30 July 2007

The Cool Tattoo

dwafs redux

We did it. We finally had our Southern dwafs. We watched "To Kill a Mockingbird" and ate Southern food. And ate and ate and ate... Oh, wait. That was just me. I meant to say I ate and ate and ate...

The past two months, we have wanted to have this southern dwafs, but both times no one showed up. I'm wondering if we should in future suspend dwafs during the summer since we can't seem to get our shit together.

But it was worth the wait, people. First of all, Gregory Peck. Sigh. I cried through almost the entire movie. I just love movies with father/daughter relationships. They just kill me. Haha, maybe I should start a father/daughter films film society--the fdffs. Haha, I just like trying to pronounce "fdffs" really.

But, God, people, the food. The fooooood. We had fried chicken, sausage balls, mashed potatoes, biscuits, macaroni and cheese, fried cauliflower, cornbread, cucumber salad, tomato sandwiches, blackberry/lemon curd pies, and red velvet cupcakes. With sweet tea, of course.

So I had a naughty eatin' weekend. Because on Saturday night we hung out (with the toodlers, who behaved very well) at Olivia and Katherine's place with SweetElisa and Olivia's father and stepmother. Who I really enjoy.

We meant to attend the Bluemont Concert Series and see the Mambo Combo perform latin caribbean music, but there was thunder and lightening, so we went to Olivia and Katherine's and ate all the food we had all packed up--watermelon, spinach dip, caprese salad, and white sangria that Olivia's stepmother made. (Told you I really enjoy them.)

Anyway, Olivia and Adrienne are coming over tomorrow night to watch "The 300" and I told them we have got to eat healthy food. No more of this badass food. Especially since Jonny is trying to eat better, dear man.

So I am going to go google healthy recipes (ho-hum) but first I will post some recipes from my fabulous weekend:

Insalata Caprese

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from about 1/2 lemon)
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/4 pounds assorted tomatoes
6 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, drained and sliced
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil leaves

Whisk the lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in the oil to blend. Set the dressing aside.

Cut regular tomatoes into 1/4-inch-thick slices and any cherry or grape tomatoes in half. Top with the dressing. Sprinkle with basil and additional salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

Strawberry Hand Pies

1 1/2 cups strawberries, hulled and cut in half or quarters
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
pastry dough
1 egg, lightly beaten
sugar to sprinkle on top

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a medium bowl, add strawberries, sugar, and cornstarch; stir to combine, set aside.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll dough into a large rectangle, about 1/8-inch-thick. Using a 5-inch cookie cutter, cut out 6 rounds.

Transfer rounds to baking sheet.
Place about 2 tablespoons of the strawberry mixture onto one-half of each round. Lightly brush egg around the edge of the covered half of each round. Fold remaining dough over to enclose, forming a half moon. Gently press edges together to seal. Brush the tops of each pie with egg. Using a paring knife, slash the top of each pie. Sprinkle generously with sugar.

Bake until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes.

JenPerry made these pies with fresh blackberries and lemon curd for filling, and they were deeeelicious, so I'm assuming they work with whatever fruit you have on hand.

27 July 2007

my newest addiction

is Monarch of the Glen. Thank you, Olivia, so very much for introducing me to Archie. I was up half the night watching the show and now the voices in my head have Scottish accents.

I love this show. I wish we got BBC. Or lived ... sigh ... you know where. (Over the pond.)

Archie reminds me of a shorter, not quite as cute version of my own Jonny. But he has an English accent, and fabulous thick woolen sweaters. And big ol' 90210 sideburns like Jonathan had when we met. In case you were wondering, I have already asked him if he will grow them back out for me.

25 July 2007

the next food network star

There is a phrase from a poem by Mark Strand that I love:

Ink runs from the corners of my mouth
There is no happiness like mine
I have been eating poetry

I love this phrase so much because I love poetry so much. And I love the image of me, devouring poetry, licking ink from my lips. Reading poetry is so satisfying. Like eating my favorite foods.

And I love when I come across a poem that is so perfect, that it seems as though the poet reached into my mind and just pulled their words right out.

The poem, Pantry, that I just posted is one of those poems. I got goosebumps when I found it. Seriously. Because my Lion loves to play in our pantry. He is forever going in there. Jonathan and I say he is going to be a little chef, just like his daddy. And I really believe it.

The Lion comes from a long line of great cooks. (Not counting myself, people.) Jonathan and my mom are both obsessed with food. They love to cook, and when they are not cooking, they both love watching other people cooking on tv, reading cookbooks, talking about food and imagining ways they would alter recipes. They cannot eat and merely enjoy the food. They have to sit there and dissect the dish while they are tasting it, figuring out what ingredients are in there and how they could improve upon it. And I am not joking.

So I see my Lion, rummaging in the pantry and I bitch about how I need to get a lock for the door, but I really don't want to discourage him. I think he has inherited this love of food. And I think it is awesome.

I'll be sitting on the couch and my son will waddle over to me and hand me a bottle of salad dressing. Olivia was over last week and while we were talking, Lion brought me a jar of sliced mushrooms and then a can of chipotle peppers. Olivia laughed, but I told her, "He does this all the time."

In fact, he just handed me a package of muffin mix.


for R.M.M.

We wander into the kitchen
you lead with "dis way"
the moon in the window
big as clotted cream in the soup.
The keeper of all great mysteries
opens its jaws to let us in.

"pice?" you ask and point.
"yeah," "loogat dat," "gookie,"
"nana," and everywhere "dat"
a finger showing the way.
We stand in the pale light
Nutmeg. Cinnamon . . .

The house sleeps and I lose thought
of your weight as though the moon
carries you too and makes you and the ocean
light as ethers and I could stay here
all night naming jars and smelling
your perfect, perfect skin
while you forge language
out of this heavenly domesticity
out of glass jars and exotic dark spice.
Turmeric. Paprika. Thyme.

Micheline Maylor

23 July 2007

Monday funnies

me: Blue, do you want some fish sticks and tartar sauce?

Blue: No, I want fish sticks and vagina sauce.

in a nutshell

Allow me to sum up the past week since I neglected to blog:

Jonathan and I joined a gym. Olivia came over, bringing Thai food and we watched Victoria Beckham: Coming to America. Verdict is still out on the show. Not enough David.

Jonny and I took the kids (and their cousin, Emily) down to Richmond to meet with a home inspector and examine the house we were interested in buying. Key word is "were." House needed a loooot of work, so we passed.

Jonny and I took a yoga class together at the gym. Wonderful. Wonderful. Wonderful. Still sore though.

The Lion cried.

Jonny and I returned to Richmond with Lion while Emily stayed here with Blue. We put an offer on a second house. The Lion cried.

The Lion had a fever in the morning and then slept for most of the afternoon. House was blissfully quiet. I spent the entire day prone on the couch with my nose buried in the new Harry Potter book. Cannot believe the series is over.

Yardwork. The Lion cried.

brand new for your enjoyment...

Another friend of mine, who shall remain anonymous, has a blog. It's contagious, people. And humbling. Because, yet again, this blog is way funnier than mine. Check it out.

My own mother is reading Olivia's blog, and then telling me how hilarious she is. Yeah, um, I know. She's my friend. Mine. And now, another friend, She Who Must Not Be Named, has a blog. Sigh. I wonder if my mom will bother to read mine anymore. I'll have to post more pictures of the toddlers to keep her comin' back for more.

(I have decided to just go ahead and call them the "toodlers" since I freakin' type it that way every time anyway.)

New addition number two (and certainly no less important!): My dear friends, Flanna and Jeremy have a new baby! Hold on, let me grab the (beautiful) birth announcement so I get this right...

Zephyrin Oliver Birch Smith
July 15, 2007
8 pounds, 14 ounces
22 inches

I am so freakin' excited for them, I can't stand it. This is Flanna's second son, but Jeremy's first. And I am so thrilled. So thrilled. Flanna is an amazingly cool mom and Jeremy has been so amazing with Jasper that I have been secretly wishing a baby on them ever since their wedding. And, lo and behold, it has come to pass. Watch out, Roxanna. I am also secretly wishing a baby on you and Tim as well. Bwahahaaaaa! (When you both are good and ready blahblahblah, obviously...)

Anyway, I have known Jeremy for a looong time now (seven years?) and have always thought he would make a great father. And seeing him with Jasper confirmed this. So, congratulations, Jeremy and Flanna! Congratulations, Jasper! And most of all, congratulations, Zephyrin! You belong to one kick-ass family!

16 July 2007

tramp stamp

more things, please

I love this necklace. It has a little body cutout and then on the piece underneath it, it says "a good friend will help you move ... a body." Andrea, if I was loaded, I would buy this for you. Today. Just because...

Jonathan changing the Lion's diaper:

"Calm down, dude! It's not like I want to change your diaper. I don't like lookin' at your little 'nads. You have the nastiest diaper ever... Dude! Stop it! Get your foot out of your crap!"

fabulous announcement!

My dear dear friend, Olivia has a blog!!!!!!!!

I am so excited, because Olivia is hilarious, people, hilarious... This should be a fantastic read... Check her out.

14 July 2007

things I covet

I've been wasting time "shopping" online while Jonathan is doing yardwork. Bad Erin, baaaaaaad. Here are a few of the things I have been drooling over today.

a brown betty teapot:

this necklace:this Disappearing Wives of Henry VIII coffee mug:

the moral of the story

My mother is such a downer. I was telling her yesterday how badly I want to see the new Harry Potter movie and how I was so bummed that Jonathan and I couldn't go (no sitter) and she said:

"Well, we don't always get what we want in life."

So I was like, "What on earth is the matter with you?!"

She said she didn't know. She's just been down lately. I think she just needs a dose of the toddlers to cheer her up. They always crack me up.

Like last night. I was lying in bed with Blue, putting her down for the night. Jonathan had just taken the trash out and I could hear water running downstairs.

Blue put her hand up to her ear and whispered dramatically, "Do you hear that?"

I said, "Yes. It's Daddy washing his hands."

"No. It's not," she told me, "It's Daddy peeing."

She's so funny.

We were in the fabric store yesterday and she yelled, "Hey, lady!" to this woman shopping a couple of hundred yards away.

"Blue," I said, "What are you doing?! No yelling in the store."

"Sorry," she told me, "I just scaring the ladies."

She is so much fun to be around. My life must have been so quiet before she arrived. I tell her all the time, "I wanted you my whole life."

Sometimes, we do get what we want in life, Mom.

07 July 2007


We have new neighbors! An older German couple. I haven't met him yet, but I met her yesterday and she seems very sweet. She is very trim, was wearing crisp white capri pants, and has a sleek Anne Bancroft bob. I am always thinking, upon meeting or even just observing women like that: I want to be like that when I'm older. Like my stepmother, Judi. She is very fit (makes smart food choices, walks a lot) and dresses very stylishly. But I am starting to believe it is impossible for me to turn into a woman like that. Poof! Why should I become an older stylish trim woman when I am not a younger stylish healthy woman?

This realization sucks.

I think I will be more like Ouiser from "Steel Magnolias" with goofy mismatched clothes and my Converse sneakers. Only fatter. She types while scarfing a chunk of pound cake for breakfast.


Tonight should be fun. Olivia and Katherine are coming over and we're going to have a cookout and then toast marshmallows around the firepit. It has been so freakin' hot here, that our fourth of July cookout was indoors. England with its cool summers looks better and better to me...

I think I hear the Lion stirring... He's so cute. He wore his little Manchester United uniform to Lowe's yesterday. He looked adorable! I told Jonathan that Lion should dress up as David Beckham for Halloween. I just need to find little knee socks. I asked Jonathan, "Should we put a headband on him, or do you think no one would get it?" I don't think people around here would get it. Oh, well... Maybe they'll think he's supposed to be Mia Hamm or something...

That reminds me, on the way home from Lowe's, Blue was talking to herself in the backseat:

Blue: Daddy is so mean!
Blue: No, he not mean! Daddy nice.
Blue: Oh.
Blue: Daddy's a boy. Like you.
Blue: Like me?
Blue: Like you.
Blue: Ohhhhh.

Jonathan looked at me and whispered, "Schizo." Even the Lion was staring over at her, with this look on his fat little face like What the hell...?
She also keeps doing this little imitation of me that Jonathan thinks is absolutely hilarious. On the way to New Jersey last week, I freaked out a bit in classic Erin style because I thought the car beside us was cutting into our lane. I gasped and then I said, "Sorry!" because I had scared the hell out of Jonathan. So for a solid week now Blue has been mimicking me. She lets out a very loud, very theatrical gasp and then she mutters "Sorry." Jonathan cracks up every time.

06 July 2007

the garden state

We had a very lovely weekend. Jonny and I took the toddlers up to New Jersey to visit family. My great-aunt, TeeSee, turned 80 and her daughters threw her a surprise party on Saturday afternoon.

It's so convenient, because both of our families are from New Jersey. Practically the same town, so it is a little funny.

So on Saturday, Jonathan and I got up at 4 am to load the car and wake the babies and get them settled in their car seats. Poor Blue looked so funny, with her hair all over the place and her puffy little face. Her voice was very gruff.

We left by 5 am and the kids were wonderful in the car! By 10:30 am we arrived in Bound Brook, at his aunt and uncle's house. I felt so bad because his Aunt Lizzy had made about 100 pounds of bacon and I had been munching on egg mcmuffins and cookies and combos in the car so I wasn't very hungry!

We had such a wonderful, wonderful time because first of all, his family is awesome, but also because his cousin, Jill, has a daughter who is the same age as Blue. Literally. They were born 7 days apart. They haven't been together since Grace's christening when the girls were 3 months old, so it was really cool to watch them playing. Uncle John kept calling them Pete and Repeat.

And none of his extended family had met the Lion yet! So, needless to say, they were quite taken with him. What can I say, he's a charmer!

Uncle John with the Lion

Aunt Lizzy and Uncle John have a swing in their back yard tied to a tree, and it is tied so high up the tree that you swing very far back and forth. Blue and Lion loved it. So, of course, Aunt Lizzy bought us the same swing and it is now hanging from a tree in our woods. It is so peaceful; I could swing all day--Jonny has a wooden swing for adults that we swap out on the same ropes.

Lion and my mother's cousin, Bill

We went to my great-aunt's party, which was lovely. It was so nice to see the family again, and to watch Blue play with her little cousin, Cooper, on my side of the family as well as with Gracie. And we spent the rest of the weekend at John and Lizzy's house.

I love New Jersey. I love that in Bound Brook, you can walk to everything. I love the bakeries. Jonathan had 6 bagels for breakfast on Sunday! God, you should have seen this one horrible thing he made himself--a bacon and butter sandwich on a salt bagel. I thought he'd have a heart attack right there on the spot.

I cannot get over how well-behaved the children were. The Lion did scream for about 2 hours on the ride home, which sucked, but we all survived. And it's not a long drive, really, so we hope to make it up there again!

things i love-#27

now I can blog in the kitchen!

05 July 2007


Jonny and I went to Friendly's the other night with the toddlers; I had worked up quite an appetite pushing the lawn mower around the yard!

We had the worst waitress ever. She was this older Russian woman. We were seriously there for hours. Trying to keep the babies entertained. What an ordeal. I think if you are eating out with small children, your server should put a rush on your order to get you fed and get you the hell outta there before your children get rowdy.

We ordered and then about 20 minutes later, the waitress brought the kids' dinners. I asked (very politely) if we could get our beverages, and the waitress looked at me like I was being a nuisance and said, "Ya, ya, I bring them when I bring your food."

After about five more minutes, she brought our dinners. Without our drinks.

We watched her taking orders and collecting her tip from the table across from ours, and then after about 10 more minutes, she brought our drinks.

Did she apologize for the delay? No. She set the glasses down and I said, "Oh, thank you! I am so thirsty!"

"Ya, you know, sometimes it happens this way," she told me and disappeared.

Now I worked in many different restaurants. I know that this doesn't just happen. You, the server, either bring the customers their drink order, or you don't.

But still. I have waited tables and let me tell you, it is hard work. I think everyone should have to wait tables for at least one summer of their lives, so that they realize how hard it is and so they cut their waiters and waitresses some slack when they are eating out. I was a lousy waitress. It was very humbling. I consider myself fairly intelligent and I think I have a very good memory. But I just could not get waiting tables. I was a mess. I would be running around, writing notes for myself, muttering, Table four needs a fork, table six wants another round of drinks, bring table eight their check, table four needs a fork, table six wants ... something and what was that other thing?????

I was a complete mess. Pathetic. Those women waiting tables at Denny's, chomping gum and joking around with you as they pour your coffee? Do not be fooled. It is not as easy as they make it look. It is a real talent.

So our horrible waitress in Friendly's? We left her a nice tip. I am such a sucker. I can't help it. I have a soft spot for terrible waitresses.

But I think I am on to something here. Maybe I should start a petition that every citizen must serve his or her community by waiting tables for 6 months upon turning eighteen. What else? Maybe have everyone work retail too.

Maybe if everyone worked retail, they would know all of the rules of etiquette associated with shopping.
  1. Do not talk on your cell phone while paying for your purchase. It is rude.
  2. Do not call the employee by name just because you can read their name tag. People, it is condescending.
  3. If the cashier is having trouble getting your item to scan at the register, do not jokingly say, "Oh! It must be free!"
  4. If for some reason you are still writing checks, for God's sake stop. Get a check card! If you absolutely must write a check because you are one of those loonytunes who told me that the government is tracking your check card purchases to see what books you are buying in the interest of National Security, please at least have your checkbook out and ready to go when you approach the register. I hated when people would come up to the register after waiting in line and with a line still behind them, wait for me to ring up their entire purchase and then pull out their check book and begin s-l-o-w-l-y w-r-i-t-i-n-g t-h-e-i-r c-h-e-c-k. Where am I? Borders? How do you spell that?

03 July 2007

hear me roar!

Jonathan taught me how to use the lawnmower tonight. I know, I know... Laugh if you must. But I never, ever had to mow the lawn growing up. Which is awesome because we had a pretty big yard. But with 2 older brothers, I never had to learn how. Come to think of it, our house was a little sexist growing up. I helped with the laundry and the ironing (I can hear my mother saying, When did you ever do that?) and my brothers mowed the lawn and took out the trash.

But tonight, Jonny taught me how to use the lawn mower. And I mowed the whole back yard. I loved it. I can't wait to do it again! Why didn't anyone tell me how much fun this is?!

Jonathan is such a wonderful husband. As I was happily mowing away, he took some pictures of me mowing the lawn and brought me a big glass of water. He says he is very proud of me. What a doll.