Weekend of Gluttony

Rustic Bread, originally uploaded by loumcf

This weekend was all about FOOD. After Natalie went to sleep on Friday night, we watched the France episode of No Reservations. It got me very excited about eating and activated my long-dormant baking gland. After Jenna went to bed, I stayed up to prepare a sponge starter so I could make bread in the morning.

On Saturday I made two loaves of Rustic French bread and tried a new restaurant for lunch: Ruam Mit Thai in downtown St. Paul (egg rolls and curry fried rice). That was a good start, but I was hungry for more! When we found the KitchenAid Ice Cream Maker attachment on sale at Target, well, it was an easy decision.

On Sunday I made our first batch of homemade French Vanilla ice cream. I scrambled up the leftover egg whites for lunch and made a white sauce to go with our gnocchi for dinner. And for dessert, half a dozen lemon poppyseed muffins. Mmmm... I wish this weekend would never end!


BEES LOVE YELLOW, originally uploaded by Betsy J...

Natalie came down with a cold last week and so we all got sick and had a miserable time together. My head is filled with a giant block of snot. Our little petri dish seems to be on the mend now, so hopefully we'll all get better soon.

Sickness aside, her cuteness has continued unabated. One of Natalie's new things to do is ask, "please" when she wants us to give her something. From nowhere that we can tell, she decided to lengthen the word so it comes out "peeeeeeas," or now with her stuffy nose, "beeeeees."

Adorable. But dangerous. She gets doubly mad if we don't do what she asks after saying "please." Natalie knows how the system is supposed to work, and we are DOING IT WRONG.

Year of the Beard

(c) 2010 R. Stevens ::: dieselsweeties.com

I grew a beard over my Christmas vacation to surprise my coworkers with. It was a fine beard, a manly beard. I said I would grow it until Brett Favre led the Vikings to a Superbowl victory, half-jokingly, although it didn't last long after their playoff loss to the Saints.

Jenna seemed to like the beard at first. After a while though, she grew weary of it, so I cut it off. I left some sideburns behind for a few days but she hated those even more. I guess she just isn't the kind of woman who appreciates the perks of a built-in kitten.

p.s. Here's a photo of that beard, for those who asked.

Ash Wednesday

Ash of Pokemon, originally uploaded by Vanman McDez

I am observing Lent again this year. After my epic vegan fail the last time around, I don't see the point in giving that another shot. My diet is restricted enough as it is.

Today's Ash Wednesday reflection from St. John's Abbey quotes Jesus saying, in Luke 9:23, "If you wish to be my disciple, you must take up your cross each day, and follow in my steps." The author comments:

Some of the stuff we hear about Lent suggests that we look for what I would call luxury crosses or substitute crosses. Instead of handling well the cross that is right before us, we decide on something more satisfying to our egos...the only genuine crosses are those we have not chosen ourselves.

He suggests closely looking at your own life to see what good needs to be done.

So for Lent this year, after sober reflection, it became clear what I have to do. I hereby resolve to stop farting in front of my wife. That is my cross to bear.

Death From Above

My MacBook Etching, originally uploaded by ldandersen

Natalie killed our MacBook. I was carrying her in the kitchen and the laptop was set up on the table where we keep it. She was drinking water from a sturdy metal sippy cup. She decided that she was done with it, so she hurled it down to the ground. Only instead of bouncing harmlessly off the hardwood floor like usual, it smacked the computer. Hard.

It was a once-in-a-lifetime shot (hopefully)--a direct hit above the hard drive that left a dent in the precision aluminum unibody enclosure. We had to get the hard drive replaced. MacBooks may be durable, but babyproof, they ain't!

Luckily, the geniuses at the Apple Store were able to rescue most of the data from the old drive, otherwise we would have permanently lost hundreds of baby photos. I swore to get better at backing up our files and I was determined to start as soon as I got home... if only I could find our external hard drive.


Summer, originally uploaded by ubiquity_zh

Sometimes running a craft fair has perks. Last year I was selected to receive a Future Leadership Fellowship from National Arts Strategies. Basically that meant that I got to attend a workshop ("Sustainable Power and Influence") with other local arts businesspeople, and I am officially a "fellow" for a year.

The program was hosted by Springboard for the Arts. Since then I've been working with them on fiscal sponsorship and grant seeking. They're a good organization that is set up to help artists.

This week I returned to Springboard for a recorded interview. They are working on a curriculum for business students about finding (or making) jobs in the creative industries. The students will watch me yakking for an hour and submit additional questions for me to answer. This was fun to be a part of! I hope to do stuff like this more often in the future.

Young Quitters

Young Quitters, originally uploaded by massdistraction

This morning I was trying to organize three events in my spare time, and it was killing me. Now I am only managing two. I quit the fashion event. Planning will be taken over by my co-organizers and I hope they will make it a fantastic success.

They say winners never quit, but you have to recognize when you're over-extending yourself. Say "no" to everything that's not taking you closer to your dreams. Otherwise you'll be too exhausted for the projects you're truly passionate about.

It was a hard decision, but it was the right one. Natalie learned two new words today, "oh no" and "happy." That pretty well summarizes how I feel right now.


Dairyland, originally uploaded by tubes.

Natalie has a word, "uck," which means three things right now. "Yuck," (the original) "milk," and "book." It can get a bit confusing, especially at night when I can't tell if Natalie wants to read another story or her bedtime snack, or if she's just telling me that something displeases her. It's okay because we usually figure out what she means, although nobody else could.

Here's some other parent-ese vocabulary that she's speaking:

  • Bhhr: Bird, especially when referring to my swallow tattoos.

  • [x]ish: Her word for fish starts differently every time but she always sticks the ending.

  • Whee: means she wants to play on her slide (awesome indoor toy for the winter!)

  • Peek: Peek-a-boo

  • Gigga Gigga Gigga: Yo Gabba Gabba!

Night of the Laughing Dead

Pride of the Zombies, originally uploaded by scottnj

Yesterday's post was a little negative. I can imagine Natalie reading this when she's older (on whatever technology replaces the gadget that replaces the iPad) and saying, "Geez DAD. I'm sorry I was such a BURDEN." So I'm reporting that last night she fell asleep like a champ.

After she was out, I got to spend some time with my wife. So what did we do? I sat on the couch with my headphones on and watched Zombieland on the laptop while Jenna did projects and watched Biggest Loser.

At one point I started laughing and Jenna said, "I thought it was a horror movie." "it's a horror comedy." She gave me a funny look. "That's a thing," I assured her. In fact, this is the best RomZomCom since Shaun of the Dead.

Late Night

Santa Monica Spin #3 - Santa Monica Pier, California, originally uploaded by PatrickSmithPhotography

Natalie has stayed up late for the past two nights. She is not fussy, or angry, she just refuses to sleep. Trying to get her to fall asleep when she's like this is quite stressful (as depicted in my comic).

The first night I was able to eventually get her to sleep, but after nearly two hours last night Jenna had to step in and work her magic. I had a quick soak in the tub to relieve the tension. When she finally quieted down it was time for me to go to bed.

I will be so glad when I can tuck her in, say goodnight, and close the door until the next morning! That is a milestone I am eagerly awaiting. But we'll probably have another baby by then. Oh well. I'll see my wife again after the kids leave for college.

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