Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Not for the lactose intolerant

Here is something that looks pretty impressive but is very easy to do -- I'm always a fan of recipes like that. We had it for dinner on Sunday this week as I knew I'd be doing a big grillfest for Memorial Day. But what with all the birthday brouhaha it took me this long to get it on the blog. Fabulous with a big green salad full of crisp May cucumbers and orange bell peppers and tomatoes. Mmmm.

Cheese-stuffed Canneloni
1 lb canneloni pasta, uncooked

1 1/2 c ricotta
1 1/2 c shredded mozzarella
1/2 c grated parmesan
1 egg
1-2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 tbsp fresh or 1 tsp dry basil
pinch black pepper

2-3 c marinara sauce (a low salt variety can be good because it cooks down quite a bit and can get very salty tasting. If you have homemade sauce in a jar then I kneel at your feet. I used Ragu this week since we got a whole bunch of it from some friends who moved to Texas.)

Heat oven to 350. Reserve 1/2 c mozzarella, then mix all remaining cheeses with egg, garlic, basil and pepper.

Pour 1/2 c sauce into the bottom of a 9x13 pan and spread evenly.

Use a pastry bag with no tip to pipe cheese mixture into dry canneloni. (Is it just weird that I think this is really fun?) Arrange in rows in the pan where you put the sauce. Pour remaining sauce over the top and sprinkle reserved cheese over that.

Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour.

I have been thinking that if someone made dry, pre-shaped enchilada shells that would soften as they bake in sauce like these canneloni do, I would make enchiladas a lot more often. Any foodie entrepreneurs out there?

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Sweet potato birthday

A turns five today. I can hardly believe it. My baby is definitely really gone! He is so excited to be five because he is sure he will be able to run faster once he passes the magical milestone. I am going to take treats into his preschool class at lunch today -- ice cream bars, at his request. That, I can handle.

We had his party on Saturday with 12 little kids at my house in cowboy hats and bandannas, eating hot dogs and cake under balloons and streamers and playing musical chairs and doing relay races.

There is only one word for that: CRAZY! I think the next birthday party is going to be pizza and a bounce house. Doing it the old fashioned way really wore me out!

And those are the seams you see on his shirt. It was inside out. I didn't notice until I was looking at the pictures the following day. That's what kind of mommy I am, folks.

Happy birthday to my little sweet potato.

And happy day to his wonderful birthmom in North Carolina. We love you, love you, love you!

Friday, May 26, 2006

Spoiled mama

I found a new van. I will even include the photo with the billboard on it so I can give credit to this little-guy dealership where we found an awesome deal up in Modesto. Doesn't little A look proud? He is pretty happy. So am I.

Here are the facts: It's a 2002 Odyssey with 38,500 miles on it. Power everything. Beautiful gleaming white paint and a pristine interior. CD player, which so far has played No Doubt and Indigo Girls. We got it just barely above wholesale. It is more than we planned to spend on a car, but in actuality we can afford it. We hope to drive it for many many years to come. I think we did a good thing.

Driving this beautiful vehicle home from Modesto last night I was listening to jazz on the radio. S was in the back, diligently finding the patterns in the music, especially the drums. He loved the soothing sound of the brushes and was mimicking it very well with his mouth. I love his rhythm and intensity. I love that he got into some great jazz last night.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Random facts of kindness

So on a blog it's not easy to perform random acts of kindness, although I appear to be receiving them regularly (donations up to $125, thank you everyone!) But I can give you some random facts that may be to your benefit.
  • Clean out the lint from the vent behind your dryer! Unhook it and use your vacuum to suck all the junk out of there. Also, do not leave your dryer on while you leave the house or sleep. My friend Jamie had a fire after bedtime one night this week caused by lint buildup. Thankfully her family is okay.
  • Used Honda Odysseys are not necessarily as expensive as I thought. We are going up to Modesto to look at one tonight. If I weren't so scared that it was going to be gone when we get there I would tell you where!
  • When you are planning a 5th birthday party, don't even put the stack of invitations on the kitchen counter in that one certain place where things get buried. And then to save yourself some misery, don't clean it off 5 days before the party. When you find all those unsent invitations you will want to cry.
  • If you have an active 6 year old who wears glasses, one of those "froggy" things that goes around the back of his or her head is an absolute must!
  • Tennis shoes can go in the dryer when a child wears them into the swimming pool.
  • You can make a fan-darn-tastic chicken salad with oranges and corn and tomatoes and bell peppers, with some slightly stale jalapeno sourdough bread toasted for croutons.
  • I've been learning about stem cell research this week. One professor is working on how embryonic stem cells become blood vessel cells, another on how hematopoetic (bone marrow) stem cells become T cells. Did you know that the time for a hematopoetic stem cell to become some type of regular blood cell is decided partially by its physical location? Once they move away from clusters of other stem cells they stop receiving "stay a stem cell" chemical signals and begin to evolve into other blood cells. Okay, that may not be particularly useful, but it's interesting.
  • Despite my totaled car and allergies and jammed finger (watch out playing catch with bed pillows) all is right with the world. Woo!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Small update before I go to bed

The car is totaled. I am in the early (online) stages of car shopping.

The donations are up to $105, thanks to some Very Generous People Who Know Who They Are. Thank you, generous people!

Goodnight now!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Dateline: Zion, I think

There's no rental coverage on our insurance policy. Insurance was so much more expensive and we were suddenly so much poorer when we first moved to California, it was one of those things we had to cut. My van goes into the shop tomorrow where, if you will all remember, we are hoping they will find hidden damage to the frame and total repair needs costing more than $5500, so I will not have to pay the $1000 deductible and still have my same old 1998 van with a hundred thousand miles on it.

Today I got to church, where I was filling in at the last minute for my friend M (who has the stomach flu) in a treble octet. Also in the group was my friend K, whom I work with in Young Women. She was surprised to see me, since I'd asked her to teach our class this week considering my plans to be out of town. So I told her about the accident.

The first thing she asked was if we needed to borrow a car. She and her husband have three cars. The third is a large, nice SUV that they save for long trips, family reunions and times when they need to haul a lot of youth to a dance or adults to the temple. They are in a position where they can afford to have an extra car just for that. How would that be?

Well, I hope that for me it would be a lot like it is for them. Because they are probably among the kindest, most generous people I have ever known. I hestitated to accept their offer -- after all, I did just total a car (I hope) and feel a little trepidatious about driving someone else's. But they worked it out over the phone with G. I thought we would be borrowing their older sedan, which is still nothing to sniff at, believe me. But they just dropped off their very nice, leather-seated, fully equipped SUV.

I'm driving around just exactly like a rich lady this week, folks.

And while I am feeling humble enough to receive service (not easy for me, honest) I went ahead and put that PayPal button up. Thanks to those who have expressed support. If you don't agree with this approach, that's okay with me. But I humbly ask you to ignore it, rather than flame me for it. I can't deny that this effort exists partially to feed my baby munchies. But it's more for a child who needs a family, somewhere out there in the world.

And they had all things common among them; therefore there were not rich and poor, bond and free, but they were all made free, and partakers of the heavenly gift.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Overshadowing the general low-level crap

So today I wrecked my minivan and had to cancel my girls' weekend trip. Boy are my husband and kids going to be surprised to find me at home! Boy are they going to be surprised that the mommymobile is out of commission! I am trying not to think about it too much.

Imagine my delight when I logged on to Rhapsody and discovered that Paul Simon has a new CD! There are only a few artists whose work I await. Indigo Girls, U2, Sheryl Crow, Paul Simon, Tracy Chapman, Alison Krauss. I used to feel this way about Elvis Costello and I still do buy his CDs but I just ... I miss the late 80s Elvis. It's still good but I don't feel it the same way. Oh, also Coldplay now, I think. I'm hooked.

Back to Paul. The man has never made a bad CD until now, and 3 songs in he appears to be keeping up the streak. Brian Eno coproduces and it adds a definite clubby/experimental/Brit Pop flavor.

Also, Keane has a new single that is quite good entitled "Is It Any Wonder." I fell in love with Keane because the vocalist reminded me of Freddie Mercury on the debut CD Hopes and Fears. They're rounding the bend a little stylistically with this single; it's worth a listen.

And you might want to check out a sultry Swede named Janita, who sounds a little like Sade mixed with Norah Jones. Although I no longer think anyone in Depeche Mode is even remotely sexy, Janita's cover of "Enjoy the Silence" reminds me why I once did.

Not thinking about the car, not thinking about the car ...

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Status report on tutus and adoption plans, and a question

So since you (my loyal readers, haha) have been subjected to my crazy tutu idea for a while now, I thought I would give you an update.

Turns out the idea really was crazy.

Sold a few sets at the Fairy Shrimp Festival. Sold none on ebay. Selling a few to friends and family. Still have a good 20 tutus in a Rubbermaid storage container at home. I think I will try again around Halloween.

One big mistake, I think, was in my color choices. Peach and peacock-blue and daffodil-yellow are not little girls' favorite colors. They are my favorites, or at least my favorites for springtime. I totally, totally should have made more pale pink and lavender. Lesson learned.

So I have some money squirreled away toward my adoption plans, thanks to a hefty tax refund this year. (We finally used the last bit of our adoption tax credit from A's adoption in 2001.) $1000, to be exact -- G convinced me that maybe we should use some of that refund for other purposes, like reinstating the emergency fund we haven't had since 2003. Put aside in a separate account so we don't eat it up by mistake, something we tend to do with windfalls. My goal is to get to $2500 and then begin the homestudy. I have it in my head to do this by the end of the summer. Acres of Hope will take new applications again beginning September 1, so that seems doable. I think. If I can figure out how to manage my monthly budget, ever.

Okay, not gonna think about that right now.

Phase two is going to be a garage sale June 24. My kids are going to their grandma's house for the entire month of June and I am going to spend some serious time cleaning out the stuff we don't need or want from our home. I may add a bake sale that day, or something. I would also happy to accept donations of stuff to sell if anyone reading this is anywhere near central California. E-mail me for info at

I am also mulling over the idea of a mail/email/PayPal campaign asking for donations. Do you think this is just in bad taste? Because here is the thing of it. If everybody I know sent me $2 or $5 or whatever to help me build my family, it would add up fast. If someone I knew asked me for a donation for that purpose, I would certainly give, at least a little bit. But is that just me? Would it be unimaginably tacky? I honestly want to know. Lay it on me, I'm not afraid of anybody's opinion.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Antsy afternoon

I steamed through my work list today. I was just on fire! Sent a press release, revised some copy, routed a couple of documents. It's kind of fun on days like this when I am able to just put the finishing touches (more or less) on several projects. It makes up for the weeks prior when I have been chipping away at them little by little and not feeling like I am getting anything done.

The problem is that now it's only 3:something o'clock and I am feeling like I ought to be done for the day. I also have a huge list of things I want to get done at home, and I'm wishing I could just go there and get started on that list. Clean the nasty ol' goldfish bowl. Put away all the laundry. Grill up a whole bunch of chicken on my pretty new BBQ. Make my menu and grocery list for next week. Get S caught up on his school-assigned reading for the week. Get the stinky little kids bathed. Put them to bed in clean sheets. Make some tutus in custom sizes for dear friends who have requested such.

I'm afraid by the time I actually get there I will have run out of steam.

I sit at my desk at work and think about home. I lie awake in bed at night and think about work. Something is the matter with this picture. Okay, that part about lying awake in bed might have been because I had a Diet Coke last night, something I rarely do. Caffeine! WOO! Contrary to appearances, though, I do not currently have caffeine in my system, only DayQuil.

Oh, maybe that's the problem.

The good news is I do get to take off fairly soon, as G is out of town at the moment and I need to take over his usual kid pickup duties. I have this funny thing where I want my kids out of their daycare situations well before 5 p.m. It just makes me feel like a better mommy. (Did you notice I said daycare? I used to not be able to say that word. Daycare! Daycare!)

Okay, maybe I can cheat and do the menu and grocery list before I go ... that might be good.

Monday, May 15, 2006

The salad from this weekend

Here's what we packed for lunch Saturday for the beach. It comes from Cooking Light magazine, July 2002. I've made a couple of minor modifications, one of which was doubling the recipe and another of which was adding more protein. Everybody knows, salt air makes you hungry!

Sesame Noodle Salad with Bell Pepper and Peanuts

1/2 c fresh lime juice
1/3 c low sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp ketchup
2 tbsp sesame oil
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 tsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper, or to taste
2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 lb package vermicelli or other long, thin noodles
1/2 lb smoked turkey, diced
3 c fresh bean sprouts
1 red bell pepper, julienned
2 green onions (scallions), thinly sliced
1 cucumber, thinly sliced
2 c snow peas, ends and strings removed
1/4 c chopped fresh basil
1/4 c chopped fresh mint
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
peanuts to garnish

Mix dressing ingredients first so flavors can mingle while you prepare the rest of the salad.

Cook pasta and drain.

Chop and prep all veggies. Combine all ingredients except peanuts in a large pan or bowl. Toss well. Portion out in disposable plastic storage containers to take to the beach. Garnish with peanuts at the last minute.

According to the magazine, this should serve 8. However, the four of us plus a couple of kids made pretty quick work of it. The other kids ate PB&J, of course. Sillies.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mothers' Day

My apostrophe placement is intentional! Happy day to all the mothers.

Happy day to the moms exhausted from yesterday's beach escapades (SalGal and me), to the moms who have been up with sick kids all night, to the moms who are sick themselves. To the moms who take joy in their motherly calling. To the moms who think they stink at mothering and sometimes wonder if their kids would be better off without them. Happy day to the perfect moms, wherever you are, and to the moms who sometimes yell and sometimes spank and sometimes run away and drive around for hours. Happy day to the moms who are dying to leave the house, and to the moms who just wish they could be home. Happy day to the moms who won't go home from Mutual or Enrichment until after 9 p.m., because they just can't face the battle of putting their kids to bed yet again. Happy day to the moms who love to read aloud, to the moms who do PTA, to the moms who let their kids cook with them, and to the moms who hate and despise any or all of those mom-ly activities.

Happy day to the moms of missionaries and members of the armed forces. Happy day to the moms whose children are grown and gone. Happy day to the moms who can't get the darn kids out of the house. Happy day to the grandmas, God bless them forever.

Happy day to the moms whose children are only dreams, who have waited and prayed and administered shots and been let down over and over. Happy day to the moms whose dreams have finally come true and to the moms who are almost ready to give up dreaming.

Happy day to the moms who never planned to be moms so young, so poor or so alone. Happy day to the moms courageous enough to place their babies in other families where they will find stability. Happy day to the moms who will choose to parent their children themselves, anyway.

Happy day to the aunties, the doctors and nurses, the Primary teachers, the daycare providers, the schoolteachers, the dear neighbors and friends without whom the work of mothering would be nearly impossible, at least for me.

Happy day, if it's possible, to the moms whose children have died, who know they will never be the same again and have to live with that loss every day. And to the moms whose children are struggling enough that they sometimes wonder if losing them completely might be easier.

Happy Mothers' Day to all the mothers. Motherhood is not just the most important job in the world; it's a calling from God. Motherhood is more than an occupation; it's part of who you are, and that is true for any woman in any circumstance. Motherhood transcends what you do each day, whether that is changing diapers or changing this world. "Mother" is one half of the title of the goddess who exemplifies what you will become. May your Mothers' Day reflect the other half of that title -- the Heavenly.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Two sides to Friday, video version

I'm here to entertain you! Two fun videos for you to watch today.

First, the serious side. UC Merced had its first commencement yesterday. I was home with little hand foot and mouth man. But I got to watch it online, and you can too. I cried. When I step back, it is a little outlandish how invested I am in my workplace. But I really do find it meaningful, and I feel very lucky to work in a place that truly can make a difference. I spent a lot of years doing kind of dumb stuff for money, and I know what that feels like. I like this better, even if it does make me cry.

Now, the silly side. This will truly take you back, whether you went to high school in 1972, 1992, anywhere in between, or a few years on either side. What a talent!

On the docket this weekend for me: play, play and lots more play. I hope the videos keep you busy while I'm gone.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Caramel for comfort (needs some help)

Calling all foodies! Check out this recipe. Straight from Betty Crocker, it's delicious but has a texture issue. I'm hoping to solve it because it is so easy and good other than that!

Caramel Sauce

2 egg yolks, beaten
1/2 c packed brown sugar
1/2 c granulated sugar
1/4 c butter
1/2 c water
1 tsp vanilla

Heat all ingredients to boiling over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute. Serve warm or cold. Refrigerate any remaining sauce.

I got teeny, tiny bits of curdled egg yolk doing it this way. Not that it stopped me from eating this stuff. It makes an excellent fruit dip.

So should I do the thing where you cook the other ingredients, then stir them into the egg yolks in a separate bowl? It kind of diminishes the easy factor of this recipe. But it would be worth it.

Your thoughts?

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

If you don't play, you can't win

It's hand, foot and mouth disease. You could have guessed that and gotten 200 points! Now don't you wish you'd given it a shot? I don't know what the points are good for, but 200 has to be good for something! I can't believe there were zero comments when 200 nebulous points were on the line.

So I'm working at home for the rest of the week. It's a drag because I think I'm going to have to miss commencement tomorrow. Our first one, and I think I'm gonna be home. It's a drag because it's harder to motivate myself when I'm not at the office.

But it's cool because it's looser. I can wear my jeans and my ultra comfy MBTs that I got from my sister's store in Las Vegas. (She doesn't own it, but she and her husband both work there and basically run the joint.) Today I'm wearing two t-shirts as an experiment ... you know, that layered look? I was not an early adopter, but today I'm thinking it's cute.

Another benefit: getting Jamba Juice with little man, ostensibly to soothe his poor, blistery little mouth. Actually, I think it worked for that. It was also a nice treat for Mama. I had Mighty Cherry Charger. He had Mango-a-Go-Go. Mine was yum. I didn't try his -- what, do you think I'm nuts?

It's also good because I have a lot of writing projects to catch up on -- a professor's publication about Chlamydia trachomatis, a grad student film project on immigration, a grant to start a student research e-zine and refine our pre-calculus course, an award for our IT department, and others I'm sure I'll think of as soon as I open my work e-mail again. It's easier to write when I'm not in the office with the ringing phone and the loud lady on the other side of the divider talking on the phone.

For some reason listening to the current feature about Earth, Wind & Fire on NPR doesn't distract me quite as much. Although as the Pledge Week festivities begin, I'm thinking I'm going to have to turn it off. I know, I should pledge. But the little I can give is unfortunately not going to make them shut up. Oh, maybe I will still do it. They did just put a new translator in for our town that has made a tremendous difference. I should reward them.

Little sickie is happily entertaining himself on while I work on my laptop. He loves not having to compete with his big brother for screen time!

I am very, very lucky to have a workplace that allows me to do this. My sick time is gone and I sure as heck don't want to start taking vacation time to stay home with a sick kid. Really, over and over my workplace proves itself to be an excellent venue for a mom to work. My office-mate is a mom, my boss wants to be one, her boss is a devoted young father of two. The chancellor took a week off the month before grand opening to go babysit her grandchildren -- what does that tell you?

Okay, back to work.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

200 points for you if ...

You can guess what little man has now.

Symptoms: fever (100.3), lethargy, whininess and 3 inflamed zit-looking sores -- 1 on his cheek and 2 on his tongue.

Sigh -- you know this is happening because G is out of town and I have a big event at work on Thursday ...

We will go to the doctor tomorrow. Dang it ...

In a jam

Take yourself back in time, if you will. It's 1991. The landscape is changing. (If you caught that song reference, you're in a good position to be with me on this whole post.) The '80s are really over. The wall has fallen. Guys are looking like guys again, not moussed-up Duran Duranites or pink-wearing Miami Vicers. None of this is necessarily bad.

In 1991 I was convinced the Next Big Thing was going to be the Manchester acid/house music of bands like The Stone Roses and The Happy Mondays. It had a great beat, you know, and you could dance to it. And I was a 17-year-old girl whose greatest pleasure was the Saturday-night dances held by my friends in Alaska at some local lodge or hotel ballroom. They'd rent the joint for $500, convince somebody to bring in a big stereo or maybe real DJ equipment if we were lucky, charge kids $5 apiece to get in, break even and have something to do for the weekend. A good dance groove with a little alternative flavor was all I really wanted.

Then, as anyone who has ever found themselves involuntarily glued to VH1 for an evening knows all too well, this little thing called Seattle happened to music. I lived in the interior of Alaska, and we stayed insulated from the grunge phenomenon for a couple of years. I heard about it only through my friends from Juneau, kids I'd met at state drama/debate/forensics events. (I've confessed multiple times on this blog to being a nerd, but now you have evidence.) These kids knew Pearl Jam and Primus and Nirvana. We didn't really pay too much attention at first. It wasn't until summer of 1992, just after I'd graduated from high school, that I really started to see the whole thing explode among my friends.

I was, quite frankly, despondent. I wasn't ready to let go the whole groomed electronica of the 80s. Laugh if you will, but then download a little New Order from your iTunes or Rhapsody and maybe you'll get it. Or go back to Depeche Mode's 1990 Violator. I still like it and I'm not ashamed to say so. I married someone who basically felt the same way.

I'll just skip the 90s and the first half of this decade and tell you that now that G (who is about to turn 35) is regretting missing so much of the music of our youth. Pearl Jam has a new CD. He's loving it. They're touring. He wants to go.

In the last 15 years something has changed. I've gotten more used to the louder, harder sound of this music and can hear some things I like in the lyrics and melodies. When I hear old Pearl Jam now, I can say there are songs I like. But spending ~$70 to go to a concert by a group I spent ten years protesting by purposefully being anachronistic and weird in my listening habits ...

It seems like kind of a cop-out.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Tutu sets now available on eBay

I finally got around to photographing my fairy princess ballerina stuff and getting a test listing up on eBay. You can go and bid!

Remember, this is my adoption fundraiser ... all for a good cause!

I have other colors available -- bright blue, pale pink, lavender, yellow, and rainbow/white. This peachy pink is really my favorite, though! Three of them are up in this auction. Let me know if you're interested in any of these and I will put up a private auction for you! And if you want adult sizes, I will custom make them for you! Any adult who will be a fairy princess deserves it, that's what I say!

Now I am off to do my real Saturday work ... laundry, bathrooms, vacuuming, dusting, buying groceries. I also need to organize the food storage in the garage. Ugh.

I think it would be much more fun to be a fairy princess. I should make a costume for myself!

Friday, May 05, 2006

Two funnies

Abe [after being convinced to try a snap pea, making a funny face]: This tastes like plants.


Sam [using his nascent reading skills on a package of Skittles]: Hey Abe, you wanna hear something funny? This says "Nutrition Facts!"

Mom: Why is that so funny?

Sam: These are not nutritious!

[Not that that stopped him from eating them, or me from giving them to him, but at least he knows.]


My kids are smart, no?

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Woody's Wound-up

Today I took my little guy over to the elementary school for Kindergarten Round-up. This momentous occasion occurs 26 days before his fifth birthday -- and yes, he's counting. One day he is so excited to be five he is buzzing ("I think I'm gonna like salad when I'm five, he says) and the next he is crying because the magical day is never going to come. It's tough to have a birthday at the end of the month.

For a few days, I was feeling wistful. As an adult, do I ever look forward to something with so much emotion? What in an adult life could be as exciting as turning five?

Then G left for the first long week away, running samples at Livermore. Tomorrow he comes home. Yayyyyyyy ... single parenting sucks. I say that with utmost respect for those who are doing it because they must. I don't wanna do it anymore. I will be doing it again next week. Pluh.

(This other picture is just here to make you jealous. We went to Farmer's Market tonight. It was a little short on the farmers, a little long on the junk. We got strawberries, cookies, kettle corn and candy. So now you understand the word wound-up in the title of this post. I think I might stick with the Saturday market this year. Still, these almost-wine-colored berries are worthwhile. We also got free kites from a bank that had a booth set up. Score!)

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Technology wishes

Blog people are pretty savvy people, methinks. If that's true, I'm sadly out of place. But it does put me in a good spot to ask for help.

Hypothetically, if you were asked to help think of truly useful, contstructive and worthwhile ways to help (ahem) invest your work group's technology budget before the end of the fiscal year, what great ideas would you have? Assuming you already have a brand-new laptop, a flat-screen monitor, a scanner, a laser printer and a cell phone, and the department has a digital camera which you can use any old time.

(My cell phone is almost two years old. Is that old for a cell phone? Should I try to get a new one?)

What's your work wish list? And can you think of a way to justify a big fat 40 gig iPod as a part of it?

Monday, May 01, 2006

Lunch on the patio

It's the warm part of spring. The part where if you leave the right foods out for the right amount of time, they are just the right temperature for optimal enjoyment. By right foods, I mean avocados, chocolate, strawberries.

Here's what we had for lunch yesterday after church on the patio as the warm breezes blew. Well, we did not actually have the bacon or the pepitas. But those would make this perfect -- we need some crunch! -- so I'm adding them for next time.

Chicken and Avocado Salad

2 chicken breasts
2 ripe avocados
1 large ripe tomato, diced
1 tsp lemon juice
1 large pink grapefruit, sectioned (cut it as if for breakfast and pop out the sections. You can drink the juice. YUM!)
4 strips bacon, cooked to crispy and crumbled
Pepitas aplenty for sprinkling
Salad greens of your choice (with spring mix in a bag you can't go wrong if you ask me)
Light ranch dressing

Cut up avocados and toss with lemon, tomato, salt and pepper. Set aside to allow flavors to blend.

Season chicken to taste with salt and pepper (chili powder optional). Grill and slice.

Arrange salads on plates with greens, chicken, avocado mixture, grapefruit sections, bacon and pepitas. Pass dressing if desired.

Also pass your choice of bread -- or tortillas would be good. We had whole wheat french bread from Albertson's, which was quite lovely!

For dessert: Belgian chocolates I got for my birthday and fresh strawberries. You were afraid I'd leave out the other right foods, weren't you? Now you know better. Happy May!