Thursday, January 31, 2008

Sushifest 2008

Based on some droolworthy posts by one of my favorite bloggers, CityMama, I got it in my mind that I wanted to make raw fish sushi at home. One thing that really stood out in the second post was that she got an entire pound of tobikko. Yum! That is R and I's favorite! I made a comment asking her where to get tobikko (she used to live in my city) and she told me to go to Uwajimaya. In further correspondence, I asked her where to get sushi grade fish and she pointed me again to Uwajimaya.

Last Saturday, we took the kids and made the trek to Uwajimaya. The kids had a blast. The all loved the huge dragon hanging over the checkout counters. R got to meet her "Hello Kitty" needs and the boys wanted to sit in front of the live crab tank forever. As a raw fish sushi novice, I asked the nice man behind the counter to help me figure out what to get. Here is what ended up in our shopping cart: tuna (two cuts), yellowtail, salmon, octopus (my daughter wanted a piece the size of her head but we just got a few slices to try), tobikko (sadly no pound size containers!), and eel (unagi). We bought a variety of Japanese beers. I forgot all about the wasabi and the pickled ginger but happily, we had them both at home along with nori and avocado.

Our friends Nicole and Gene and their twins came over. Nicole had told me Gene was an experienced sushi chef. I immediately went to work with him to create nigiri, assorted rolls, and some sashimi (when we ran out of rice). Gene did turn out to be the master sushi chef (thank goodness). The kids had fun eating handfuls of tobikko (no kidding - there was tobikko EVERYWHERE!) and sushi rice while we were making the sushi.

It took us quite a while to make all the sushi. I had forgotten about that part! But in the end we all sat down at the table and had an amazing feast. R (who is 4) was game to try everything. Remember she was the one who wanted the octopus but in the end she didn't care for it.

Here is a photo of our spread. I can't wait until the next Sushifest!

Celebrating a Century of Posts 3. This post is my 103rd post. Who knew when I started this adventure that I would get to 103.? Thanks to everyone out there who reads this blog (all 3 of you). I'll try to continute to keep you entertained but meanwhile...


Sunday, January 27, 2008

Magical Hay

R: Mom, can you please go get my little truck from the car?

Me: Sure. I can do that right now.

R: Can you put it on the counter next to my money and my magical hay?

Me: Uh, ok dear. (R got a holiday gift from K which included some sparkly packing material. Apparently, that has now become "magical hay". Who knew?)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Temper Tantrum

Me: Are you mad a me?

W - dramatically: It's just...I didn't get any time to myself tonight. I had to do so many things. It felt like I had to keep doing things.

Me: What things?

W: The car stuff and I had to start the dishwasher.

Me: Why were you doing those things? Why did you start the dishwasher? I could have started the dishwasher.

W: You never start the dishwasher.

Me: I started the dishwasher last night.

W: I don't want to change the sheets! I hate changing the sheets.

Me: Oh, that's what this is about.

W: I never want to change the sheets again! Let's just get a new bed! And books! I don't have any books to read.

Me: I have books for you to read.

W: No - you don't have any books for me to read.

Me - looking in the closet where we keep the books: Yes, I do. Here is a Wen Spencer book. You like Wen Spencer.

W - wincing as he looks at the cover art: No thanks.

Me: No, you like this author. You liked that book called...what was it?

W - as I am paging through to find the name of the previous book sees something: Space ships? Does it say space ships?

Me: Yes, dear. It says space ships.

W: Ok, I'll read it.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Potty Talk

WARNING: This blog post contains poop humor. Read at your own risk!

My twin sons turned two at the end of December. One of them, G, just told he first joke. I said to him, "Are you poopy?" His reply? "No, mommy!" Then of course I said, "No, I am not poopy. Are you poopy?" "No, daddy!" He had the funniest smile on his face as though he knew he was being funny.

His brother, L, joined in the fun. During one of these exchanges, he actually tried to check my pants to see if I was poopy and then he started laughing.

They are funny guys...

Getting to know the neighbors

A few days ago, R asked me to tell her a story. I started telling her a story about our neighbor's tree, whom our neighbor's named "Mabel the Maple". After I finished the story she asked us what our trees were named. I said we hadn't named them yet and did she think we should? She said, "Oh, yes!" very enthusiastically. I told her she could name one and that her dad and I would name the other two. The trees are enormous Douglas Firs and here is the name she came up with for hers (which is the one near the play structure). At first she said the name was "Hawk" because hawks like to live there. After she heard the names that W and I came up with her name turned into this, "Star Hawk Moon Lightening Moon Light." That is a pretty awesome name! She said she wanted to hang ornaments from the tree that were little bears and Cinderella and Aurora (I don't even know who this princess is!). She doesn't realize that the bottom branches of the behemoth tree are taller than our garage! I think she is thinking it is like our tiny Christmas tree.

W, after meditating on it, named the corner tree "Firestar". I named the hammock tree "Verde Sage". W said, "Do you have to roll the "r"?" I told him yes but really that is not fair because he can't roll r's.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Description vs. Dialogue

I was discussing with my friend Kathi the fact that my novel is lacking in terms of description. She asked me what I liked to read - description or dialogue. I realized that a) I had never thought about this before and b) I definitely preferred to read dialogue. So it makes sense that what I wrote was heavy (I do mean heavy) on the dialogue. I was feeling very nervous about this until I read something in John Scalzi's book, You're Not Fooling Anyone When You Take Your Laptop To A Coffee Shop: Scalzi on Writing. Scalzi states in this book (p. 103), "As a writer, I am not particularly interested in description unless it's necessary to the plot." It was heartening to see it in writing. I had been thinking that I would go back and try to fill in description and I still may try that. But what will probably flow better is if I just honor the style that I have written in so far. I will have to cross that bridge when I come to it.

Which is not right now because...I am more focused on helping W get his book edited and published. I read through it a few nights ago (he also wrote it during NaNoWriMo) and it is really good. It is also very current which means he needs to get on publishing it because if he doesn't, I think someone else may beat him to the punch.

WRT my novel, I read a guide to editing your novel and the first step was just reading it through without editing it or making notes or anything. This did not work for me!!! While I did like what I was reading, I was too distracted by the edits I could be making. I think once W's book is on its way to the publisher, I will go back and read it at the computer and make edits along the way (having first made a copy on a CD!).

Friday, January 18, 2008

Clutter Entropy

With all the work I have done in the past year to eliminate clutter and stuff, I still struggle daily with this issue. I came across this blog post entitled The Minimalist's Guide to Fighting (and Beating) Clutter Entropy. It was a good reminder to me of how to stop clutter from accumulating. This weekend, I will clean all the surfaces in my living room and dining room and find new places for things. I will report back on my progress early next week. Do you have a problem with this, too? What will you do? I

Creation Halt vs. Creation Spot

I have been musing about how I now have two blogs* (sort of accidentally) and how the names are, in my mind, totally opposite. I started Creation Halt because I was overwhelmed with stuff and with the burden that comes from creating something. You put your time and energy into making something and that gives weight and meaning to those things. For me, this makes them very hard to get rid of and hard to give away to someone who must then bear the burden! I know, not everyone looks at stuff in the same way I do but still...I was having a crisis. My solution was just to stop creating. No more art, painting, pottery. Nothing physical.

It didn't turn out to work quite in that way. In the past year I have sewed a gold lame dress for my daughter, reusable gift bags, and purses. I have created collages. I wrote a book. I wrote many blog posts. I knitted a scarf. But through it all, I was very conscious of what I was creating. I am no longer creating just for the purpose of creating. Instead, I am creating with purpose.

But I am so drawn to creation!!! It feeds my soul. And that is why I think it is interesting that Creation Spot has come into my life. I was telling W that when our basement is finished being remodeled, I would love to have a monthly craft night with friends. I think it would be fun to have a spot for creation where a group can get together and have fun creating something together. I am still nervous about creating more "stuff" and I have to work my way through that but maybe, just maybe, I can find my way back toward creation.

* In reality, I have a total of 7 blogs that I contribute to - two public and 5 private, internal work blogs.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Calling Cards

I really need to have some calling cards made up. Otherwise, how do you point someone to your blog? It is not like they are going to remember creationhalt dot blogspot dot com! Heck, you can find this blog if you search for "creation halt" but who is going to remember to do that? What about the rest of you out there? What have you done? How do you share your electronic information in the physical world?

Then of course, there is this problem. We sent out a holiday letter this year and what did I do? I put the name of my blog down wrong! Arg! Luckily, that name wasn't taken so I created another blog to point to this one but I think the damage has already been done. I need to be better at editing I guess!

Friday, January 4, 2008

We like tha moooooooooooon!

Ok, who would have thought that an application on my customized iGoogle page would bring me closer to nature? I mean, who would have thunk it? When I set up my customized page a few weeks ago, I looked through all the applications that I could put on my page. I found a few that I really liked including "MapMyWord Dictionary" which shows pictorially how a word is related to other words (synonyms, antonyms) plus the definition. I put "Portland Weather" on my page and a direct link to "Wikipedia". But one of the best ones I have found is called "Current Moon Phase". Whenever I bring up my iGoogle page, I can see what phase the moon is in. Honestly, I have never paid all that much attention to the phases of the moon before. With this application, I am able to see that right now, we have a "waning crescent" that is "13% of full". This makes me look for the moon much more often (which isn't easy in Portland in Winter) and makes me feel inexplicably good.

Which leads me to another "moon" thing that makes me feel inexplicably good. DISCLAIMER: If you watch this, it may be stuck in your head forever. Be warned.

Note: It looks like MapMyWord Dictionary was bought by Thinkmap. If you go to the link above, you will be able to see what it is like. Either way, you can still get the original Google application.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Blog Vacation?

I guess my blog took an inadvertent vacation. I didn't mean to be gone so long (especially after blogging so much in November)! The holidays just got in the way. We were on kid duty 24/7 and even with my sister in town (god bless you M!) it was extremely exhausting. We didn't even get to play that many games of Scrabble. They say it gets easier...I am still hoping!

Speaking of Scrabble, my four year old knows that her dad and I both love the game. She knows that Grandma E and Auntie M also love it and she has been interested in playing. There is only one problem...she can't spell. Well, she can spell the names of all the people in our family (including the cat) but that is just about the extent of her abilities. I finally relented (at the behest of my DH) to play a modified game with her. I told her to pick some letters and spell out a word. The first letter she put down was a "X". I said, "R, I don't think you know how to spell any letters that begin with "X"." Her reply was, "Well I want to spell x-ray but I just don't know how." It cracked me up for several reasons. I don't think x-ray is in the official Scrabble dictionary but I let her have it anyway. :)

I realized while we were playing what a great game it is. You need to know how to spell, add, and multiply. Very cool. R beat me in her first game and we had a lot of fun. I look forward to playing with her for years to come.