He’s plotting my demise

25 11 2008

Little boys prefer their mommies.  It’s one of those laws of nature.  It’s why, back when we had one child, I pined for a little girl.  I’m over that now.  Now I’m perfectly willing to say “Honey, the baby wants you” or “Go ask Mommy.”  You get the idea.  Mommy’s home, daddy takes the evening off.

Oh.  Hi!  Of course I'm glad to see you!

But a new wrinkle has developed in this little drama.  It’s this.  Since our babies nurse they sleep in bed with us.  (Any comments debating the pros and cons of this practice will be deleted.  You are not allowed to argue on my blog.)  All is well up until this point, or should I say this child.  Nathaniel has decided he doesn’t like me.  If he’s sleeping peacefully alone in our bed and I get in too he wakes up.  It doesn’t matter how quietly or gently I lie down.  First he stirs a little, then he starts fussing.  But Karen shows up and all is right with the world.  It doesn’t matter what time of day this is.  Early morning, late at night, whatever.  Last night Karen was updating her blog and I had to call her in just so I could go to sleep.

If you’re having difficulty following me, let me summarize.  I have been banished from my own bed by a four-month-old.

The funny thing is this.  Karen will come home from work and pick up Nate.  But he’s still staring at me.  This has been giving Karen a complex of sorts, and she’s terrified that Nate is favoring me over her.  The truth is this.  He’s sitting on her lap staring at me thinking (in Stewie’s voice) “She’s mine!  You hear?!  I’ll soon be rid of you!”

Is he still there?  He's ALWAYS there!

I’m going to be watching this one very closely….

Happy Thanksgiving!

Game on

18 11 2008

This is a special guest edition of Twosday Tuesday.  Today Karen documents in a series of images the first official turf war between Benjamin and Nathaniel.  I am assuming it is the first of many struggles in the never ending battle to lay claim to baby toys.  It started innocently enough, with the two of them on the blanket.  We were going to give them each an Oball (that is what they are called), and take some cute baby pictures.

see, we're getting along now

Ben had other things in mind.  As soon as he saw the ball given to Nate he dropped his and positioned himself for a takeover.

hey kid, wanna buy a watch?

For those of you who were wondering if Ben is mobile, this counts as indisputable visual evidence.

why should I be worried?

Funny, Nate doesn’t even look worried yet.

Hey, whatcha doin'?

OK, now he looks a little worried.

O. Hai.  Diz ball iz minez.

I actually heard the words “It will be mine.  Oh yes, it will be mine.”

I can has Oball?

At this point Nate is asking me “You just sat there and let him do that?  Nice.  Yeah, you go put those on your blog.  Good idea.”  At this point we gave Nate the discarded Oball to play with, and he was very happy to have it thank you.

I haz an Oball.

Blog Challenge: Show me your axe

10 11 2008

My friend Bennie posted recently about selling his beloved B.C. Rich Mockingbird bass and it inspired me to come up with a blog challenge.  And it’s pretty simple.  Go up to the attic and dust off that old whatever-it-is.  Saxophone, tennis racket, ashtray from metal shop, whatever.  Take some pictures and tell me a story or two.  And when you do, post a link in the comments so everyone can come hear your tales of glory. 

Here’s mine:

who needs guitar hero?  I am a guitar hero.

When I was nine years old I told my parents that I wanted to be Eddie Van Halen take guitar lessons.  They obliged me, and for six long years I went from teacher to teacher, all of them taking my parents’ money and sucking all of the joy out of playing music.  My mother complained bitterly about how I never practiced and maybe she should sell my guitar.  

Bartolini P-J tone machines

Then in the ninth grade I bought a cheap little bass guitar and a tiny practice amp and got myself a teacher who was a full-time musician in Pittsburgh.  This cat and his brothers had toured as the opening act for Van Halen.  It was 1988 and he had jet black hair halfway down his back and earrings.  To put it mildly, I was inspired.  My mother’s comments changed to “You know, musicians can’t afford to feed their kids.”  Like I cared.  It wasn’t long before I was playing in a basement garage band with some friends.  I was also playing in church and in school; apparently bass players are always in demand.  It also wasn’t long before I decided I needed something a little more awesome, and my teacher knew a guy.

favorite color - RED

The guy had bought a custom made bass from a guitar maker in the Pittsburgh area.  It was a six-string bass, but the strings were spaced closer together than on a normal bass.  Too close, it seems; his large fingers couldn’t play the thing so he was selling it for a song.  I just happened to have a song, so I got it.  And it worked out well, because this is probably the only six string bass in the world that my tiny little fingers can play.  

I call her "Dino," like on the Flintstones.

People who saw me play always asked me if my name was Dino.  My skills were probably so killer that they thought I must have my own signature bass.  

I don’t think Dino makes custom guitars any more.  Now he makes BSX electric upright basses


My red beauty has served me well through high school, college, and beyond.  I’ve played mostly in churches through the years, so I’m not exactly a rock star.  But I still love playing, and whenever I get a chance to play I do.  I have recorded with my Dino bass, and the recording engineer (a fellow bass player) commented on how great its tone is  (and he, being an expert in the field, would know).  So that’s my baby, and if I’m ever inclined to go smashing my guitar London Calling style, it won’t be with this one.

My new favorite mushroom soup

6 11 2008

I’m always up for trying new soup recipes.  I already had a recipe for cream of mushroom soup and I liked it, but I wanted to try a different one anyway.  Why, you may ask?  Because it calls for morels.

Eat them straight out of the bag!  They're crispy!

A while ago I purchased two packages of dried morels off the internet.  Each of these wonderful little 1 oz. packages is equivalent to 8 ounces of fresh mushrooms.  I had one left and I was itching to use it.  So when I saw a recipe calling for wild mushrooms like morels or porcini I knew I’d be in fungus heaven.  

The first step was to make a veloute.  I have no idea what that is, but I followed the recipe.  He said to puree the mushrooms raw and add them to the soup at the end, so that’s what I did.  I’m not sure why, though, because there was another whole step after the veloute was complete.  So if you’re not confused enough, here’s what I did:

Morel Soup

1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Madeira
1 quart chicken broth
1 8 oz package white button mushrooms
1 8 oz package cremini mushrooms
1 cup heavy cream

Cook the onion in butter in a soup pot over medium heat, stirring often to prevent browning.  When the onion turns translucent add the flour and stir over medium heat for 5 minutes more.

Add the Madeira and broth, whisk the soup to get rid of any lumps, and bring it to a simmer.  Simmer for 5 minutes.

Put the mushrooms in a blender and add 1 cup of hte hot soup base.  Blend the mushrooms on high speed.  Add liquid as necessary.  When this is done, add everything back into the soup and add the cream.

That’s the Veloute (I guess).  To finish the morel soup, place the dried morels in a bowl and add just enough Madeira (Yay!) to cover.  After about 20 minutes, remove the morels. Transfer the soaking liquid to a saucepan and simmer the morels in it for 5 minutes.  Carefully lift them out and into a bowl with a slotted spoon so that any sand stays in the pan.  Pour the liquid through a strainer lined with cheesecloth to remove any sand.  Place some morels into each of four serving bowls.  Pour the soaking liquid into the soup base to combine, and serve over the morels in the bowls.

Madeira soup, i mean mushroom soup

I’m not sure if it was the Madeira or the morels (maybe both?), but this was one awesome soup.

A lesson in playing

4 11 2008

Ben shows Nathaniel how it’s done.  Yes, this means I left Ben in charge of Nathaniel.  

And I was trying to use my Jedi powers to move them.

We’ve had this play mat since Isaac was a baby.