Friday, June 28, 2013

The Friday Diary: Let's All Just Be Happy Ok?

These get me every time!

I decided for this week's diary to make a list of a few of the things that make me happy right now.
We all need a little more happy in our lives, right?

1. I found these Converse today, thanks to Bridget. Can I please have 10 pairs of them? I'm a size 8, in case you were wondering.
2. I let Lainie make a board on Pinterest, because addicts need company, and her board is literally nothing but pictures of cats and directions for Fairy houses. I love her.
3. I discovered apple flavored beer made by ShockTop. I may actually decide to like both Summer and beer. Rednecks everywhere rejoice.
4. My awesome friend Camdon was able to get me an MP3 copy of Ray Lamontagne's album Acre of Land, which I have been searching high and low for, since literally over a year ago. He also made my computer finally work. Nerd friends are best friends.
5. I am off today, and it's payday. I not only get to wear jeans, but I also get to wear SHORTS and TANK TOPS and FLIP FLOPS, and as long as I have sunglasses on, no makeup is required.
Just some Starbucks and a smile.
6. Tonight I get to hang out with one of my favorite people, and tomorrow I get to hang out with ANOTHER one of my best friends. It's cool fun girl time!
7. Champagne. Cold, sweet, crisp, bubbly, champagne that tickles my mouth and makes me happy.

Happy Friday everyone.
Don't do anything I wouldn't do.
Or anything I would.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

A Vague Update, and a Notice to Followers

Would be a good canvas DIY for the bedroom

Hi friends.
I've missed you.
This whole "write every day in June" thing is really not working out well, is it?
There are potentially some big things on the horizon in my life, and I tend to get quiet online when I have the most on my mind.
I know, I'm now that bitch that blogs vague shit and pisses everyone off.
I'll give you all the details soon. I just don't like to put things into writing until they're for sure.
It's also a lot of pressure to have something to say every single day of the month, and I have trouble getting past the feeling that I have to have something really, really, good to say or it's not worth blogging.
Not that all my posts are reall, really good....
I digress.
I wanted to stop by today and let you all know that if you haven't heard already, apparently Google Reader is shutting down July 1st.
So, if you follow me on Google Reader, which I know several of you do, then you'll need to either follow using the little widget on the right, or through BlogLovin, which there is a button for on the right too.
You can also subscribe via email, but I've been told by a couple people that it's inconsistent. Sometimes my posts will come to your email, sometimes they lag for a few days.
Up to you.
I would hate to lose any of you lovely folks in the transition though.

In the meantime, I'll be back tomorrow with the Friday Diary.
I promise.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

What Would You Do?

Over the course of the last 25 years, I've met all different kinds of people.
Growing up in the left-of-center environment I did, you tend to see more of what man kind has to offer than you might like.
I've known drug dealers, pimps, prostitutes, murderers, Mormons, bikers, drinkers, bankers, smokers, outlaws, stay at home moms, musicians, magicians, writers, artists, free-loaders, wanderers, manipulators, caregivers, psychos, and simpletons.
And quite a few things in between.
I've had more than a few people come through my life in one manner or another, who I would consider to be....unattached.
People without children, spouses, full time jobs, or property in their name.
People that probably don't own a pair of shoes which are not flip flops. People with such a laid back philosophy about life and their role in it, that it is at once frustrating and awe inspiring.
I've known these people, I've dated these people, I've even had brief follies into living like these people. 
But really I've been raising babies since I was old enough to drive, so I don't know exactly what that must be like, or what I would do with my time if I were in their shoes sandals completely.
If I didn't have kids.
If I didn't need an 8-5, monday through friday job to support myself.
If car payments and good health insurance were no longer things that applied to me.
What would I do?
Where would I go?
Who would I bring with me?
Would I tend bar in Alaska for a while? Make conversation with the rugged fisherman and homesteaders, and use the term "lower 48"?
Would I have a taco truck in Hawaii, that roam the beaches all day selling whatever I felt like cooking, until I ran out of food and spent the rest of the day at the beach bar?
I picture myself being something in between a drifter and a grown up.
I don't want to panhandler or sleep in the park.
I'd like to be able to know I can feed myself the next time I need to.
But aside from a few good anchors in a few good places, I don't think I'd stay any place too long.
Just a road map, and someone to talk to on the way from here to there, and I think I'd be just fine.

What would you do?

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Eat: Chili Lime Grilled Shrimp Tacos with Chipotle Adobo Sauce

It's been a while since we've talked about food, right? 
What is Sarah's blog without some good old fashioned fatty food porn?!
Lately I've had the most ridiculous and incurable craving for grilled shrimp tacos.
Living in Arizona, you would think that awesome tacos would be as common as swimming pools and people who say "Hot enough for ya?"
But honestly, there are so many chain Mexican restaurants run by gringos out here, that really, truly amazing Mexican food can actually be a bit hard to find.
Anytime I go to a restaurant lately that has shrimp tacos on the menu, I have to try them. 
Mostly I've been overcharged, underfed, and sorely disappointed.
What's a girl to do??
Make her own, that's what.
BUT! I knew it wouldn't be as simple as just grilling up some shrimp and dumping it in a tortilla.
I need a good, smoky, spicy chipotle sauce! I need good, flavorful shrimp! I need it all!
I did some research, found some recipes and tips here and there, and thought, I think I'm ready to try this shit.
So I did. 
Surprisingly, they were super easy, and so fucking good.

First we'll start with the ingredients list.
You need:

1 bag of raw shrimp. I get the frozen stuff because it's cheaper, but you have to get the raw ones, and the larger ones the better because they shrink a bit when cooking.

1 can of chipotle peppers in Adobo Sauce. You can find these in the "International" section of your local grocery store. In Arizona this means a lot of Mexican food ingredients, and some boxes of pad Thai. For the adobo sauce, you also need sour cream and fresh limes, and garlic powder. 

If you're like me and like to make your own tortillas, you need 2 cups of flour, 1 cup of water, and three tablespoons of olive oil, plus salt and garlic powder to taste. 

First, thaw out your shrimp under cold running water.
Peel those bitches.
In a big bowl, toss them in 2 tablespoons or so of olive oil, and coat with chili powder, garlic powder and salt. 
Squeeze half a fresh lime over it and put them back in the fridge.

While those are chilling, make the dough for your tortillas. 
Mix the two cups flour with the 1 cup water and 3 tablespoons of olive oil and add a teaspoon or two of salt and garlic powder if you like them like that, which I do.
Mix it up in a big bowl with your hands. We keep it simple, 'round here.
Flour a surface like a wood cutting board, and dump the dough out on it.
Knead it real good, and shape it into a cute little ball like the one you see in the picture above.
Let it sit for a couple minutes and have a beer.
Once your beer is gone, rip the dough ball into smaller balls. Something between a golf ball and a lemon, depending how big you want your tortillas. 
Flour your rolling pin, and roll the dough out into something that sort of resembles a circle.
If you're me, it will never be a circle. You'll just be lucky to get it flat.
Roll them as thin as possible.

Heat up a non-stick skillet, and heat them on both sides until they bubble up a bit and have sexy little brown spots on them like this:

That's a good looking tortilla, am I right?

Now, cook as many as you want/need. The recipe makes quite a few, and you can wrap up the dough and save it in the fridge for later.

It's time to make the shrimp.

In the same hot skillet, wipe out the burnt flour with a cloth, and dump the shrimp right out of the bowl.
Add a little extra lime juice and olive oil, and sprinkle on garlic powder and salt to your liking. 
Grill them up until they plump up, get nice and firm, and the tails curl in a little, like this:

Now turn the heat off and cover those bad boys, but leave them on the burner. 
Make your chipotle sauce. 

Open your adobo peppers, and seperate the whole peppers from the sauce and the little pieces. 
In a bowl, add two or three big, heaping spoonfuls of sour cream. 
Start spooning in your adobo sauce from the can, and the little pieces of peppers, mixing well and tasting it as you go. Keep adding adobo sauce until you've reached the heat and smoky flavor you want.
Add some garlic powder, salt, and a few squirts of fresh lime too if you're feeling fancy, but really the adobo sauce has such a good, deep flavor you may not need anything else. 

And BOOM. 
You're done.

I ate the shrimp on the tortillas with nothing but lime juice and adobo sauce, but my kids like shredded cheese and lettuce and fresh tomato and all that.
Honestly by the time they were done I was so fucking hungry I was not wasting time with additional condiments!

Now, crack open a Corona and eat a few tacos, and look at pictures of the beach. 
Happy Summer.

A Summer Night Drive

There are few things that I love about summer at all more than being able to drive with the windows down at night.
I am a sucker for a night drive.
A perfect song on the radio, and blooming Summer wind swirling through the cab of the car, carrying the smells of desert sage, Jacaranda trees, and creosote bushes.
Inky blue skies and sunscreen still lingering from earlier in the day.
You can pack your kids in the car, turn on something soothing to listen to, and roll their heavily tinted windows down so they can see how the city sparkles at night, or if you find an unlit road, how many more stars you can see in the sky.
You can relax because they're safely strapped in behind you. The closest you'll come to having them in a cozy little sack on your back now that they're so big. And they'll eventually drift off to sleep, leaving you free to drive and roam and wander to your hearts content.
I love this city at night.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

My Relationship with a Work Week

{Found on Pinterest, source unknown}

Something strange happens as the work week inches slowly toward the weekend.
Starting with Monday, each passing day toward Saturday gets progressively more apathetic in my house.
On Monday we're still trying our best.
Putting our shoes away when we get home, because we just spent ALL DAY Sunday organizing shoes and cleaning the floor.
We still wipe the counters down after making dinner, still not only put our plates in the sink, but also WASH them after eating.
We're on our first date with this new week, and we want to impress it. Show it how organized and motivated we can be. I pick out the kids' clothes for the next day before I go to bed, I crawl in between clean sheets, free of Leggos, hot wheels, and for the love of God, sand.
{where does the sand come from? after months, YEARS, away from a playground that has sand, there will still be sand, inexplicably in my bed, so long as there are children in my house}
Along comes Tuesday, and we're definitely tired, but we haven't given up.
Sure, we're going to have a Stouffer's frozen lasagna for dinner, but hey, I might still make a salad with it, or some garlic bread.
I'll still remind the now slightly sluggish kids to put their shoes away, bring their cups back into the kitchen before bed, and at least rinse their dinner plates.
Before bed I still pick out their socks and underwear, at the very least.
Wednesday is up next, and she doesn't like us very much.
We stagger in the house at the end of the day like prize fighters who have fought their last round, and lost miserably.
Are your shoes put away? I don't even know.
What's for dinner? I don't even want to think about it.
By this day of the week are there still people actually cooking an entire meal, or are they ordering pizza too? I don't even care.
Just get me home. Get these pants off me. Get me to bed.
Thursday we catch a second wind.
We're excited! Tomorrow's Friday! It's almost over!
But then we remember that Friday isn't awesome until Friday is over, and you still have to get through the whole. friggin. day. before it's over,
Forget it. Just eat some cereal for dinner and go to bed without a bath. We're almost to Saturday.
Friday comes and we are absolutely limping across the finish line.
Mismatched socks? Fine.
Jeans you've worn twice this week already? Whatever.
You outgrew that shirt back in January, but you got it on by yourself rockstar, so lets just get the hell out of here and finish this week before I have a stroke.
Saturday morning dawns to find the house, and it's occupants, in complete disrepair.
The sink is so full of dishes you cannot so much as wash a fork without stirring up the stench of Wednesdays dinner remnants still dying a slow death in the drain.
The laundry situation has mutated from something calm and domestic, resting in an adorable little pile in it's basket by the washer, to a monsterous mountain of hell that hates you and everything you stand for.
No one is even sure at this point how the trash bag in the bin is still hanging on, but you're all very proud of it.

So you spend two straight days scrubbing and tossing and washing and folding and cussing and swearing that you will never ever ever let it get like this again.
Sunday night closes on a sparkling house, fresh laundry, and a house that smells like soap and not trash and dirty cat boxes.
You feel satisfied and ready for the week.

It will be different this time, you say.
I'll do better this time, you say.
But Wednesday is waiting for you. And she's an asshole.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


Here is a gratuitous picture of the men of Greys Anatomy to make up for my failures as a person.
Is it working?

I've missed a few days of this "Write every day" thing, yes?
Yes, it's true.
I am a bad blogger and even worse friend and person.
Well, maybe not that far, but you get the idea.
I've been tired, and busy, and just haven't really had much to say.
Unless you want to talk about how I bought some blue plates on clearance the other day, I'm afraid I will not dazzle you with my words right now.
Also, over the weekend my ovary got all ragey and tried to kill me.
It wasn't adorable.
So, while I'm trying to find a place for new plates in my kitchen that has like, two cupboards, literally, I promise I'll also try to think of something interesting to write about.
Until then, love birds, watch this amazing compilation of the best Kristin Wiig skits of all time. Target Lady is and always will be, my very favorite. 

Friday, June 14, 2013

The Friday Diary: I'm tired and out of coffee, so let's make this quick.

Hello, my dearest ones.
We all made it to Friday.
Is anyone else as exhausted as I am?
I don't know why, but me and even both the kids, just seem to be wiped today.
I think we're all three really, really ready for the weekend.
I need to sleep until 10 and then go to Starbucks in yoga pants and crazy hair.
That's the definition of Saturday.
Father's Day is this weekend, but seeing as how I am not a father, and neither of my children have fathers, and I'm not currently speaking to my father, I guess I'm off the hook, right?
It can just be Sunday.
That's fine by me.
If you're looking for something to listen to, I suggest that the soundtrack for this weekend be "Step" by Vampire Weekend, and "Barfly" by Ray Lamontagne.
The drink of choice will be Vodka and Lemonade.
Shorts, tank tops, and sandals are required at all times.

Happy Friday.
Try to stay awake.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

When Are You A Grown Up?

Do you ever feel like you're totally bullshitting your way through being an adult?
Like most of the time, you're just pretending to be grown up, but you pretend so much that you get so used to it, that you almost forget you're completely faking it? And then something happens. Something small and seemingly insignificant, something you've probably done several times before, and for a moment time seems to slow down, if not stop altogether, and you hear this voice in your head that says "Holy shit. I'm a grown up. How the fuck did this happen?"
It's only for a split second, and then you shake it off and go back to whatever you were doing, like making a holiday dinner for all your friends, or writing a check for a mortgage payment, or remembering to put the cap back on the fucking toothpaste.
It's weird.
At my age right now, at 25, I feel like my life is inherently and incomprehensibly different from most 25 year old girl's lives. I feel like I'm older right now, than most of the girls I know will ever be in their lives.
STILL though, I have these moments, these time stopping moments when I think "Who's idea was it to grow up?! When did this happen?"
Responsibility and maturity are weird.
When are you really, truly an adult?
Is it when you not only own a checkbook, but always know where it is, and how to actually write a check?
Is it when you start browsing online for new living room furniture more often than you browse for porn?
Is it when you can let a small child spit their gum out into your hand, or wipe their nose on your pants, or cough in your face without feeling a knee jerk instinct to throw them across the room and bathe in Lysol?
I don't know.
But today I taught my 9 year old daughter how to make Eggplant Parmesan and then I cleaned the baseboards in my kitchen.
I think I might be a grown up.


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Phoenix Eats: Rehab Burger Therapy

I love burgers.
It's one of my weaknesses.
A good, juicy, medium burger, a little crispy on the edges with nice flavorful meat....holy wow.
Add some cold, crunchy pickles, some Thousand Island and grilled onions, and you basically have my heart.
I search all the time for a really, really good burger place.
It has to have it all, too: excellent fries that aren't cold, stiff, or flavorless, good quality, juicy meat that is seasoned just right, and of course plenty of awesome sauces for me to dip my stuff in.
I'm a cumpulsive dipper.
Eat with me more than once and you can memorize my repitoir by heart: Waitress brings the food, I get excited like a little kid, as she's backing away slowly and offering the obligatory "anything else I can get you?" I am grabbing her by the elbow and asking for every sauce possible. I need ranch, spicy mayo, chipotle aeoli, the works, WHATEVER YOU HAVE THAT MY FRIES CAN SWIM IN.
Recently I found this place in Old Town Scottsdale.
No, not technically Phoenix, but really most of the food joints I recommend are not technically Phoenix.
Locals know that the word "Phoenix" can generally refer to anything in a reasonable distance from where you are. Scottsdale, Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, parts of Mesa, Paradise Valley and even sometimes West Phoenix can really mean Peoria, Glendal, even Surprise.
It's all relative, baby.
Back to the point: food.
So I found this place, and after the first BITE I was mad in love.
The fries are amazing. They have what Rehab calls "Mermaid dust" on them, and it's a zesty, lemony, salty seasoning that goes so good with ranch you'll want to punch yourself in the face.
Also, they have spicy Ketchup, y'all. That's taking dipping sauces to a whole new level.
And then there are the burgers.
Juicy, meaty, flavorfull and cooked just right.
If you like your burgers the way I described them above then when you go, ask for this:
"Relapse size MacGnarly burger, medium, extra pickles, fries, chipotle for dipping and a Coke, extra ice."
Just made your day, didn't I?

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Friday Diary: It's Monday, but we're going to pretend it's Friday, OK Guys?

Meanwhile, at the public pool....
Happy Monday, dear ones.
So far I am failing miserably at this month's goal, aren't I?
Who expected any different, though.
That's right. No one.
Anyhow, it's Monday, also known as EVERYONE'SFAVORITEDAYEVER.
I'm not sure if I hate Mondays nearly as much as the hundred million, million comments you hear all. day. long. about how much everyone else hates Mondays.
I mean, say something original, right?
Like "I'm in a bad mood today, not because it's Monday but because my left knee is mad at me again. We aren't speaking."

Over the weekend the kids and I spent every spare second at the pool in our neighborhood. After untold hours schlepping the kids and all their pool crap and their post-swimming-I'm-Tired-And in a bad mood-Attitudes back and forth from the pool, fighting disgusting crowds of fully clothes adults who swim in their JEANS {EW! STOP IT! BATHING SUITS ARE NOT EXPENSIVE} and probably-urinating-in this water as we speak-strange children, I am sorely wishing I would've looked harder for a house that had a pool like, right in the backyard.
I have friends who have this, and now that the kids are fully gung-ho about swimming, this kind of thing seems so decadent and lovely, I spend actual time during the day thinking about how awesome it would be to be like "HEY KIDS, WE'RE GOING SWIMMING!" and just open the back door instead of starting the car and wondering how much urine chlorine really gets rid of.
Are above ground pools still really white trashy? Or can you get away with it if you have small children and trouble controlling what you yell at strangers you who don't control their demon spawn in large bodies of water?

Also, I may or may not have actually thrown my 9 year old daughter at a teenage couple who were basically having the sexy time in the KIDS section of the pool.
They were not pleased, but on the bright side, I have flawless aim when throwing children at people.

Happy Monday.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

When You're Outnumbered in the Morning

In the morning, I have three people to get ready: me, and both the kids.
I remember when Lainie was two or three, thinking "God it will be so nice when she's a couple years older and can dress herself in the morning." 
Flash forward six years, and I'm still picking out her clothes, and dressing five year old Jack like he's a damn toddler.
It's hard.
Luckily I've never been one to care too much about how I look, so going to work every day looking close to homeless because I was the last to get ready, and I was subsequently out of time, is nothing new to me.
For the most part Lainie can physically dress herself, and Jack can too if we all have 5 hours to sit around while he takes 1 hour to put on each item of clothing, allowing for 10 minute play breaks in between each thing, and as long as I don't mind Lainie being too lazy to get clean underwear out of her drawer, or trying to leave the house in a sundress in February or a sweatsuit in August.
At any rate, mornings can be a fucking mad house around here, and while I'm not by any means perfect at navigating them calmly, these are my tips for any one else who ever has to get more than one kid ready early in the morning by themselves, and still also put their own clothes on before leaving the house:

1. If one of your kids is not a morning person, but another one of them is, always get the morning person up first. Let the morning grump ass sleep a couple more minutes, and use this time to like, brush your teeth or wash your face, or any of those other "little things" that are always done in the last half second before you ABSOLUTELY MUST LEAVE NOW OR BE SUPER LATE.

2. Pick clothes out the night before. I say this, yet I'm terrible at it, so I do one of two things: I either pick out the outfit for the morning grumpy kid {Jack} during those couple extra minutes I gave him to sleep, or I if I do remember to pick out his clothes the night before, I try dress him in them after his bath and before bed.
I know that sounds lazy and terrible, but hear me out: I usually only put the shirt on him, and only if it's a t-shirt, and obviously the clean underwear and the socks. He HAS to wear gym shoes to daycare, and finding socks in the morning for three people is similar to dismantling a bomb in the rain with someone giving you instructions in Japanese. I put his bottoms at the foot of his bed, and throw those on him as soon as he gets up, before he can argue.

3. Relax about TV in the morning. Once you've dressed both kids, or at least provided the ones that are old enough to dress themselves with clothes, let them read or watch TV or play a video game, or WHATEVER, so you can have a couple minutes alone in the bathroom to get ready. The mornings I get the most pissed off and stabby are the mornings when both kids are under my feet in the bathroom while I'm stumbling around trying to get ready. Also, you can use TV as a reward, for say, putting on your Goddamn shoes. "Put your shoes on in the next 30 seconds, and not only will I not leave you at a fire station, but I'll also let you watch TV for 10 minutes before we leave"

4. Give warnings. I like 15, 10, and 5 minute warnings. I announce that we are absolutely leaving in X amount of time, and I stick to it. If you aren't done getting dressed or getting your stuff together in that amount of time, you are getting in the car as you are, period. I have definitely taken kids to school in pajamas, without backpacks, or clutching Ziploc bags of dry cereal because they screwed around and didn't get ready until there was no time for breakfast. If you have to put your shoes on in the car on the way to school, fine. 
Trust me, it only takes a couple times of this for kids to really pay attention to your warnings.

5. Do it together. I've learned that once the kids are all dressed, it's sometimes easier to do stuff like face washing, teeth brushing and hair combing all together at one time. Sure the bathroom is super crowded, but you can go through in one swoop and do all those quick tasks at once, and nobody's teeth or hair gets forgotten. Yes, I've done that too.

6. Last but not least, coffee.
For the love of all that is good and sacred in this world, motherfucking coffee, please and thank you.

How do you get your minion army out the door on time?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

2013 Goals: June, Write every day. Hell.

So I literally JUST looked at my calendar and realized its June. And we're five days in. 
Also, I just remembered I had set some sort of goal for this month....and I'm five days into not working on it at all.
But, here I am and I'm going to make it right.
Sort of.
My goal this month is to write everyday.
Right now that's easy, because I've had two vodka and lemonades and I feel like chatting.
Hi. How are you? Do you like Ray Lamontagna? Me too.
I don't feel that bad about slightly drunk writing, because Hemingway always said to write drunk and edit sober, and therefore I am just taking sage advice from a classic and successful {and alcoholic} writer, and my mother always said to listen to your elders.
Actually she always said not to pack your cigarettes really well so you don't lose the cherry when you ash them, because she was also an alcoholic and a fucking terrible mother.
This is getting heavy.
Anyway, I am going to try and write everyday. 
At least every remaining day, in June, since five days have clearly passed.
I can't promise every post will be as deep and eloquent as this one, but I promise I will write SOMETHING every day. 
I hope you're excited, because I'm sure as hell not, and if neither of us are then what is the point of this god forsaken journey, I ask you???

Monday, June 3, 2013

Shit My Kids Say When They're Supposed to be in Bed

"I have to go potty"
"I'm thirsty"
"I wanted ice in my water"
"I want to find my baseball glove from last summer and sleep with it."
"I need more stuffed animals to sleep with"
"I have to go potty again"
"When was Harry Potter written?"
"How much ice cream can I have tomorrow?"
"I'm hungry again"
"Last time I promise"
"What noise does a Zebra make?"
"Where does the moon go when the sun is out?"
"I'm just getting a snack"
"Do we have any more frosted flakes?"
"When can I go swimming again?"
"I'm not tired"
"I promise I'll still get up in the morning, but let me stay up five more minutes"
"Why can't I watch the movie with you?"

Someone told me once that raising kids is similar to being pecked to death by chickens.