooming.

Just try to not smile

I finally caught Saul laughing on tape. It's the sweetest sound on earth.

If you take enough...

Ok, well they weren't all bad.


Screw the Easter Bunny

We went all over town this morning looking for an Easter Bunny to take pictures with. The only one we found was the mall bunny, who wanted us to stand in line for hours with a cranky hungry baby, and then pay $20 for the privilege. On principle, we declined.

The farmer's market, which advertised Easter Bunnies and Easter egg hunts, turned out to have a fenced in reproduction of Lord of the Flies going on, presided over by a seedy looking Easter Bunny with only a pair of ears to signify who he was.

So I went to one of those cheap portrait places where you get a package of pictures with a fake background for $10. Surely they would have an Easter Bunny, right? I wasn't even wanting a live one anymore. A painted background would have done.

They told me that they could fit me in next Tuesday.

In desperation, I finally went to Michaels and bought an Easter Basket and some plastic eggs, and then hauled Saul into the back yard. By this time, Saul was hot and cranky and so was I. He was not very interested in sitting up and looking cute, and it didn't help that he had a nice dollop of spit up on his collar.

Next year, I will plan ahead.


Peach-Mango Delight

Saul recently had a delightful afternoon that began with a bowl of peach-mango-banana puree and ended with a bath and a nap. Oh, to be six months old. I'm quite envious of his good time.


For my grandpa

After three posts in a row without pictures of Saul, I imagine my Grandpa is getting pretty frustrated. So here you go:

Check out that hair! He's going to curse his genes when he gets a little bit older.

First walk in the big-boy stroller

Our new sling. Like an idiot, I washed the first one and shrunk it. Also included for your amusement, the huge bags under my eyes. Thanks to Saul's new habit of wanting to play at 1:00 am and my being behind at work. Also, check out how Saul uses my hair like reins. He does that ALL THE TIME. I'm considering shaving my head. But don't my eyebrows look great? Thank you, tiny Vietnemese lady on Lamar.

Chillin' on the rug

"I will now eat your camera," he thinks (incorrectly)

Poetry Thursday

This is my favorite poem ever. Period. I don't think about it for long periods of time and then I take it out and it punches me in the stomach all over again. After that god-awful experience a couple of years ago, this was exactly how I felt. Like railing against a God I didn't even believe in.


In your extended absence, you permit me
use of earth, anticipating
some return on investment. I must report
failure in my assignment, principally
regarding the tomato plants.
I think I should not be encouraged to grow
tomatoes. Or, if I am, you should withhold
the heavy rains, the cold nights that come
so often here, while other regions get
twelve weeks of summer. All this
belongs to you: on the other hand,
I planted the seeds, I watched the first shoots
like wings tearing the soil, and it was my heart
broken by the blight, the black spot so quickly
multiplying in the rows. I doubt
you have a heart, in our understanding of
that term. You who do not discriminate
between the dead and the living, who are, in consequence,
immune to foreshadowing, you may not know
how much terror we bear, the spotted leaf,
the red leaves of the maple falling
even in August, in early darkness: I am responsible
for these vines.

-Louise Gluck


Orange blueberry sweet rolls

I have the kookiest baking book ever. The recipes start out with things like this:
"The shape is most certainly a slice of the alternating rhythms of the expanding and contracting universe, as well as a symbol of the cyclic seasons."
Well then. And I thought I was just making pastry. It just adds to the charm if you ask me. I have now made two recipes out of this book and both have turned out mind-blowingly well.

Here is the recipe I made this weekend:

4 tsp yeast
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup warm water
6 tbsp butter
3/4 cup warm milk
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
5 to 5 1/2 cups flour

Orange Butter
6 tbsp butter
3/4 cup sugar
Grated zest of 1 lg orange
Grated zest of 1 lg lemon

Orange Crumb Topping
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/4 tsp cardamom or nutmeg
Grated zest of 1 lg orange
3 tbsp cold butter

3 cups blueberries

  1. Sprinkle the yeast and a pinch of sugar on the water and stir. Let set until foamy, about 10 min.
  2. In a stand mixer, combine the butter and milk. Stir until the butter is almost melted. Add the juice, sugar, salt, eggs, yeast mixture, and 1 cup of the flour. Whisk hard 1 minute to combine. Add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until a shaggy dough is formed that just clears the sides of the bowl.
  3. Turn out he dough and knead for a few minutes until smooth and satiny. Place in greased container and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
  4. Make orange butter by creaming ingredients. Set aside at room temperature. Make the crumb topping by combining first four ingredients and then cutting in butter until crumbly. Set aside in the refrigerator.
  5. Turn out the dough and roll into a 12-by-24 inch rectangle. Smear evenly with orange butter and then sprinkle on all of the blueberries. Starting from long end, roll up and pinch seam to seal. Cut gently into 24 1-inch slices. Place on a baking dish with raised sides. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise until puffy, about 40 minutes. 20 minutes before baking, heat over to 350.
  6. Sprinkle rolls with crumb topping and bake in the center of the oven until the rolls are golden brown and have pulled away from the side of the pan, about 45 minutes. Remove and let stand 5 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool.
If you try it yourself, don't forget to send me some.

Enough, already

For over a year now, B and I have not finished many projects. Normally, this might not matter, but we bought a fixer-upper house. And it sure needs some fixing-upping. Every time we think we're ready to get going again, something happens. One of us gets sick, or Saul gets sick, or we have visitors, or we go to visit people, or I get crazy busy at work. But we're finally starting to get some work done on our landscaping. We actually planted a section!

I know it doesn't sound like a big deal, but keep in mind, we live in the hill country. Digging a hole of a diameter larger than my hand usually involves a pick axe, limestone boulders, and a serious backache for B. I, of course, am too delicate of a flower to do that kind of work.

So while B was doing back breaking manual labor last weekend, I tripped off to my favorite nursery and found a muscular young man to accompany me around and display trees for me. Since this was for the front yard, and would hopefully cover up an ugly part of the house, we decided to shell out the big bucks for 15-gallon trees. I ended up choosing a Texas Mountain Laurel and a Flameleaf Sumac. Along with a couple of gallon daisies and some tropical sage, my total was over $300.

Big money and big work. And how did it turn out?

I guess it seems like for $300 of my tax refund we ought to get a little more tree, you know? It's hard to avoid the impression that we just stuck a bare stick in the ground on the right. And it annoys me that I paid over $100 for that stick.

Since these pictures were taken, we have covered everything with some nice dark Texas hardwood mulch and added some travertine stepping stones to the faucet. But it still looks kind of bare. I'm thinking of adding some Turks Cap bushes here and there.

Up for this weekend: planting the vegetable garden in the back and, more importantly, putting up a deer-proof fence around said garden.

More pictures to come!



You think he's having a religious experience, but he's actually just looking at the ceiling fan.




Seemed like a good idea at the time

Saul's new favorite activity is banging on things. It doesn't matter what - his exersaucer, the floor, my face, whatever. He discovered that if he held his plastic pacifier in his hand when he hit things, he could make more noise. So we gave him a wooden spoon.

A wonderful time was had and then we narrowly avoided him poking his eye out. Perhaps we should have thought it through a little bit more. Lesson learned.


Not a margarita! I promise!

Pureed cucumber went over surprisingly well last night.


I love me some Elvis Costello

I just realized that I like the song Watching the Detectives so much that even when someone like Bonnie Brett butchers it and turns it into a jazz monstrosity, it's still a great song.

However, as much as I love Elvis Costello, I think Jenna Mammina did it even better.

Pictures for my Grandpa

I would think he would be uncomfortable, but he seems to like sleeping like this.

Poetry Thursday

Saul has kindly brought home another disease for me. He is just fine, of course, he only passes them on. I am woozy and achy with a fever and chills and a headache. Lovely.

Woman Unborn

I am not born as yet,
five minutes before my birth.
I can still go back
into my unbirth.
Now it’s ten minutes before,
now, it’s one hour before birth.
I go back,
I run
into my minus life.

I walk through my unbirth as in a tunnel
with bizarre perspectives.
Ten years before,
a hundred and fifty years before,
I walk, my steps thump,
a fantastic journey through epochs
in which there was no me.

How long is my minus life,
nonexistence so much resembles immortality.

Here is Romanticism, where I could have been a spinster,
Here is the Renaissance, where I would have been
an ugly and unloved wife of an evil husband,
The Middle Ages, where I would have carried water in a tavern.

I walk still further,
what an echo,
my steps thump
through my minus life,
through the reverse of life.
I reach Adam and Eve,
nothing is seen anymore, it’s dark.
Now my nonexistence dies already
with the trite death of mathematical fiction.
As trite as the death of my existence would have been
had I been really born.

-Anna Swir

HP news

Yay, one extra movie! I'm glad they will be able to leave in more of the plot. I will be so sad when they are all done.



Saul has recently learned how to blow raspberries. He thinks it's the best trick ever.


Saul has been getting chubbier and chubbier lately. But he's been such a pill the last few days that I think he's about to grow an inch or two. It's too bad, really, because I want him to be plump. I think it must be some deeply ingrained motherly instinct to make sure your child is as well-fed as you can possibly make him. There is a baby at daycare who has the chubbiest little wrists and hands I've ever seen and I am intensely jealous. I want Saul to have wrist rolls.


Something I would like to know

I just heard a story on NPR about how moths can retain memories of things that happened to them when they were a caterpillar. That is mildly interesting, but here is what I found intriguing: the researcher mentioned that caterpillars become bug soup in their cocoons. She said that they basically liquefy themselves and then turn into a moth. I had never thought about how that worked before, but now I want to know more. Unfortunately, I can't find any details. When I try to Google it, I get lots of kid sites and gardening sites.

Maybe I will try Wikipedia later.

Can I get a refund?

Saul had better either grow an inch or pop a tooth this week, because he has been acting like a little hell child, and if this is just normal behavior I might have to take him back to the hospital.

It's a good thing he's so damn cute.