Wednesday, February 29, 2012


...sometimes what needs to be done is unpleasant.

Some examples.

I am sick. Mr. Ouiser came home early yesterday so I could rest. After he put T to bed, S had a little, ummmmm, accident. Essentially, she sharted. Pardon my French. It was not a fabulous moment...though when M reenacted her coming back from the bathroom with soiled panties around her ankles saying, "Dad, I think something's wrong here," it was pretty funny to me, The NyQuil Lady. In that situation, what needed to be done was to put the girl promptly into the shower and try not to get anything on himself. And he did it. Tactfully.

This morning as I walked upstairs to get my tiny little man out of bed, I got halfway up before the smell hit me. As I currently have fifty three pounds of mucus clogging my head, it's saying something that I can smell anything. That should tell you how awful the smell probably would've been to anyone with unencumbered olfactory senses. The little dude had a wicked leaky diaper. Thus, first thing this morning, the thing that needed to be done was to strip the poop bed and bathe the wee one. So I did just that. And I threw open his bedroom windows to air out the stench.

Yesterday morning when S came downstairs, she brought Froggy with her. She doesn't do that often, so I was afraid she was really sick, but then she just said, "Mommy, I got snot on Frog." What needed to be done? Launder Snot Frog.

So, I stand by the need to Do What Needs To Be Done, but sometimes, I want to take a mental health day.

Monday, February 27, 2012

what needs to be done.

Recently, I read something somewhere.

Brilliant, no?

It was a call to action, more or less, and it was simply, "Do what needs to be done."

The point was, don't think to yourself that you need to scour your entire house/organize your entire life. Instead, pick up the crap in the floor (or on the floor, all you yankee, literal interpreters). Or put away the mess on the bathroom vanity. Or go through the pile of mail on the desk. Do the most obvious thing that needs to be done to further your goal.

Despite the fact that I keep a pretty tidy house, I regularly find myself a bit overwhelmed. I'll look at the kitchen after a particularly messy batch of baking and feel utterly deflated, then I stop, take a deep breath, and figure out what the first step needs to be. It's the same sometimes with the kids' messes. (Usually T's messes as I require S to pick up after herself.)

Lots of times, I'm not even remotely overwhelmed by anything, but I'll look at the room I'm in and ask myself, "what needs to be done?" Sometimes, a throw just needs to be placed properly on the arm of the chair where it jauntily lives. Sometimes, S's lucky rock needs to be put back inside its house. Sometimes, my calendar needs to be lined up to the proper angle with the edge of the counter.

So, that is all I have to say today. Do what needs to be done.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

why i bake bread.

I love to bake bread. I love everything about it. In fact, I made bread this morning and decided whilst kneading the dough that I wanted to tell you all about it. So here I am. Telling you about it.

I love that baking bread appeals to every single one of my senses.

I love to watch the yeast get all foamy. I love to see dough when it gets to its proper consistency to rise. When a recipe says to knead your dough until it's satiny, you might not know what that means, but it's obvious when you get it there. I love to watch dough rise. I love to watch the crust turn golden brown in the oven. I love the way butter melts across a warm piece of bread when you just couldn't wait for it to cool before slicing into a loaf. That happened to me this morning.

I love the smell of bread baking, but what I love even more is the combination of holding a warm bread boule in my hands and putting the hole thing right in front of my face to inhale the aroma and the warmth, which are really like one glorious entity. It's pretty much like Heaven.

I love the sound of my mixer going round and round pulling dough together just enough for me to start getting my hands into the dough. Then I love to listen to my own quiet inner monologue for the five to ten minutes I hand knead it.

I love the feel of smooth, pliable bread dough under the heels of my hands. I love the ache in my triceps that comes from kneading a particularly dense dough for a particularly long time.

I love the taste of fresh bread. I love it with butter. I love it with cheese. I love it with tea. I love it always.

I love that baking bread takes time. I can't make it go any faster than it's going to go. Rushed bread is bad bread, and I'm too far along in the game to want to eat bad bread. Now, if you'll excuse me, I think I'll go have another slice of today's Honey Buttermilk Bread.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

the british are coming.

Sunday evening, M went out to a late movie with a friend, and as I had finally finished the fourth Game of Thrones book, I watched the last six hours of Downton Abbey, Season 2. I stumbled across DA sometime last Fall on Netflix. I think I was hooked about 15 seconds into the first episode. I love it. Like, love it. I am infatuated with the characters and the house. I am so enamored with most of the characters that I find myself thinking very mean thoughts about the actors who play Thomas and O'Brien. I'm conflicted by Maria Doyle Kennedy, who plays the wretched, and now dead, Mrs. Bates. She's so awful in this series, but she got hosed so supremely in The Tudors that I'm going to have to be neutral about her for a bit. I can say that I am emphatically not neutral about Hugh Bonneville, who I currently adore. And have I mentioned Maggie Smith? The unequaled legend that is Maggie Smith? Oh, oh, oh.

Anyway, I finished up Downton Abbey, but somewhere in the midst of it, I decided that I would've excelled at being British Aristocracy in the early 20th century. M and I have always joked about being born a part of the wrong generation.

Yesterday, without Downton Abbey to fill my hours, I sat down with the Masterpiece version of Emma. It was quite good, and I love Jonny Lee Miller and Michael Gambon so much that I almost forgot that I love the Gwyneth Paltrow version almost strictly because of Jeremy Northam.

In all this Downton Abbey and Jane Austen hullabaloo, I've just about decided that I need to live on a large estate in the British countryside. I'm sure I can afford it. Right? Jolene? Right??

Until then, I'll happily devour a Jane Austen book this evening while M works late, and I'll dream of a future of verdant hillsides and great houses with old names. I might also have tea. And a biscuit.

Monday, February 13, 2012

oopsy daisy.

I've been fussed at lately. For not blogging. I just haven't really had much to say, and I've been using all my available spare time to read the entertainingly not great Game of Thrones series of books. The books? I started with the first one (obviously) after Mellie Mellie picked up a used copy during Granddaddy's hospital sojourn. She told me it was entertaining. It was okay. Then, once I'd gotten into it a bit, I had to watch the entire first season of the HBO series. That hooked me. I'm now reading the fourth book in the series, and these books are looooonnnnngggg. So, lots of spare time that might've been spent blogging has been spent reading questionable literature.

Anyway, the only other thing of interest around here is that I've actually been cooking some new things, so that's what we're going to talk about today. If you shoot over to my Life List, you'll see at the bottom that I want to try 1000 new recipes. I made that goal in October, I think. I've been keeping a list of all the new recipes I've tried since then.

These have been my favorites.
Tonight, we'll be trying Pork and Carrot Curry. I've got the pork marinating already, and it smells divine. I will say that M wasn't the hugest fan of the buttermilk chicken, but S, T, and I loved it. Also, S refused to eat the Vietnamese Noodles, but I think that's mostly because she's a brat. I liked them much. The Ginger-Lime flavor combo was tasty, and it was very unlike what we normally eat during the week.

There have been a couple of epic failures on this 1000 recipe quest. Crockpot Cranberry Chicken and Caramelized Onion Quiche come to mind. Lots of other things were just so-so, leading me to ditch the recipes forevermore.

There you have it, folks. A blog post. And, for the record, I've tried 24 total new recipes.