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I’ve heard from a couple of people that my RSS feed is trying to sell them pharmaceuticals. I don’t know why that’s happening and I don’t know what to do to fix it. Boo hoo to me.
Happy Father’s Day to my two favorite dads: the father of my son and the father of my self.
That title would work better in Spanish, where in and on are the same word and thus punnier.
Anyway, my total friend James is going to be on total Jeopardy (I know there’s supposed to be an exclamation point there, but I can’t bring myself to do it mid-sentence) on June 23. You can read an article about his experience if you like.
He is sworn to secrecy about how it all went, but James is one of the most data-ful people I’ve ever met, so I’m optimistic. However, a high school teacher of mine was also on Jeopardy, and he said it was really more about buzzer timing than knowledge, that everyone was buzzing in on every answer, but you have to hit the button at just the right moment.
Still, I’m very excited to watch James. I hope Alex Trebek did some of his annoying hyper-French pronunciations of words. That cracks me up.
There are lots of movies I need to see this summer.
Brüno (7/10) because Sacha Baron Cohen is pretty fantastic. Seeing Borat in a theater was one of the more memorable experiences of my movie-going life, and I want to see if this next iteration of his shock-comedy lives up to the hype.
I Love You, Beth Cooper (7/10) because it stars (stars!) my college friend and frequent theater collaborator, Paul Rust.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (7/15) because I’ve read the books and seen all the other ones. What am I going to do, quit now? I’m not the hugest Harry Potter fanatic in the world (because there is some stiff competition for that title), but there is something undeniably wiggly about sitting in a cold movie theater, trying not to eat my popcorn until the actual movie starts, and hearing that “doo-da-dee-DOO” theme music.
The Time Traveler’s Wife (8/14) because the book was so good. The trailer makes it look like basically just a romance movie, but the book was so much more than that, and I hope they incorporate those other elements.
Inglourious Basterds (8/21) because my friend Paul is in this one too. I guess his character wasn’t in the original script, but Quentin Tarantino wrote a character just for him after meeting him. I’d see this one anyway, though, because it sounds weird and cool, and I like Tarantino.
I don’t know how I’m going to get all this movie-watching done, considering my current one-movie-every-six-months schedule, but I’ll try to work it out somehow.
I am making a cake.
Or rather, I am glorifying a cake.
I’m going to admit something here: I’ve made cakes from scratch a handful of times, using cake flour and everything, and I’ve never had one come out with that lovely uniform, light texture of a boxed cake mix. So you know what? I’m using a freaking cake mix. Sue me. Can we move forward?
Aside: Why is it spelled forward and not foreward? Every other word I can think of with that prefix (even the homophone foreword) has an e. What gives?
I am making a cake. It’s a chocolate cake, and I wanted to jazz it up a bit, so I added a tablespoon of orange extract to the batter. If what I licked off the beater is any indication, it had a really nice effect. I was also all psyched to make a filling out of a layer of orange marmalade and a layer of chocolate ganache, but then I picked a bunch of strawberries from our garden and I wanted to get those involved, too.
Daunting was the task of layering those three items, but I came up with a brain flash to melt down the marmalade and coat the cut-up strawberries in it. Then I drizzled the melty ganache on top of that.
Next, I made the frosting (cream cheese with a little orange extract in there too) and applied a crumb coat. Confession #2: I’ve never actually done a crumb coat before. I know all the fancy bakers do it, and all those trijillion food blogs I read say you really, deeply must do it. I decided to give it a try this time around, since it’s my first time using my Grammy’s fancy cake stand and I want it to be really pretty.
Right now my crumb coated cake is chilling. I’ll report back when I’ve completed the next step.
Update: Oh my god, you guys. I was a fool to have ever skipped a crumb coat.
Seriously. It was kind of a pain to apply, and it looked like crap, but that was actually kind of freeing. “Don’t worry,” I told myself. “It’s okay that it looks like crap, because no one will see it.” I got the thin coat of frosting on and stuck it in the fridge while I watched part of So You Think You Can Boogie Woogie on Tivo.
When I got back some 40 minutes later and applied the real frosting, it went on like a dream. It coated easily, I didn’t pull off chunks of cake with the offset spatula, and it didn’t glob off onto the sides. I also used a trick I read about on a food blog to stick pieces of parchment under the cake on the cake stand. That way I could pull them out when I was done and the stand would be all tidy.
It looks all cute (if a little lopsided) decorated with my garden strawberries. Tomorrow I’ll update with a picture of a slice of the cake, featuring its orange/chocolate/strawberry goodness.
And here it is with a slice cut out, as promised—actually two slices. Denny and I each had one, even though I wanted thirty.
This month has been full of first for you. You made your first international trip (super fun), you learned to climb things really well (fun for you, scary for us), and you had your first significant illness (fun for no one except the makers of infants’ Tylenol and ibuprofen).
First, the obligatory sleep report: you’re doing much better. You’ve been taking good naps in your crib, and one time this month you slept in your crib for six straight hours. Last night was good—you stayed in your crib for quite a while, and then when you joined us, you slept pretty peacefully. In fact, I don’t even remember the last time you woke up hysterically crying, which used to happen a lot.
This is good news, my dear.
On vacation, we had a king-sized bed, and that was great for our co-sleeping gang. When we got home, our mere queen-sized bed felt small, but we’re getting used to it again. I always said I didn’t like king-sized beds because they’re lonely, even when someone else is there. I clearly had never slept with a sprawly toddler. I think, rather than upgrade beds, we’ll work on getting you to sleep in your crib more, but we’re really just figuring it out as we go.
Isn’t it always like that? Several sets of friends have had babies lately (or will soon), most of them for the first time, and it’s interesting to remember what life was like when we were in their position. You can read as much as you want and make all kinds of decision about how you’ll handle things, and then when it comes down to it, you just wing it.
Speaking of wings (weak segue, sorry), you did pretty well on our recent plane rides. You got a little whiny, but you had no heavy-duty freak-outs. At one point before takeoff, you were playing at your dad’s feet, and your pants fell around your ankles. That greatly amused the people sitting across the aisle.
You’re a tad on the skinny side, and sometimes your clothes droop. You’d been at the fiftieth percentile for both height and weight ever since you caught up from your early-and-smallish beginning, but at this last doctor’s appointment, you had dropped to 25th percentile in weight. The doctor wasn’t too concerned; she said this is the age when kids settle into the body types they’ll have their whole lives. It’s obvious that you’re getting long and lean. It makes me feel less guilty about the fact that they only way I can get you to drink milk is to offer you a 50/50 plain-and-chocolate blend.
You’re definitely less easy to manipulate than you used to be. You are asserting strong preferences and dislikes, and you are an expert in both the ASL sign for more and a vehement head shake of disgust. For the record, here are your current turn-ons and turn-offs:
- Juice/water blend administered from a medicine dropper (this was my brilliant idea after you kept demanding more Tylenol and ibuprofen drops)
- Going down the slide at the playground
- Being outside in general—a quick way to turn a bad mood around for you is a trip outdoors
- Climbing into chairs, onto the hearth, onto the CPU your dad has in front of the bookshelf…pretty much anything scalable.
- Your care provider, Jessa. We’re sad/happy to report that Jessa’s husband has gotten a job in another town, so we need to look for another caregiver for you. It will be hard to beat Jessa and her little boy, Jonah. You snuggle into her shoulder when we leave in the morning, and it makes me feel so relieved that you have someone to care for you whom you love so much. Let’s hope the next person is as good.
- Turning on my clock radio and dancing to the music
- Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons
- High-end digital cameras
- Having your hair washed. This is a new thing. You were always great about leaning back for a hair rinse, but lately, you’ve decided it is absolutely unacceptable. It’s a shame, because it puts a real damper on bath time.
- Accidentally turning on the printer. It scares the bejeezus out of you.
- Locked or closed doors, especially when you can see the outdoors on the other side.
- Having your efforts thwarted.
The “likes” list is a lot longer than the “dislikes,” isn’t it? You’ve really been a fun kid lately, except for this last week when you were sick, but that wasn’t your fault. We think you had roseola, which is a common and minor childhood illness with some scary symptoms (3-5 days of high fever—103.9F in your case—followed by a full-body rash). Luckily, you’re pretty much back to your old self now, eating raisins by the fistful and scrambling around outside with your dad this very minute.
You discovered your love of raisins while we were in the Bahamas. It was a wonderful trip, with mostly great weather, a comfortable condo, and easy access to all we needed: the pool and the beach were right out our doorstep, and it was just a short drive to a grocery store, restaurants, shops, and activities. You ate and enjoyed cracked conch, a Bahamian specialty I ordered and shared with you. You also ate a lot of cereal, which is our go-to food whenever we can’t think of what else to give you. We’d never gotten a raisiny cereal before, but the options were a little limited at the grocery store, and all for the better. You became a raisin maniac.
You didn’t like the beach or ocean a whole lot at first. The water was a little rough for you, and you didn’t like the feeling of sand on your bare feet. By the end of the trip you’d gotten used to it, though, and you even ate some sand. You had lots of fun in the pool, and you mostly did a good job keeping your sun hat on. You charmed many, many restaurant waitstaff with your blown kisses and gimme-fives.
It was a good first international trip—close to home, easy to manage, and relaxing. I can’t wait for our next adventure together.
I can see you out the window right now, your little arm stretched up to hold your dad’s hand. Your yummy-yummy-chub thighs, while still undeniably yummy, are getting less chubby. You take after your father in that. Your big blue eyes are as beautiful as always, but they’re lighting up a little boy face now instead of a baby face.
Oh, you just blew me a kiss.
Thank you, sweetheart. You’re my number one boy forever.
This blog has been rife with technical issues lately. I recently got an email from my hosting service saying my account had been deactivated. There were no further details provided.
The first thing Denny asked me was whether I had any naked photos of Miles posted (I don’t think so—I generally only allow that sort of thing under private status on Flickr). That was a horrifying thought, that I might be accused of being a child pornographer. Then my mind flitted to some possibly copyrighted material I might have hanging around, Greta Garbo photos and stuff. Still, I would have expected a cease and desist (to which I would have gladly complied) rather than a complete and abrupt shut-off.
As it turns out, my site got pwned (or it might have actually been Denny’s site, which runs off my same hosting account, since he was running an older version of WordPress). I got more details out of my host, and they said there’s an exploit in older versions of WordPress that can wreak havoc.
Anyway, I deleted the offending file and Denny upgraded the site to the latest version, so I think we’re good now. However, those of you who subscribe to my RSS feed may need to update.
Whenever this sort of thing happens to other sites I visit, it takes me months to get the new feed, because I just think the person is lazy and hasn’t been posting, since I almost never visit blogs using a regular old browser. We’ll see if my readership goes down from this.
Mostly I was worried that the site would still be down on the 7th for Miles’s 17 month birthday post. I hope nothing rude happens between now and then.