Saturday, February 21, 2009

Space Available; Inquire Within

This will serve as my official last post here on blogger. It's been good to me, getting me started in this crazy writing adventure I've grown to love so much. But the shiny Typepad blogs made me want more, and so:

I have moved. Join me over there for Comfort Food Saturday, won't you

If you've got this blog bookmarked (thank you!), please don't forget to change it to the new address.

Well what are you waiting for? Let's go! See ya there.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

If anyone needs me, I'll be over here in the Haz Mat suit

Marcus is sick with what can only be described as "The Crud." Apparently that is a medical term here in Alabama. It's what the urgent care doctor told me I had last time I was sick. The Crud. And one of our co-workers thinks she has the shingles. Half our students have pneumonia or some version of the dreaded Crud. Welcome to February in Alabama! 70 degrees one minute 21 the next. And how 'bout those 50 mph winds and tornadoes? Good times, I say, good times.

I'm currently obsessed with the idea of keeping myself and Dean healthy. I chugged a big glass of juice today and shoved countless Zicam swabs up my nose. I even gave Dean two servings of juice water. (All "the stuff" I've read about juice and obesity and aaaaaaaaah, evil suuuuuuuuuugaaaaaaaaaarrrr has sufficiently freaked me out, so I give Dean 1 part juice to 2 parts water. It's just how I roll. Yet I let him eat Gerber baby fruit roll ups. Go figure.) Anyway, we are all up on our vitamin C now.

I knew Marcus was really sick when he asked me to call in and let the secretary know he wouldn't be teaching class OR having rehearsal today. Usually he'll just try to push through. Not so much today. He got up long enough to eat some Fruity Pebbles and sit with Dean while I showered and got ready for work. When I came downstairs, they were watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Well, watching is a generous way to describe it. Dean doesn't really watch it per se, he mostly just plays til the Hot Dog Dance comes on, then goes nuts. Marcus was conked out on the couch and Dean had his little hand on his Daddy's knee. It was kind of the cutest thing I've ever seen. As I got closer, I understood just how clogged Marcus's nose must be because MY GOD the poop. I quickly took Dean up for fresh pants and dragged Marcus back to bed. Once he was settled, I closed our bedroom door and sealed it with Lysol. Oh, yes, I did.

I do not want to get sick. I will not get sick. (knocks frantically on wooden tray table) I deny the existence of The Crud. And now I go to stick another Zicam swab up my nose and chug one more glass of juice before I settle in for the night. In our guest room.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Rehearsal widow

Last night I began my latest stint as a rehearsal widow. This means Marcus is starting rehearsal for a new show and I'm at home. It's been the other way around in our home a lot, where Marcus was abandoned while I worked on a show. But this time? I was reminded of one of the many reasons why living here in Alabama has improved our family's definition of quality time.

Marcus's commute from our apartment in NYC to his rehearsals: 2 hours ONE WAY
Marcus's commute from our house in Alabama to his rehearsals: 15 minutes ROUND TRIP

God bless Alabama.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Easy Like Sunday Morning

We had a great day. I started my herb garden, FINALLY took a moment to paint my toenails, then we went exploring at a state park nearby. There were also slushies from Sonic at some point in there. We finished off our evening with a great dinner cooked on our brand-spankin' new grill, which was part of my birthday/Valentine's day gift.

DISCLAIMER: Readers living in colder areas of the globe may ending up cussing and hating me after seeing these pictures. Should you choose to continue, you will know why Marcus and I wanted to move back to the south. (we don't like snow much) Behold the 70 degree February day:

Planting herbs. Anybody need chives? Because I should have a TRUCKLOAD soon. That starter greenhouse thingy I'm planting? One of four!

And now, the 2 most beautiful parts of my weekend:

Dean was just happy he got to eat his YoBaby outside.
Moooooooom, what's an herb? (or a herb if you pronounce the h...)

My new favorite picture of my son.

My son who discovered pine cones today.

A perfect day.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Comfort Food Saturday--Red Velvet Cake

In honor of Valentine's Day, I give you my favorite dessert recipe. Enjoy!

1 ½ cups flour
½ cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
½ cup milk
1 bottle (1 oz.) Red food coloring
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Heat oven to 350. Mix flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed for 5 minutes or until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Mix sour cream, milk, food coloring and vanilla. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed just until blended. Spoon batter into cake pan or muffin cups. Bake 20-25 minutes. Cool in pan 5 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely. Frost with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting!

1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
4 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 box (16 oz.) confectioners’ sugar
Beat softened cream cheese, softened butter, sour cream and vanilla extract in large bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar on medium speed until smooth.

TIP!! If you like pecans, you can stir some chopped ones into your frosting once it's made and then spread it on the cake, OR sprinkle them on top of the cake once it's frosted. YUM!

Friday, February 13, 2009


I turn 32 today.

This many

I thought I'd do a little list. 32 Things on my 32nd. Here goes nothing.

1. This is an anti-climactic age.

2. On the eve of my 30th birthday, I had a small identity crisis. I called my friend Eileen and asked her if I was supposed to feel older and wiser. She said no. That made me feel better.

3. CVS just called to refill my prescription. How very nice of them.

4. I'm having lunch today with Auntie M and Loretta.

5. Dean's pretty jazzed about it.

6. Marcus, Dean and I had dinner at Cajun Steamers last night, courtesy of my parents.

7. Dean had his first kid's meal.

8. Dean likes Cajun fries.

9. I wore flip-flops. In February.

10. My favorite color is purple. Did you know? Now you do.
11. I bought my first pair of Clark's shoes this year.
12. They are the greatest pair of shoes I have ever owned. Also the most expensive.
13. I think it's cool when my birthday falls on Friday the 13th.
14. I kind of hate Valentine's day.
15. I especially hate it when people wrap my birthday gifts in Valentine gift wrap.
16. Dean keeps finding my cell phone and programming new numbers into it. This is annoying.
17. The plumber we hired to fix our leaky pipe was great. We will not have to sell anything on eBay to pay the bill.
18. Home ownership kinda sucks sometimes. (see above comment about leaky pipe)
19. Dean peed on me twice this morning. Happy birthday, mommy. ;)
20. My perfect "Fat Breakfast" would be Dunkin' Donuts Hazelnut coffee, Krispy Kreme donuts and hashbrowns from McDonald's, with a soy latte from Starbuck's for dessert.
21. I could eat pasta every single day. So could my son.
22. I don't remember going from the OR to the recovery room after my c-section. This kind of bothers me.
23. In college, we once had a 4-way joint birthday party for a bunch of us who were born between Feb. 10-13.
24. My family's new favorite word is "boon." (balloon)
25. My class brought in their assignment for next Thursday yesterday. Everyone did. So we did those presentations. Better early than late, huh?
26. I really hope Marcus gets me York Peppermint Patties for Valentine's Day. I enjoy them chilled.
27. I always cry when filling out holiday cards to Dean. Last year when he was a wee little tot, Marcus and I had to try 5 times before we could read him his Valentine. I'm sure his 6 week old self really cared about having it read aloud, but it was important to us.
28. I have never used a lawnmower. I have no intention of starting any time soon. (Marcus is getting ready to mow our yard.)
29. My secret dream is to receive an entire bag of trial-sized items for my birthday or Christmas.
30. I once had a pet crab named Charlie. I fed him bologna. He died.
31. Dean calls me "Nah Nah." I love it.
32. Wanna know what Marcus gave me for my birthday? I'M MOVING MY BLOG TO TYPEPAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I need to do the online tutorial and get everything set up, but within two weeks, you will be able to visit me at my new and improved site.
Now go have a cupcake and think of me. :)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Nothing out of the ordinary

We have had a very ordinary week here in Lane Land. I can't believe it's only Wednesday. I'm kind of tired and ready for the weekend already. I'm also amazed at how anti-climactic the week leading up to my birthday has been. I usually get much more excited. I guess 32 is kind of an anti-climactic age--no new privileges, no new decade, no double numbers, just a 3 and a 2. On Friday (the actual day of birth--love it when it's Friday the 13th!), my Auntie M and our friend Loretta (or Roletta) are taking me to lunch. Marcus, Dean and I are going out to dinner that night, then coming home to chill out and watch a movie, probably LOVE ACTUALLY so we can quote it as we watch. (after Dean goes to bed, of course) Marcus has scholarship auditions on Saturday, so Dean and I will surely find something to fill our time while he's gone.

Dean's 4th tooth popped through yesterday. It terrified our manny, BJ, who thought something was terribly wrong. Dean always runs a very low-grade fever when he's cutting a tooth and acts really lethargic and cranky. Poor BJ was sure he was sick and that he would shrivel up and blow away because he didn't want much lunch. Once we inspected his gums, we gave him a little Tylenol and a cold chew toy and he was good to go. He did wake up FREAKING OUT twice during the night, though. Poor little guy. I'm going to make him a grilled cheese for lunch. Toast feels good to baby gums, I hear.

There's a new art gallery in Montevallo! It's called the Blue Phrog. We met the owner last night at Eclipse, our coffee and book store. I'm hoping to get in touch with him this week to ask about bringing my class to the gallery for a field trip. It would be nice for them to talk to a manager of an arts organization that isn't performance-based.
In other news, I really need to get cracking on the workshops I'll be presenting next month at the Southeastern Theatre Conference. Last year, Marcus, our friend Scott and I did one on moving to NYC. It was so well received that this year we've broken it into two different workshops, one on moving to NYC, the other on networking in NYC, and added a fourth panelist. I think this will be the last year we present this one, since we've been gone from the city for close to a year and are already losing touch with the way things are there. I'm also presenting a workshop on stage managing outdoor drama. Should be fun. I'm looking forward to the conference. It's always fun to see old friends and make new connections. Since I'm not job-hunting or hiring this year, I'll be spending my days presenting or attending workshops, going to meetings for my new position with Alabama Conference of Theatres and finding other opportunities to get involved. There is an interest group for people who would like to write for Southern Theatre, our quarterly magazine. I'm going to attend that and pitch an idea: I think we should start a Southern Theatre blog. It's an idea I've been playing around with for a while and I think it would be a great informational and networking tool for our region. I would happily serve as "blogmaster" and be responsible for finding content to post 2-3 times a week. I'd like to do one interview with someone working in professional theatre each week, then a feature about new products, new plays, new programs, etc. I'm reading Blogging for Dummies right now to teach myself a little more about the wonderful, mysterious blogosphere.
How's YOUR week going?


I am TOTALLY a rockstar!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

With this ring...ugh.

Disclaimer: The pictures in this post are fuzzy. All of them. And they weren't even taken on the same camera or at the same time. This is proof that my photography skills have not improved, even though I have a better camera. Alas.

This is my engagement ring. (The whole wedding set, actually.)

I think I took this right after we got married. Anyway, I love my engagement ring. LOVE it. It's beautiful and Marcus picked it out all on his own and it's perfect. I bent the prongs around the diamond once and the diamond fell out into my laundry basket, but then we got it re-set in a four-prong setting instead of the weaker six-prong setting it originally had. It looks gorgeous sitting atop my wedding band and is super-sparkly.

That was my engagement ring right after we got married.

Here is my engagement ring now.

This actually happened two weeks ago, but until now, I just haven't wanted to talk about it. It makes me want to cry. Here's what happened.
About 4 months into my pregnancy, my finger got too fat to wear my engagement ring, so I put it away and just wore my wedding band. I should point out that my engagement ring is a size 5, my wedding band a 5 1/4. Why I didn't get my engagement ring re-sized to fit on top of my band, I don't know. I'm sure it was partially laziness and partially money, or lack thereof. Anyway, it was never a problem before I got pregnant. SO. Everyone knows I swelled up like a balloon at the end of my pregnancy and my fingers never quite got back to their usual shape and size, what with losing most of my baby weight, then gaining again, then losing again. But I HAVE lost some and my wedding ring has been sliding around a lot. Two weeks ago I noticed that my wedding band had spend most of the day facing backwards. (It has channel-set diamonds and I had been seeing the back of the ring.) I thought to myself "WOW! I must have lost enough weight to get my fingers back to normal! I wonder if my engagement ring will fit?!?!" So upstairs I went. I got my engagement ring out of the jewelry box and slipped it, almost effortlessly, onto my finger. I was so happy to see it there again. I ran downstairs to show Marcus. Then I tried to take it off. You can guess the rest.
Here's the part where we talk about all the different ways people and the internet tell you to get a stuck ring off of your finger.
SOAP. Should make it slippery, right? Not enough.
LOTION. Tried three different kinds. None of them worked. The ring would turn around, but wouldn't move up and off.
PREPARATION H. It's an anti-inflammatory, right?
COOKING OIL. See lotion.
BUTTER. See cooking oil.
KY JELLY. See Jen blush that her dad knows what that is.
WINDEX. Apparently it's a miracle worker. Every website I visited (and you'd be amazed at how many there are) said to spray your finger with Windex and the ring would twist off in less than a minute. Of course, I was out of Windex, so I tried the other options first. Eventually, after the other options FAILED, I went to the store for Windex. By this time, I'd been smearing stuff on my finger and pulling at the ring for almost two hours. My finger was turning very red and getting chafed. We gave it the ole college try, but Windex, too, failed me. to the jewelry store I went where a nice lady cut my ring off my finger with a tiny saw. And then I cried.
Poor Marcus. I think we've officially reached the "this thing has cost more for repairs than it cost for me to buy it" point. I haven't dared to ask when we can get it fixed.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Comfort Food Saturday, Take Two: Chocolate Fondue

Since it looks like my cole slaw recipe was a flop, here's something chocolate. Enjoy!

CHOCOLATE FONDUE (just in time for Valentine's Day)

3/4 cup heavy cream
1 pound semisweet chocolate, chopped (or use semisweet chocolate chips)

Add-ins: 1/4 cup of your favorite flavored liqueur (coffee, etc.), 4 tablespoons instant coffee or 1/4 cup brewed coffee, 1/4 cup of your favorite extract (mint, almond, etc.)

In heavy saucepan, bring cream to a boil. Remove from heat and add chocolate. Stir until smooth. Stir into fondue pot. Add any add-ins you'd like. Keep warm over low heat. Serve with dippers of your choice. Recommended dippers: fruit, biscotti, bread or marshmallows.

*If you don't have a fondue pot, you can serve this out of a crock pot. Just make sure your heat is not too high. Mine has a "keep warm" setting that is perfect for fondue.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Comfort Food Saturday: Cole Slaw

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you know that I absolutely HATE mayonnaise. I can't stand the look or smell of it and the taste makes me gag. Therefore, cole slaw was not on my list of things I ate. Then I met my husband. And then I met his mother. And she made cole slaw with vinegar. Oh. My. Word. It is amazing. This is great for BBQs or picnics and gets better the longer it stays in the fridge. I've heard it called "Carolina Slaw," "Boston Slaw, " "That Really Good Slaw Your Mom Makes With The Vinegar" and a few other names. I just call it good. Try it on a hot dog or dip it onto your potato chips. Especially if you're pregnant. (It was one of my cravings)


1 medium head of green cabbage (about 4 cups chopped--julienne it or do it in the food processor)

1 cup cider vinegar

3-4 bunches green onion, chopped

2 tablespoons celery seed

1 tablespoon dry mustard

1 cup sugar

salt and pepper to taste

*You may also add juliened carrots if you like it a little sweeter. (OR use a ready-made bag of cole slaw! EASY!)

Bring sugar, vinegar, mustard and celery seed to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, stirring often until sugar is dissolved. Allow this dressing to cool completely. Once the dressing is cool, pour over shredded cabbage and onions. Allow to marinate at least 3 hours, overnight if possible. Serve chilled, adding salt and pepper to suit your taste.


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Mistress Platelicker: Episode One

We now return to your regularly scheduled episode of Mistress Platelicker with our hero of the hour, Mistress Platelicker herself, Jen and her tiny sidekick Deano the Bambino. When last we saw our fearless mommy heroine (did I spell that right or did I just call myself a street drug?), she had vowed to practice portion control. "Let all eat like toddlers and, thus, look like hotties," she proclaimed. Like all superheroes, however, Mistress Platelicker has one weakness: spinach dip. Could her willpower withstand this bowl brimming to the top with creamy, spinachy goodness?

Its emptiness tells us NO, she could not.

Or how about this sweet tea from Chick-Fil-A?

It, too, rendered her powerless with its sugary goodness. (It would take a toddler a week and a half to finish a cup that size!!!)

In an attempt to regain her super powers of portion control, the mighty Jen exclaimed this morning " Today is the day!" And so it was.

When lunch time rolled around, Deano the Bambino craved comfort food. His 3 1/2 teeth longed to bite through something tender, but also something with some POP to it. And so, our super hero mommy made lunch:

Behold! The small portion of pasta! (that's mine in the red bowl. Dean eats a lot for a little dude)
Behold! The part-skim mozzarella cheese, packed with calcium and protein for strong bones!

Behold! Green peas! In the middle of the day, even!

She ate. And she was satisfied.

Deano the Bambino remains unimpressed.
Moooooooooom, quit making up stories and cut up my pear!
Join us next time as our dynamic duo conquers BREAKFAST!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Let's be honest

In honor of it being only 9 days til Honest Abe's birthday (10 days til MY birthday) and given the fact that I am typing this in my office, where I keep checking the door to see if my boss is coming, much like a seven year old would check to see if her mom was going to catch her staying up past her bedtime, let's be honest with one another:

How much time do you spend on the internet at work for personal reasons? What do you look at?

I read my personal email, sometimes read YOUR blogs (See, it's all your fault. If your lives weren't so interesting, I wouldn't care and would be able to get some work done!), twitter, check facebook, read (ok, that one's actually work-related), and often browse Amazon. When I worked at Cornell, I was addicted to a game called Snood. My co-worker and I both were, actually, and we would play at the same time, then IM each other from across the office to compare scores. (If my former supervisor is reading this--she also shared our office--a light just went off in her head. Actually, who am I kidding? I'm sure she knew.)

If you need to be anonymous in your comment, we will all certainly understand.

Now 'fess up.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

They said it was just a trim, but I thought she might cut my head off

Hey, peeps, Dean here. Would you look at what Mommy and Daddy did to me yesterday!?!?!?!?

They made me get my HAIR CUT! I got excited because I thought we were going to Target. But noooo, we went into this other place where this lady I do not even KNOW put a cape on me (a cape with NO ARM HOLES!) and cut off my hair!

I wanted to slap her hand away like I do when Mom tries to blow my nose, but there were NO ARM HOLES in my cape! Daddy's cape had arm holes. NO FAIR.

Mom was no help. Instead of saving me from this stranger with scissors, she stood there collecting my hair in a zippy bag (how ghetto is THAT?) so she could keep a curl and give one to each of my grandmas. If my grandmas had BEEN there, they certainly would have saved me.

But not Mom. Nope. She just stood there with her zippy bag snapping pictures and taking video.

(I'm only 1. I don't know how to embed videos. GAH.)

Anyway, it was over pretty quickly. The lady with the scissors gave me a sucker, which Mom TOOK. (She's really no fun these days, I tell ya.) I guess I do look pretty good. But I am NEVER doing that again EVER. So there.