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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Idol Chat

Okay, so I'm only half-way through watching AI but I have to post. First, what is the deal with Paula? Is she really that dumb or is she high!? She read her notes like she was trying to defend her dissertation in 1 minute, rather than make a simple comment on everyone's first song. And then? Then she thought Jason sang twice!? I'm really worried that they cast a complete idiot/stoner for this role! Second, why doesn't anyone think Sayesha is as good as I do? That girl can sing, but nobody seems to give her any credit. Brooke sucked, as did Jason. Cook was okay and Archie was eh.

On to the second half of the show.

Oh, and Neil Diamond!? Come on, producers. Give us somebody we can relate to here!

Oh #2, I laughed so hard when Cook interviewed Ryan and he described himself as a kid in the "way back" of the station wagon. I thought it was only Huz who used that term. Ha!

--
Okay, I just finished and here's what I think:

Cook was the best tonight. While I didn't love his first song (his voice was too gruff for my liking), his second song was great. He does know how to make songs (even old, outdated ones) his own.

Brooke's first song sucked, but her second was really good. I love her folksy voice, especially how it sounds like it cracks every now and then. I know that sounds horrible, but if you watch you know what I mean.

Like I said earlier, Sayesha is really good but after watching her second song, I think she'd be better in theater than a recording artist.

Jason - I'm over him. He, unlike others, hasn't improved as the competition has gone on. I think he's the weakest performer by far.

Archie is a one trick pony (God and Country songs are his thang) who makes every song sound exactly the same. I'm really over him.

Your thoughts?

Posted by Bird On A Line @ 8:09 PM
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Sunday, April 27, 2008

No Fry Friday

Like I said, Huz is a wizard in the kitchen. Friday night I was served a glorious meal: roasted chicken in a red wine, honey, ginger, and ancho chili glaze, ginger garlic carrot puree, steamed spinach, and red chili chocolate flan with pecan praline. There was nothing we were celebrating; Huz just felt like cooking. Damn, I love it when that happens! Turns out cutting up a little chicken isn't so hard, so there were no ER runs for us. Phew.

How do you ruin a lovely evening after dining in style? You watch this. I should have known better because I've read the book, but it totally ruined the festive, romantic mood, let me tell you. Note to self: don't watch a downer movie that will make you nauseated if you want a great meal followed by romance (non-sleep activity is what I'm talking about, people). It ain't gonna happen.

Posted by Bird On A Line @ 9:34 AM
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Friday, April 25, 2008

Chef Challenge

I think you all know by now that Huz is a wizard in the kitchen. The man cooks some mighty find food that I and all of our friends enjoy. He got a little downhearted when I showed him a fellow blogger hubby's knife skillz, however. Why? He's never cut up a whole chicken. So, as we speak, he's doing his research in preparation for tonight's dinner. Lest we make a trip to the ER, I will not be recording the event and timing him. Sorry, Roth. The competition will have to wait!

Posted by Bird On A Line @ 9:53 AM
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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Just So You Know

I booked an hour-long massage for myself next Friday afternoon. Can't wait!

Posted by Bird On A Line @ 10:38 AM
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Idol Chat

Dear 12 Year Olds of America,

You got it wrong. Woefully wrong. It should have been him or her. Definitely not her. I mean, come on, I know that Brooke is cute, bubbly, and sweet, but two false starts on live TV? You just can't do that. And while I love his eyes and dreads, Jason isn't a great live stage performer. They should have been the bottom two.

Try harder next week.

Victoria (a.k.a. The One Who Never Votes for AI but Feels Free to Bitch About it)

Posted by Bird On A Line @ 8:36 AM
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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Things I Love

Things Money Can't Buy:

The complete snackable goodness of these one of a kind Thunder Thighs.

5 months old - thunder thighs

Baby opera.

5 months old - opera singer

My family.

5 months - spending time with daddy

Things Money Can Buy:

This Little Piggy Flashlight.

This plantable greeting card (thanks to Dooce for the link).

These various funky items.

These children's illustrations by a friend's girlfriend.

These stylish and reversible bibs at Target (I got a pink and green one for Claire on Friday - gotta love that rice cereal dribbling down her chin!).

[How could I forget these adorable socks that I haven't shelled out the money to buy yet!?]

Posted by Bird On A Line @ 8:11 PM
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Monday, April 21, 2008

Signs Of Spring

Ah, the signs of spring are everywhere and I'm playing hooky today.

Our new trees we bought last summer are in full bloom:

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There are cats in window sills enjoying the breeze:

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It is beautiful and mild here right now. I only wish it would stay like this all summer instead of getting hot and humid.

We did a ton of work this weekend landscaping our front yard. It previously had zilch in the way of plants.

Before:

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But now it's got fresh, stinky mulch and flowering plants a plenty. We got some quotes on painting the house too, so the ugly turquoise is short-lived. Yippee!

New Landscaping

The bees like it too:

A Bee Enjoys the New Flowers

These are marigolds from seeds my Mom gave me last summer.

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Then we celebrated Claire's 1/2 birthday yesterday and had friends over for a BBQ. The guest of honor slept through most of her party, but we ate and laughed on her behalf. Here's the lovely baby girl on her special day:

1/2 Birthday Party

Here she is with our friend Lauren:

1/2 Birthday Party

And here's Lauren's sweet little Lottie:

Lottie

It's kinda ugly, but I made her a 1/2 birthday cake:

1/2 Birthday Cake

We had a good time.

It was a lovely weekend and I'm just amazed how quickly my baby girl is growing before my eyes. She is so lovely, so pure, so beautiful. I fall in love with her more and more every single day. Happy half of a year my darling baby Claire. I love you so much!

5 months old - angelic

Posted by Bird On A Line @ 11:45 AM
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Friday, April 18, 2008

Thank You, Claire

I'd like to thank Claire for waking us up at 4:30 this morning. No, I'm serious. If she didn't, I wouldn't be able to say that I experienced my second earthquake.

Have I got your attention?

The first earthquake I experienced was about a decade ago when Huz and I were in the Philippines*. We were in Manila at a restaurant and all of a sudden the water in our glasses started to slosh. It was like we were dining in a ship at sea. It only lasted a few surreal minutes and I honestly had forgotten all about it until yesterday when I emailed my Mom to ask how her recent trip to San Francisco went. "Fine," she said, "except I was worried about an earthquake." I later asked a co-worker if there was some immanent earthquake danger in the San Francisco area and he said that some newspaper said that one should hit sometime before 2037. Leave it to my Mom to worry about it that far in advance.

*We were there on a missions trip - back when we thought we were preachers bringing the good news...yada yada yada.

Then! Irony of ironies! We felt an earthquake this morning! The epicenter was on the Illinois/Indiana/Kentucky border and it was a 5.4 rating. When Claire got me up for her breakfast at 4:30, I wondered out loud, "why are the windows rattling!? Is it raining?" Huz looked out the bedroom window but didn't say anything. The rattling lasted less than a minute and we went about our business (i.e., him sleeping and me feeding and putting Claire back to bed). I wouldn't have even thought about it if he hadn't called me on my way to work to tell me it was an earthquake. I'm still in shock (get it? shock!).

Posted by Bird On A Line @ 8:12 AM
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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

You Tell Me










[So, here's the thing. I lurve me some massage and hardly ever get them. I melt like butter under the hands of a trained professional (Oh my, that sounded dirtier than I meant it). But, I tried on the cutest pair of metallic pink flats at Macy's last weekend (I can't for the life of me find a picture of them - not at macys.com, not at clark's website - what the heck!?). I'm torn and that's where your vote comes in, but as of writing this the votes are nearly neck and neck!]

Posted by Bird On A Line @ 8:59 AM
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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

lalala

Oh, hi. What? No, I'm not doing anything wrong. What am I chewing on? Nothing. Okay, okay. It's a bite-sized Twix. I know I'm not supposed to, but BITE ME! I feel like it, okay?

What gives? I'm really bitchy and weepy lately. Huz and I were watching Planet Earth last night after the Bear was asleep and I cried when a polar bear died. Is my long lost period coming back? I HOPE NOT.

Posted by Bird On A Line @ 2:58 PM
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Monday, April 14, 2008

Chatty

How can she be Chatty Cathy if her name is Claire?

My girl just LOVES to talk lately. Our house is filled with her "ba, bah, ba, bahs."
I even got her to accidentally say Mama the other day. Huz and I looked at each other in shock when it happened, but it really happened - TWICE IN A ROW.

Huz says she's going to be just like me and I love it! Chat away, my dear!

Posted by Bird On A Line @ 12:23 PM
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Saturday, April 12, 2008

Junk Drawer (a.k.a. Random Thoughts in No Particular Order)

Okay, was anyone else offended by the religiosity of American Idol the other night? Why do they need to sing "Shout to the Lord," which is an ├╝ber evangelical Christian song!? I fast forwarded right through it and immediately said, "how is that not offensive to non-Christians!?" I understand that the theme was inspirational, but that song simply does not apply to a lot of people (including me - I hate that kind of emotionally manipulative crap). Weren't a lot of people offended or excluded - the Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Atheist? Huz replied, "how is that not offensive to Christians?" And he's right. Um, hello? You're singing a Jesus song on a show that idolizes people. Last I checked, that was on the 10 Thou Shalt Not list. Plus, it's just completely not the place for that kind of song. Ugh. Also, I was kinda pissed that Michael Johns got booted and not that stupid Kristy Lee Cook girl. I can't stand her.

I went to the mall today with a friend and was told no less than 5 times that Claire was "beautiful," and "the Gerber baby." Now that's the way to make me smile!

We decided to throw Claire a Half Birthday party on April 20th. I look forward to coming up with some fun ideas - like making half cupcakes, half burgers, maybe even making everyone wear half birthday hats. Oh, what a great excuse a child is to be silly!

That's all I can think of at the moment. Have a groovy weekend everybody.

Posted by Bird On A Line @ 3:13 PM
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Friday, April 11, 2008

Reading

I've been slow at updating my reading list on the sidebar, but I recently read my first Cormac McCarthy book, The Road, and was so profoundly effected by it that I sobbed afterwards. It is rare that I find a piece so moving and so haunting. It's not exactly an uplifting novel - it traces the life of a man and his young son as they wonder around merely surviving in a post-apocalyptic world. The earth is ravaged and so are the few that are left to inhabit it. The book explores the many sides of humanity, from the most miserable and base to the most beautiful and pure. I see it as a de-evolution of sorts - where humans become animals again. It puts you in a profoundly uncomfortable and disturbing place.

And yet.

Somewhere in the middle of all that, McCarthy captures the beautiful, the good. He captures love and the side of humanity that I want to believe is in all of us - the part that is the stamp of God, perhaps. It's found in the simple, pure conversations between father and son. This is where love, trust, and devotion reside in the novel - they are traits that all humans are capable of, but easily lay aside. In a time of war and unrest, this novel is eye-opening. I highly recommend it.

Posted by Bird On A Line @ 9:12 AM
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Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Claire's Corner

There. I successfully posted a couple of times without overloading you with stories or pictures of Claire Bear. But the madness must stop! At least bear with me (get it, bear!?) this time and let me share some recent photos of my darling baby with you.

She's 5 months old (almost 6!) and has been doing lots of fun, new things, the first of which made me cry.

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Did I stub my toe? No. Did I get in a fight with Huz? No. It was nothing like that - I simply fed Claire rice cereal for the first time and it made me sad because she's growing up too quickly and, as stupid as it sounds, it was her first step of not needing me. Sniff!

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We also have been practicing sitting up.

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And sucking on the thumb.

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And trying out the excersaucer - she's so short she has to be on her tiptoes.

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And spending time with Daddy.

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And spending time with Mommy.

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Ahhh. That feels better. Thanks for letting me share!

Posted by Bird On A Line @ 9:24 AM
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Monday, April 7, 2008

Addict

I've never understood addictions. I was always rather straight-laced growing up (I suffer from being a first-born) and was too busy with Honor Roll, folk dancing, cheerleading, and being a Thespian to dabble into drugs or alcohol. So the idea of being addicted to something is beyond me. I mean, come on, the first time I tried pot was when I was 29 years old and the only reason I wanted to try it was to be able to say I did it before I turned 30 (I'm living large over here, folks). I watch movies like Owning Mohowny or Love Liza (yes, I love Philip Seymour Hoffman, people) and just shake my head. I see the tabloids of pitiful Hollywood youth after pitiful Hollywood youth who has checked into rehab again and I shake my head. I just don't get it. I've never understood how substances have power over you and take over your life.

Until.

Until last week, when I was told that I had to stop eating foods with sugar or yeast in them due to an on-going yeast infection in my milk ducts. I promptly learned what addiction was then. My body was like, "what the fuck!?" when I stopped eating sweets for 3 straight days and it promptly made me eat profuse amounts of them for the next 3 days. I am clearly addicted to sugar and I don't know how to stop. I think about it at night after dinner - imagining the cool, sweet feel of ice cream on my tongue, or the satisfying crunch of a chocolate-covered peanut. It's practically impossible to pass on the cookie in the boxed lunches at work meetings (not the mention that they are sandwiches and, hello? bread has yeast in it). I'm completely surrounded by sugar and to be told I can't have it? Laughable. And then there's the yeast thing. Okay, so I can't have bagels or english muffins for breakfast anymore. Great. My only option, other than starving, is to become one of those people and spend $5 on a loaf of yeast-free, tree-hugging bread. Which I did and it's really not bad if I'm honest with you. But $5!? Gah! So what can I eat for breakfast other than eggs, yeast-free toast and plain yogurt? I can't have cereal because there's too much sugar, I can't have waffles or pancakes because of the carbs (even if I could, I can't have syrup), I can't have fruit. And, the worst part? After 9 long months of being told I couldn't drink? I can't have WINE because it's fermented and encourages yeast growth! Are you KIDDING me, people!?

Excuse me while I whither and die over here in my pitiful addiction to sugar and yeast.

Posted by Bird On A Line @ 3:00 PM
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Arbonne Trial: Nevermind

I'm afraid that I've ended the Arbonne trial. I kept breaking out in red bumps and my scalp has been itching for 2 days straight. What the hell!? I'm relieved, really, because if I loved it I would have been tempted to spend my birthday money on it (I still haven't spend it and my birthday was in February!) and then I wouldn't get a massage, which is what I really want.

Posted by Bird On A Line @ 9:57 AM
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Saturday, April 5, 2008

Arbonne Trial Update

This isn't going as well as I had planned. Maybe it's because my face has been so deprived this last year, receiving nary a splash of water or a quick wash with the stuff that has been likened to semen, but it ain't liking the new Arbonne products so much. I broke out again this morning - this time after I put on the eye cream. There must be something in both it and the lifting gel that is supposed to minimize wrinkles by making your skin puffy. I don't have wrinkles yet, unless you count laugh lines but I've had those since I was in my 20s, and my face is reacting by getting red and rashy. Not exactly what I had in mind. I'll try again tonight sans eye cream and if I break out again, I'm calling this experiment quits.

Anyone have any product recommendations? I want a naturally-derived product (read: plant based, no animal by-products, or animal testing) that smooths and evens skin tone and is made for (obviously) sensitive skin.*

*And here I've been blaming Claire's sensitive skin on her Daddy, but I think I may have contributed to that gene pool too. We just took her to a pediatric dermatologist yesterday to check on her continual diaper rash, cradle cap, and body rash - in short, her diagnosis is sensitive skin/eczema. Poor baby.

Posted by Bird On A Line @ 9:23 AM
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Friday, April 4, 2008

Arbonne Trial: Day One

Internet, I trust you. So much so that I'm going to conduct an experiment and ask you to help me decide how to spend my money. I'm going to try Arbonne facial products for a week, chronicling the results with daily pictures of my naked, make-up free face (I'm sorry in advance), and then I'll ask you what you think.

So , this is my naked face tonight before I put anything on:

Arbonne Trial: Day One - before using products

This is right after I applied the products for the first time:

Arbonne Trial: Day One - just put the products on

And this is 5 minutes later when my face began to break out in sensitivity to
something I put on. Not a very good way to begin the experiment, huh? I think it was
a new product in the line because when I used this stuff a few years ago I had no sensitivity at all. I'll leave this out of the experiment from now on.

Arbonne Trial: Day One - sensitivity/break out -- not too good

Posted by Bird On A Line @ 7:22 PM
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Wednesday, April 2, 2008

April Fool's!

And here I thought the Internet(s) was all mean and shit, but none of you harassed me for that obnoxious color scheme yesterday - I mean, come on! Would I honestly want a Pepto Bismol pink background with neon blue font? And would I change the title of my blog (in blinking font, no less) to "All Claire All the Time"? It was an April Fool's joke and nobody said anything. Maybe you all got a strange look on your face and mumbled insults into your hands. I guess I should thank you for being nice, but I hope you believe that I have better aesthetic sensibilities than that!

On an aside, I jokingly renamed the blog "All Claire All the Time," knowing that I have begun to go down the route of mommy blogging lately. I cannot deny that having a baby has changed my life, given me new perspectives, rocked my world, but I'm more than just Claire's Mom (can you believe my friend called me that the other day!? I'm what? I'm who? VICTORIA, that's who!). Undoubtedly, my identity has changed; it's tied to an entirely different person - I am Claire's mom. But I'm also still me. Victoria T.M.I. Winters and I have other things to say, other things I think about. So, in an effort to diversify for my audience and in an effort to nurture the "woman inside the mother," I will try my hardest to be more diverse in my writing. I need to preserve memories of her when she's so small and I have grandparents checking in around the clock, but I also have the rest of you reading. The ones I want to stick around and whose comments I want to keep coming. This blog has always been cat-centric, now it's baby-centric. I'll try to talk more about the other facets of my life, I promise.

Posted by Bird On A Line @ 8:30 AM
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My Food Blog

Quesadillas and Drinks

Watching

Weeds
Nurse Jackie
Dexter
United States of Tara
So You Think You Can Dance
True Blood
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Lost

Book Reading

Am


Was

Julie and Julia
Caramelo
Thirteenth Tale
Kite Runner
No Country For Old Men
The Road
What To Expect When You're Expecting
Water for Elephants
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
Baby Wise
Norwegian Wood
Rabbit Redux
Rabbit, Run
Middlesex
On Beauty
Cement Garden
Eat, Pray, Love
Cute, Quaint, Hungry and Romantic: The Aesthetics of Consumerism
The History of Love
Pure Style Living
All The Names
Collage Discovery Workshop
Hard-Boiled Wonderland and The End of the World
Fugitive Pieces
Couples
Taking Charge of Your Fertility
A 90 Day Guide...
The Girlfriend's Guide to Pregnancy
Fast Food Nation
The Reader
Angel's World
Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
Black Dogs
Enduring Love
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
Atonement
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Postcards

Blog Reading


Blissful
Blue Poppy
Bookish Bent
The Burkerts 3
Colors of My Mind
Cool Hunter
The Craziness We Call Life
Creative Musings
Doahleigh
Dooce
Fickle Feline
Finslippy
The Forth Clan
Geek's Pensieve
Greeblemonkey
Green Genes
Holly Needs a Hobby
I Pretty Much Hate Everything
Inevitably Keely
Isoglossia
Jenski
Just Jenn
Mighty Girl
Mimi Smartypants
Modern Cottage
Mothers of Invention
My Head is Full of Stuffing
Nienie Dialogues
Pandlabroad
Possum Holler Press
Quarter Life Crisis
Sarcomical
Say It, Don't Spray It
Schmutzie
Self Passage
So Not Cool
Super Hero Journal
Tea and Brie
Three Girls and a Guy
Unfogged
Waiter Rant
Who Knew?
Whoorl
Wise Craft
Work It, Mom
You Go Grrrl

Kid Related


Baby Cheapskate
Cool Mom Picks
Green Mom Finds
Project Nursery/
Rookie Moms
The Soft Landing

Home Style


Apartment Therapy
Design Sponge
Shelterrific

Art/Photography


Amy Ruppel
Boho Photography
Chromasia
Daily Dose of Imagery
Deceptive Media
Decor 8
Little Purple Cow Photography
Non dairy Diary
Not Martha
Photo Junkie
Piddleloop
Three Potato Four
Shutter Sisters
STC Craft
Tiny Showcase

Food


101 Cookbooks
Becks & Posh
Bitten
Chocolate and Zucchini
Chow
David Lebovitz
Delicious Days
The Domestic Goddess
Food Beam
My Vintage Kitchen
Orangette
The Perfect Pantry
The Post Punk Kitchen
Serious Eats
Smitten Kitchen
Vegan Yum Yum