disclaimer or something

A mummy-hand holding, (former) biker gang affiliating, hippie influenced semi crunchy granola mom's ramblings and reminisings on an off-kilter life

Friday, May 30, 2014

the historian

meh...probably my great uncle, big deal.....

I'm the family historian, and I cherish some items in my collection; photos of Sacramento in 1910, French postcards and letters from WWI, my grandpa's kindergarten drawings. When my mom handed me a manila envelope yesterday "with some pictures or something from Grandma", I was eager to see them, but also thought, meh, probably copies of photos I already had. I sat in the car, casually opening the envelope, and glanced at a photo and thought, hmm, must be my adopted grand uncle's photos. Big whoop.

And then, I turned the thumbnail sized print over.

 Buchenwald, June 1945, it said.


My hands trembled and my breath stopped. Buchenwald. An original,in my hands.I was stunned, speechless, in awe. There aren't words in our language to describe the feelings I had.

 I'd read a lot about the Holocaust as a teen, trying to wrap my head around genocide, etching horrors in my mind so that I could never let history repeat itself. When a Holocaust survivor visited my school, it still seemed incomprehensible. When I visited Mauthausen in college, it still seemed unreal. Fresh white snow covered the ruins and memorial, the memorial statues somehow belonged in a garden. The ruins didn't register well in my mind that those walls witnessed mass atrocities, that the old farmhouses nearby knew. It was to surreal. So when suddenly I held a piece of history in my hands, the world shrank. history became the present, and my heart swelled in pain and joy, for the lives lost, and for the joy of liberation.

These picture are worth more than a thousand words and i sure wish i knew all they had to say.

"wall where executions occured" June 45'.  

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

silent sundays

"Whoever checks their cell phone first, pays the bill" pshaw...that's child's play. In an effort to truly relax and disconnect, my family does just that - disconnects. Every Sunday, we shut off our cells, tablets, laptops, and sometimes even the television or land line phone. For a full 24 hours.

I can tell you, it isn't easy. I keep nervously wanting to check my cell for texts, or see who liked what on Facebook. I want to google what to do with leftover chicken, check the weather, and email a friend. It is seriously an addiction. For 24 hours, I resist temptation and unplug.

 My first Silent Sunday was the best day ever. We drove to Santa Monica, without even planning a thing.  Sadly, this meant we stayed maybe all of twenty minutes after far too long of a drive because I didn't bring sunscreen, hats, or umbrellas and I really can burn (and stay red, never tan) in well under am hour. I watched my oldest son splash in the waves with my his and while the youngest and I played in sand - his first experience with sand or the beach.

We didn't turn on the land line until we got home around two, my mother in law was irate that we had ignored her for Mother's Day. We drove to see her and she forgave us, and we enjoyed a simple dinner together and watched my kiddos play.

The strange thing is, once I "plug back in", I find it all so....pointless and boring. I scroll through hundreds of Facebook posts that seem as dull as a math textbook, my email is lackluster, few if anyone texted me, and I realize how little I missed.

Friday, May 23, 2014

sail away

Has someone ever told you something so jaw droppingly honest and brutal that it stuns you? I did, Let me get back to you on that.

I feel like I am about to set sail into uncharted, dangerous waters and my life is on the line. My tin foil hat of craziness on, I'm telling myself sure...I can do this.

I have been a stay at home mom for most of the past three and a half years and I fully admit I'm awful at it. My husband has said that while he knows I tried to be a homemaker, I am a horrendous homemaker and I hate cleaning and cooking and wiping butts and singing Barney songs. I look at pinterest and even at other mothers as if they are an alien species I may never understand.

I wanna be like this  F*** some
parts of feminism (a bit of my college
self just died)  as I do wanna be
an awesome, sexy, got my s*** together
I recently applied to a bunch of jobs and after so many months of unemployment and lost hopes, I got a job offer! I found the perfect babysitter and everything. And yet, I was hesitant to tell anyone. When it came to signing paperwork, I found myself subconsciously finding everything wrong, every loophole, every negative scenario. So when it came to starting work today, I got up and did the dishes and planned out my hardware store shopping list.

This. This is what I will change. For the sake of
the blurry child shown.
That's right, I jumped ship and decided I will become one kick-ass stay at home mom. My home will no longer look like an episode of Hoarders meets schizophrenia. I will have a daily plan and schedule and will cut down our grocery bill by 25-50%. I will cook all meals, scrub the floor clean, bounce a cranky baby on my knee, fold laundry, shine up the baseboard, all with pride. I will do it right and.enjoy it. Lord help me cause that's the only way this will happen and if I fail, this household will literally fall apart. The world is on my shoulders and I don't know what the fuck to do. This deer in the headlights is going to do the impossible. And fast.

"So you wanna be a better housewife? It is your job. Would you hire you for the job? Think about it."
And I was left speechless but destined to change. If I were any bit crafty, I'd needlepoint that and hang it on my (needs to be clean) wall.

Monday, May 19, 2014

french toast bread pudding

Its bread pudding bordering on french toast. I used 4 "bolillo rolls" from Sams Club that had gone stale. A yeast/dinner roll would work, enough to cover a standard pyrex baking dish in teo layers (once the bread is cubed ofcourse. I like 1" cubes but get lazy and tear the bread) Makesure the bread isquite dried out. Mix 1.5 c heavy cream, 2 c whole milk, 1 shot/1oz whisky (optional) 1f. Cinnamon, 1t vanilla extract, one "shake" from a nutmeg shaker, 1/4 t almond extract, 3/4c tamped downbrown sugar (I used light brown its what I had) 2 tbsp butter pinch salt....warm in a saucepan till sugar dissolves, do not boil! Grab rsisins however much you want. Add to a bowl with the bread cubes, pour half the milky mixture over it, let sit 15 min. While the rest off the mix cools a bit. To remaining liquid, add 4 eggs plusone yolk. Mixvery very well. Por over goopy bread, sit 5-10 min. In greased pyrexadd the bread goop, cook at 350 for 40-50 min untilset inside and golden on top. Mix in saucepan 2 tbspbutter melted, add 1/4 c half and half, 1/4tvanilla extract, pinch salt, tammped down 1/2 c brown sugar.cook over medium stirring until it gets bubbly/foamy and thickens, about 5 min...stir constzntly. Pour over bread pudding, let cool a bit, enjoy. You can also add pecans on top.

Monday, May 12, 2014

maple bananas

This recipe Is versatile, and can be made into a puree for babies my original intention) or chunky as a fruit topping fr granola, Muesli, ice cream, or yogurt.
3-4 bananas, sliced lengthwise Pinch of cinnamon Maple syrup (enough to drizzle the bananas) Butter for greasing

Preheat Oven to 350° and use butter to grease some parchment paper. (Foil or simply a greased pan can work in a pinch but may end in sticky disaster) Alternate ingredients to add can include a bit of orange peel, grated ginger, diced apples and pears, diced carrot.

Place sliced banana on greased parchment-lined baking dish. Sprinkle banana with cinnamon and drizzle with real maple syrup. You can add the optional ingredients as well. Bake at 350° and check at ten minutes..depending on all factors such as fruit ripeness, quality of oven convection, etc the process can take 10-30 minutes You want the fruit to be mushy, and the mushiness depends on your desire....very mushy for babies, less mushy for adults, and you don't want the maple syrup or fruit to burn.

Once cooked, let cool to room temperature. You can puree with water for infants, or spoon over yogurt/ice cream/granola/muesli for children and adults.

The photo isn't the prettiest but it shows the bananas Before cooking....and when I tried foil instead of parchment, silly me.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

"pot roast" for food-haters

I love Cooking and eating and sharing good recipes with friends. So...I have decided to do a little twist and share a bad recipe. Not fried Crab brains, grilled horse tongue, or any other gross food I have had, but just a regular old recipe gone awry. I welcome readers to share their own recipes of doom!

With all due respect to my mother, here is her recipe for pot roast which is probably single-handedly why I never ever ate beef as a child.

Get a tri-tip or any pot-roast type beef, whatever is on sale. You need enough to fit into whatever pot you are cooking in. See? Its one of those old recipes without exact amounts.
Add the tiniest bit of garlic salt to the roast ..maybe a teaspoon? And heat up a cast iron pan. Brown the outside of the roast...you may need to add some canola oil if your iron isn't well seasoned/greased from use.
Toss the roast in a tall pot. Cover it with water. Add a pinch ...as in less than a teaspoon of salt...my mother prides herself in never salting food. Add a pinch of pepper while you are at it.
Chop a yellow onion into about 1 1/2" chunks. Chop a few unpeeled red potatoes into 1 1/2 - 2" chunks. If you are feeling peppy, throw in a sliced carrot. Set aside/refrigerate, they do not go in the soup just yet. But, if you wish to go really crazy, add a single bay leaf.

Boil it, covered, stirring occasionally. Skim some fat off. Boil some more. This isn't a one hour or 30 minute meal. This takes time. About an hour before its ready, but well boiled to death, add the veggies.

It should not be a thick gravy type pot roast. Whatever you do, do not add flour/make a roux. Do not pour off the broth in attempt to make New England boiled dinner. It should be about as brothy (is that a term?) As chicken soup, just with big chunks of stuff. Do not serve with bread because this is too soupy to dunk your bread. Just serve as is, and imagine you are my father who actually loves this stuff.

Friday, May 2, 2014

300 yards

Less than 300 yards could have changed my life.

I live in a tinder box, I mean national forest full of dying trees. Ten years ago, we had a fire that destroyed an area larger than Detroit in less than a week. Hundreds of homes were lost. So when you see fire, your heart skips a few beats.

The smoke was behind the trees across the street, and I didn't hear any fire engines. I was the first to report the fire. My husband drove over with a fire extinguisher and came back in a hurry. "Total madness. Pack. Now. We need to leave" he yelled. So we packed clothing, two large dogs, two angry cats, and two young children in record time. As we pulled away, a parade of fire trucks passed us by. A mile away, we could look back and saw a huge glowing area that was our neighborhood. I don't have words for what I was feeling or thinking. As I saw the trees light up and the fire crown, I knew from history that it meant nothing good. The Santa Ana winds whipped at gusts of up to 60mph, fanning the flames and sucking all humidity away.

We left town and frantically checked the internet, fire logs, scanner traffic until we heard that the flames had died down and all we had to worry about were embers. Exhausted, we made our way back home, not sure if we had a home.

We did. Three homes were destroyed, less than 300 yards from my home. I feel awful for the residents who lost their homes.

It happened in a matter of seconds. Had my husband not looked out the window, we would not have known about the fire until the engines roared past, fifteen minutes later. Had the fierce winds blown a different direction, the fire would have gone our direction and we may not have known it until it was too late, because the flames were hiding behind bushy trees over 100 feet high.

Here you can see the smoke, I took this photo while on hold with 9-1-1. Then, the flames a mile away as we had already evacuated.