Monthly Archives: December 2006

New Year’s Eve


I think I will make some resolutions this year. I didn’t last year, and that worked out okay for me, but not so well as I would have liked. Last year, I posted a “ten things I want in 2006” entry and I reached half of them but really only nailed three. There are some goals I’d like to reach in 2007 and I’m going to take Kizz’s advice and speak them out loud in the hopes that expressing intention helps me bring them into being.

1. I will exercise more. Right now, I’m only in the gym because I’m being paid to be there – the only workouts I get are the ones I’m leading. I will add two sessions to that routine – maybe three, depending on how it goes. I’m not so concerned about weight loss (though some weight loss would be nice) as I am about my overall health. I come from a genetic cesspool and would like to not share the same fate as my sedentary relatives.

2. I will get organized. I’ve already started the process on this one, and having the extra space of the addition has helped a lot. I’m thinking, specifically, of my teacher files and the dreaded linen closet at the moment, but there are a lot of other places that could use a good going-over, if not outright purging, and I mean to get that done. Oh, and this also includes putting our estates in trust and finding someone to take the girls should some tragedy befall husband and me simultaneously. I fear we have too many proverbial loose ends.

3. I will spend more time with friends and family. April’s unexpected death reminded me, in a very visceral way, that we can’t take a moment for granted. I’m pretty sure all my people know how I feel about them, but it can’t be a bad thing to remind them.

4. I will continue to make time for my children. This was on last year’s list, and I think I did a pretty good job of it, but I’d like to do more. We’ve started cooking together, the girls and I, and we’ve started a fun tradition of going bowling on Friday evenings with Bowyer and the boys as a family. I need to pay more attention to Punkin, though, as she’s starting to enter her awkward pre-teen stage. She needs more snuggling, and I think it’s important that she has it.

5. I would like, by this time next year, to have a fully completed house. This was also on last year’s list, but only got about 3/4 done. There are two rooms upstairs – the bedroom/bathroom combo – that are still done up in plywood, and it’d be really nice to be able to move in because doing so would change the entire set up of the house. The girls will move into the room Husband and I sleep in now, which means everyone will sleep on the same level of the house (the girls’ room is presently downstairs). It will also mean we can split the bunk beds, which means I will be able to reach both my children for proper smooches goodnight. How can THAT be bad?

I wish you all a fun, safe New Year’s celebration. Please be careful – you may be okay to drive, but that doesn’t mean the moron in the other lane is….

Here’s hoping that 2007 is the best yet!

***p.s. sorry about the comic – I couldn’t figure out how to format it so it fit the page. Click on it to get a full-size image…


Filed under Little Bits of Nothingness

The REAL Reason I Hate Snow…

Because it brings out the MORON in every driver!

Holy crap!

We got our first appreciable snowfall today.  It totaled to about two inches or so – really, nothing major.  The family, having a little bit of cabin fever, decided to take a trek to the mall (usually a 10 minute or so ride) to have a light lunch and trade a pair of jeans that Husband got for Christmas for a different color.

It took us 45 minutes to get to the mall.  Now, lest you think we’re masochists, the trip is such that we reach a point of no return about halfway there – we’re dumped onto a highway on which the first exit is to the mall and there’s no way to turn back.  Also, the road is built such that one can’t SEE if there’s a nightmare on the highway until one is actually ON said highway.

Traffic was, obviously and rightly, very slow.  That, in itself, wasn’t the problem.  No, the problem was the guy in the SUV facing north in the southbound passing lane of the two lane bay bridge  We’re betting that he got that way by gawking at the seven or so cars in various states of crunchitude on the north bound side of the  road.  Ugh.  Once we got past the show, though, things were smooth, if slow, going.

We decided to take our sweet time at the mall – it was pretty obvious, from the state of the northbound highway (our only way home) that we wouldn’t be rushing home, anyway.  After a leisurely stroll through the Levi’s and Lands’ End departments of Sears, the Chili family had a food court lunch, headed back into the snow to get to a grocery store to procure fixings for New Year’s dinner, and made its way back home.

The going was MUCH better coming back than going out, though people were still driving like morons.  Allow me to remind the morons of the world that driving an SUV or a Volvo, even one equipped with top of the line snow tires, does NOT excempt one from THE LAWS OF PHYSICS!

Mona Lisa VitoSir Issac Newton doesn’t give a fig if it’s got all wheel drive or posi-traction, a body in motion is going to stay in freaking motion until acted upon by an equal and opposite force – and that force had better not be MY car.

Also, unless you’re Superman and have x-ray vision, clean the f**king snow off the back window!  UGH!


Filed under General Bitching

The Reviews Are WRONG

We took the girls to see Eragon yesterday.

It was the first showing of the afternoon, the theatre was FREEZING and the screen was a little too small for our liking, but the movie itself was, at least to MY humble estimation, a lot of fun.

We’d heard nothing but bad reviews of the film- go to and you’ll find entire pages of holier-than-thou bitching about how the film offered nothing new to the genre, about how it stole from everything from Star Wars to Lord of the Ring, and about how lame the script writing was.  Now, I can’t say that I necessarily disagree with some of the accusations of creative borrowing from previous stories, but I happened to LIKE the originals in question, so I didn’t mind so much that those rather distinctive flavors came back.  I should also disclaim here that I didn’t read the book: Husband read it aloud to the girls over a series of bedtimes, and I was usually otherwise engaged in cleaning up after dinner or grading end-of-term papers.  Because of my ignorance of the text, I wasn’t bothered by diversions from it.  I thought that the film was well-crafted, exciting, and visually stunning.

My family engaged themselves in discussing the differences between the film and the book as we made our way to the holiday clearance section at a nearby Target (I NEVER buy wrapping paper or ribbons at full price!), but everyone agreed that most of the changes made in the screenplay didn’t detract from the story.  My husband was a little disappointed that there wasn’t more attention paid to the backstory of the mentor – there was a scene involving the son of the mentor’s rival that, because I hadn’t read the book, left me a little confused – but even he declared that the film was very well done.   We decided that film reviewers ought to just lighten the hell up.

I wouldn’t take really young’uns to the show – there was a scary villian and quite a few orc-like nasties, and there was a good deal of sword and arrow violence – but both my girls (ages 7 and 9, though, admittedly, very mature 7 and 9) survived just fine.  I’m betting that kids would like the story far more if they were familiar with the book, but I’m also betting that grown-ups would just as soon go into it without preconcieved notions.

No one’s asking me, but I give it a good, solid thumbs-up.


Filed under Little Bits of Nothingness, movies

The Winner Recipe

I promised I’d post the recipe for the steamed chocolate bread pudding that I used to unceremoniously boot the plum pudding off its proverbial throne. I got the original recipe from The New Basics Cookbook by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins, but I modified it a bit, as I am wont to do, so I’m giving you the recipe as *I* made it…

1 loaf chocolate bread (yeast bread made with flour, cocoa powder, sugar, yeast, milk, eggs and vanilla – oh, and mini chocolate chips, if you’re so inclined), cut into cubes

9 oz. good quality dark chocolate – I used a combination of Lindt 85% and Trader Joe’s 72%

1 1/2 c each milk and heavy cream

1 c half and half

1 c sugar

12 egg yolks – I’ll tell you later why this is funny…

1 t vanilla extract

pinch salt

Coarsely chop chocolate and put in a bowl set over simmering water to melt. Meanwhile, combine all the dairy in a saucepan and heat to almost boiling. While the dairy is heating, beat the sugar and egg yolks together until well blended. Slowly drizzle the hot diary into the yolks, whisking constantly, then strain the mixture into a large bowl and skim off any foam. Slowly add the melted chocolate, whisking all the while. Stir in the vanilla and salt.

Arrange the cubed bread in a large, heatproof bowl (I used a 10 cup Pyrex, and it just fit) and pour the custard mixture over. Set the bowl on a plate or in a pan to catch drips, then put a plate on top of the mixture and set a heavy can on top of the plate and allow the bread to soak in the custard. I let the thing set for about 20 minutes, then went back and poured in the custard that wouldn’t fit in the first go-round, but if you can get it all in at once, that’s fine, too. Right about now, set your oven to 425•.

Cover the bowl with tin foil that’s been poked a bit to allow for steam to escape, and set the bowl in a deep pan and pour in enough boiling water to come up about 2/3 of the way up the side of the bowl (I used a dutch oven – none of my roasting pans was deep enough). Set that in the oven and bake until the custard is either absorbed or solidified into a lovely, custardy splodge – it took mine about an hour and ten minutes.

Cool completely before turning out onto a dish. I made mine a day ahead and stashed it in the fridge overnight, so I had to dip the bowl in hot water to release the pudding, but it was just wonderful cold and sprinkled with a little bit of 1ox sugar.

I’m not sure anyone really missed the plum pudding…..

(oh, and why is 12 egg yolks funny? WeedWoman just discovered, last week, that one of the causes of her intestinal woes is that she’s allergic to eggs. She came by on Christmas day and eyed the desserts, then decided to try a teensy-tiny bit of the chocolate pudding. It didn’t occurr to either of us that this would be a problem, until I exclaimed that I did in an ENTIRE DOZEN eggs for the thing. Both our eyes got big, and she promply spit her nibble out, but not before she got an idea of just how glorious it really was…)


Filed under Uncategorized

What the HELL!?

Yesterday, I posted an entry announcing a new blogger in our midst.  The comments I’m getting to that post tell me that the link I included sends readers to the National Weather Service website, but when *I* click that link, I get taken right where I’m supposed to be.  What’s UP with that?!?

I suspect that none of my commenters would play such a practical joke on me, though I can’t be certain; being, as they are, a bunch of very funny folk.  I can’t see that anything is wrong, though, which means I can’t fix it.  No one’s told me, yet, if the same thing happens when they click on the link in my blogroll.

SO!  If you’re among those who are being erroneously directed to the weather forecast for Ft. Worth, Texas while trying to reach my friend’s new blog, type this:

into your browser window and see what happens.   Let me know, okay?  If this is a problem, I’ve gotta get the WordPress people on it..


Filed under Blogroll, Questions


…check out the blogroll! We’ve got a new blogger!

NHFalcon, who is fast becoming a good friend of mine, has decided to start writing online, and I’m very excited he has. He’s smart and funny and writes exceedingly well. Go on over and check him out; you won’t be sorry you did.

Tell him Chili sent you!


Filed under Blogroll, Friends

Ten Things Tuesday

Holiday Edition!

1. It is entirely possible for us to host 11 people for dinner in our newly expanded house. Not only is it possible, it is quite enjoyable – though I did wish I had a bigger dishwasher.

2. My movie collection was expanded yesterday to include What Dreams May Come (I have the book, but wanted the movie, too), the first seasons of The Muppet Show and 24, Amistad and the Die Hard Trilogy!

3. A well-brined, 22 pound turkey will roast to a safe internal temperature in just under three hours.

4. I have 13 hours of holiday music on my iPod.

5. I did not give my husband his “winner” gift this year, but I was party to its being purchased for him. On my suggestion, his dad gave him a gorgeous reproduction of an old fashioned map of the world, which will be framed forthwith and hung on a vast expanse of empty wall in the dining room / library.

6. The chocolate bread pudding was a winner. I’ll post the recipe tomorrow.

7. I learned that it is vitally important to line a pan in which one bakes homemade cinnamon rolls with parchment paper. I was only able to extract one bun, and the pan was a nightmare to clean.

8. My sister received a bottle of Crown Royal from MeadMaker, so I got to try whiskey for the very first time. I liked it quite a bit, and may obtain my own bottle some time in the not so distant future. I don’t remember which blogger made the “chocolate and whiskey”comment, but I can see now why that would be considered a treat…

9.  Pistachios are VERY addictive.

10.  It was a most excellent holiday celebration here at Chez Chili and, though I’m thoroughly exhausted at the moment, I’m very, very glad we were able to do it.


Filed under ten things Tuesday