Saturday, May 30, 2009


I've seen this emailed to me before, but this time I read it on the Cooking Light Bulletin Board. The board has recipes, current events, moms groups, etc...

Anyways, this forward always makes me laugh.


1. You accidentally enter your PIN on the microwave.

2. You haven't played solitaire with real cards in years.

3. You have a list of 15 phone numbers to reach your family of three.

4. You e-mail or text the person who works at the desk next to you.

5. Your reason for not staying in touch with friends and family is that they don't have e-mail addresses.

6. You pull up in your own driveway and use your cell phone to see if anyone is home to help you carry in the groceries.

7. Every commercial on television has a website at the bottom of the screen.

8. Leaving the house without your cell phone, which you didn't even have the first 20 or 30 (or 60) years of your life, is now a cause for panic and you turn around to go and get it.

10. You get up in the morning and go online before getting your coffee.

11. You start tilting your head sideways to smile. : )

12. You're reading this and nodding and laughing.

13. Even worse, you know exactly to whom you are going to forward this message.

14. You are too busy to notice there was no #9 on this list.

15. You actually scrolled back up to check that there wasn't a #9 on this list.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Local, Seasonal Food Controversy

Alice Waters, a very famous chef, is in the middle of a controversy.

She is THE advocate for knowing where your food comes, eats locally and eating what is in season.

In many respects, I agree with her. However, in this economy it is difficult to practice eating in such a way due to resources.

I am attaching an interesting round table discussion between Alice Waters, Anthony Bourdain and Duff Goldman.

What do you think?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wordful Wednesday/Thousand Word Thursday

I never know which category is correct so I decided to just go ahead and post :)

This is from the little monkeys birthday party on Saturday:

The little monkey turned 5 and is next to me.

Disclaimer: I dress them alike VERY rarely but I couldn't resist with this dress.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Dirty Dancing, The Musical

On Saturday I took my mom to see Dirty Dancing at the Pantages Theater in Los Angeles. It was her belated Mothers Day gift.

Truthfully, I had VERY LOW expectations for this show. I loved the movie and did not think that the musical could do the movie justice.

Boy was I wrong!! The musical was AMAZING!!

My background is that I have been involved with theater since I was a sophomore in high school, where I was on Stage Crew. During college, I stage managed, produced, back stage managed, etc... our college theater. I have seen plays and musicals in London, New York, San Francisco, Vegas and LA. I have had a passion for theater for the last 18 years.

Dirty Dancing, the musical, blew me away. It is FOR SURE in the top 5 musicals I have EVER seen. I can not say enough good things about it. And my reaction is NOT unique. Every person I talk to feels the same way, including my mother.

The sets - unbelievable. They were able to employee mediums I had never seen used in such unique ways. The rotating stage gave a three dimensional quality to the performance, that many times is lacking in stage shows. The way that they showed Baby and Johnny in the lake was unexpected and amazing.

The voices - unbelievably good. And strong. And powerful. The musical numbers were enhanced by the voices to the nth degree!

The dancing - WOW!! That is the only way to describe it. The dancing encompassed ballroom and free style. As in the movie, much of the story was told through dance, and what amazing dancing it was!! Maybe the best I have ever seen.

The acting - very good. The actress who plays baby really has the role down pat. The actor who plays Johnny has an AMAZING body. He is a very good actor (aside from trying VERY hard to get the American accent just right).

Overall, I would give the show an unequivocal 10!!

I would urge anyone who can get to the Pantages before the end of June to definitely see this show!!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend

This year, Memorial Day came early. Usually, most people travel somewhere outside of where they live.

This year, it seems like most people stayed home. Luckily though, two of my closest friends, and my parents, came down from San Francisco.

We had a birthday party for the little monkey, who turned 5. We held the party at a play place, which was perfect. Two hours of partying, then we get to leave while the play place does all the clean up. All we provided was the food and drinks for the adults. They did EVERYTHING else.

After, my closest friends, from SF, and a couple of folks who live near us, came over and swam in our pool for a couple of hours.

Then its was off to drive my friend, and her son, to the airport. I took my mom with me because I surprised her with theater tickets as a Mothers Day gift - we were seeing Dirty Dancing that night!!!

Sunday we had another birthday to attend - the big monkey's friends big sister. This was a pool and movie party. Happy Birthday to Tiffany and Stacee (it was the mom's birthday that day)!! She had two tons of food at her party and it was all so yummy!! The movie was Mall Cop - really funny!

Today, we had another kids birthday to go to. This one was also at a play place (not the same one ours was at). This place had a bunch of blow up slides and different structures. We think it would be really cool to have an adult party there, complete with an open bar ;) The food at this party was REALLY good pizza and a couple of fruit trays. Dessert was birthday cake.

Some of my friends still tease me about this post. Today's birthday only had pizza, fruit and cake. However, there was enough pizza for everyone. Even if people took thirds and fourths. Same with the fruit. That is the difference. I truly don't care what the food at a party consists of - I just don't think that I should come home starving if I do decide to eat.

After the party today, I met 2 friends at a new foot massage place down the street. At $19.95 for a full body massage (albeit with clothes on), I will definitely be coming back.

The massage was the perfect ending to this weekend. Friends and family in from out of town, swimming every day, a party every day, and a bit of relaxation for me. Now if only I had on extra day to recuperate.

Tomorrow, I will review the musical we went to see, Dirty Dancing. It was easily in the top 5 musicals I have ever seen.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Open House

Tonight was Open House for the big monkey. I got to see what she has been working on, she got to show me her projects, and I got to apologize to the teacher for getting her DRUNK as a SKUNK. She told me that her Sunday was non-existent after that Saturday night ;)

Most importantly - I got to spy on the 2nd grade classrooms. The 1st one we walked in to had incense burning (WTF?) and was a tree/earth theme. The classroom actually seemed very imaginative and cool but I heard that the teacher yells.

The 2nd classroom was actually a teacher the monkey has already had - she was in a split K/1st grade last year in the afternoons (for kids whose math or science was above grade level). She's teaching 2nd grade this year and will be again next year. Great teacher, but VERY laid back. Might not be the best fit to have her for a second year.

The 3rd teachers classroom was ALL about animals and science. You can tell that she put a lot of work in to her classroom and her kids.

I'm OK, and I think the monkey would be, with either the 1st or 3rd teacher, but we'll see what happens. I wonder if a bottle of vodka will do the trick, since the current teachers pick next years class assignments?

Most of all, I hope that she is in the same classroom with her closest friends (whose moms I adore).

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Monkey Cupcakes

I am including my recipe for Monkey Cupcakes, which are SUPER easy to make. They turn out very cute and silly and can be customized however you want. I love the cake I made too, but the cupcakes are special.

Monkey Cupcakes
baked in 3 inch cup pans, makes 12 or 24 reg (2-1/2 inch)size

Veg Oil spray
flour for dusting pans

1 pkg yellow cake mix
1-1/2 cups mashed bananas
1/2 c water
1/2 c veg oil
3 large eggs
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Prepare pans by spraying and dusting with flour. Heat oven to 350.

Combine cake mix, bananas, water, oil, eggs and cinnamon in large mixing bowl and blend 30 seconds. Scrape down sides and mix on med speed 2 min. Spoon into prepared pans filling 3/4 way full. Bake 24-28 min for large cupcakes or 18-20 for standard size. Cool 5 min and remove from pans. Place on wire rack to cool 15 min. Meanwhile, prepare icing.

Frost cupcakes and place uncovered in refrigerator 20 min to set frosting. Store under glass at room temp up to 3 days or in fridge up to 1 week. Freeze up to 6 months. Thaw overnight in fridge before serving.

To decorate like monkeys, place 2 M&Ms for eyes. With a icing from the grocery store, pipe a semicircle for a wide grin and nose if you want. For ears, secure one mini Nilla wafer cookie (cut in 1/2) into the frosting until they hold (using a little extra frosting if needed). Use a regular Nilla wafer for the mouth (cut off the top 1/3 of the wafer) . Sprinkle sprinkles around the edges for hair/fur.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

My little monkey

The little monkey is turning 5 on Wednesday. I am making her a monkey cake. Normally I make monkey cupcakes but the pre-school owner (yes, the same bitch who told me that my little one couldn't dance) told me not to bring cupcakes because the kids only eat the top :(

So, I am making a monkey cake. I'll probably be up until 1am between that and wrapping the gifts but it's all for my little monkey.

No more toddler - she's now a little girl!

Here is the finished cake (and it's only 12:30am).

Sunday, May 17, 2009

My Monkeys

Today was a gorgeous day. And it has been warm all week. This means that, thanks to the cover being on, and the solar panels working, the monkey's were able to swim today. Hopefully, they'll be able to swim the rest of the summer.

About an hour in to swimming, they took off their bikini tops and continued to swim. My almost 5 year old and my 6.5 year old were playing like they didn't have a care in the world.

In the past year or so, the monkeys have started to be embarrassed in front of their dad - and don't really want to change in front of him. It's really nice to see that they still have some of their little kid tendencies firmly in place.

As much as I want them to grow up, I really don't want them to lose this innocence and start covering up around dad. As my little one approaches 5, on Wednesday, I wish her a quick trip to maturity and a very slow trip out of innocence.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

What I did Saturday

I am turning in to my mother. When I was young, I always wondered how and why my mother ran around ALL the time. Now I realize it is because there are NOT enough hour in the day, especially when you have kids.

This was my today:
09:20am - Leave the house
09:25am - Drop off book at a girl friends house
09:35am - Drop off big monkey at Russian school
10:00am - Go to farmers market with little monkey
11:00am - Little monkey has ballet
12:00pm - Finish ballet and MUCH NEEDED coffee
12:45pm - Stop by new Henry's market
01:10pm - Pick up big monkey from Russian school
02:00pm - Drop off monkey's at in-laws
03:00pm - Come home
03:30pm - Drive to new tutoring place to inquire about math tutoring
04:00pm - Go to mall to get white underwear so they won't show under leotard for big monkey
04:30pm - Drive baby sitter to her friends house
05:30pm - Waxing appointment (where I fell asleep because as long as I am laying on a bed it doesn't matter what's being done to me - um, within reason ;))
07:00pm - Come home and eat first/only meal of left overs and chocolate candy
08:30pm - Pick up baby sitter from her friends house
09:00pm - Go back to new market, called Henry's, to look around and do some grocery shopping without the monkey
10:00pm - Come home and RELAX

I will be picking up the monkey's tomorrow morning.

Noe of what I did today was unique or unlike a typical Saturday. Furthermore, I am sure that most parents have similar weekend on a regular basis.

That being said, I have no idea how my mother kept this up for YEARS!! I am pooped

Friday, May 15, 2009

Douchebag Anthem

This just cracked me up! One of the funniest things I have ever seen. And SO TRUE, especially if you live in LA.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Grey's Anatomy

OMFG!!! Really??? Seriously??? Best cliff hanger ever!!

No way I can wait for next season!!! I can bet anyone that next season's 1st show is going to have a RECORD number of viewers!

Wordful Wednesday/Thousand Word Thursday

Not sure which one this falls under but:

This picture was taken in Lego Land during our spring break.

The ride operator had the two "cars" compete against the other to see which team yelled the loudest on the ride that goes up and down. Big surprise but our kids were the loudest.

They wanted their prize!

In the end, our kids were tenacious and ballsy enough to get the ride operator to give each of them money! It was just a penny each, but still...

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I'm learning

I'm my, ahem, advanced age I am learning to bite my tongue and keep certain things to myself.

Today I went to the little monkey's preschool recital. She performed beautifully, as always. She danced very well, pointing her toes I thought better than everyone else.

It took all my will-power not to come up to the owner of the preschool and give her a piece of my mind in regards to the disparaging comments she made.

I will take it as a sign of getting wiser. Sometimes, getting wiser doesn't feel better ;)

She's in the grey in front:

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Bon Qui Qui - Anjelah Johnson

I saw this on my friends facebook page and thought it was HI-larious!!!

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Wrong Feature

This is my Monday feature, "The WRONG feature".

Play along.

5 things you think maybe be wrong, for one reason or another and 1 that you KNOW is wrong.

Is this wrong:
  • I came home from the gym and had 2 cookies and a glass of milk
  • I missed two days of blogging and am sad that I haven't put the last two days down on paper
  • I feel anxious when I have too many things on my TIVO - as if my TV shows miss me
  • I am obsessed with reading the blogs of The Real Housewives of NYC
  • I want my monkey's to take ball room dancing lessons at the studio owned by Alec Mazo (of Dancing with the Stars fame) just so I have a chance at meeting Maxim Chmerkovskiy

I KNOW this is just WRONG :

  • I haven't answered comments as often as I have wanted to. I promise to do better.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Stream of Consciousness

  • Thanks everyone for making me feel like I'm not alone.
  • I will hopefully come back to my normal, happy (at least usually) self soon.
  • Today I helped a friend go shopping for her daughters birthday. Along the way we picked up some cute clothes for the kiddies and just spent a couple of hours talking about nothing in particular. Then I helped her set up a little bit. I had a really fun time, but all I really want is to do nothing for a couple of days. Can that be arranged?
  • I need to send a couple of posts I have been working on the
  • I really like the fact that I can leave early from work when I am just mentally tired (I don't take advantage of it too often).
  • I feel like baking something but am too tired to get up.
  • I bought some really cute modal pajamas today - they match the little monkeys.
  • I wonder if the pool is warm enough to swim in?
  • Good night!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Why does everyone have crap going on?

I used to think that once life started, I mean really started, that everything would be fine and I would live my life happily until I was old and grey.

Wow!! Was I naive. From the outside, I have a great life. I have a good looking husband, 2 amazing daughters, live in a nice house and have a job I really like.

On the inside, my life is kind of a mess (let's leave it at that for now). I know that life is not perfect. I know that thing aren't always what they look like and that you never know the strife in other people's lives.

But, come on!! How is it that everyone I know has crap in their lives. That the perfect lives and marriages I thought that OTHER PEOPLE had, are not perfect. I don't know if it's the economy, or just this past year, but everyone is having issues in their lives.

No one is truly happy with every aspect of their lives. If their marriage is fine, work sucks. If work is fine, their marriage sucks. If one child is doing well, the other child is Satan incarnate. If they like their house, they hate their families. And on, and on...

That's one of the reasons I go to Latin Jam - I have no time for the thoughts in my head because I am so busy trying to follow along. That's one of the reasons I blog - I can get some of my thoughts out in to the ethos. That's one of the reasons I over schedule myself - so I have no time to reflect on my woes.

Now I truly get it when adults used to talk about enjoying our youth, and not to want to grow up too fast. This being an adult thing sucks!!

That being said, I am grateful for everything I have. I just wish I could have everything I want - not monetary, just what I envisioned my family life would be like.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A Dinner Party with Friends

On Sunday I had some friends over for dinner (it had been a while since the last time) and decided to make a couple of dishes I hadn't made before.

One of my friends says that EVERY time she is with me, she tries something she has never had before. I am seeing how long I can keep this streak going for. So far it's been about 7 months :)

She had never had duck, so duck was definitely on the menu. Also, for a while now, I have been craving garlic noodles from Crustacean restaurant. I found a copy cat recipe which I then bastardized even more. Both of these dishes were very good, but I have got to say, the noodles were phenomenal!!!

I don't have pictures because I has 1.5 hours to put the whole mean together, but both dishes came out beautifully.

Chinatown Steamed and Roasted Duck
Recipe By: Tyler Florence

1 whole (4 to 5 pound) duck
1 tablespoon Chinese five-spice powder
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
5 slices big fresh ginger
4 cloves garlic
1/2 bunch green onions
1 tangerine,peel cut in big strips
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup soy sauce

Duck is notoriously a fatty bird, to diminish the fat and produce a crispy skin, begin by trimming the excess fat from the neck and body. Rinse the duck, inside and out, and pat dry thoroughly with paper towels. Combine the Chinese five-spice, sugar, and salt in a small bowl. Rub the spice mixture all over the duck, inside and out. Salt and five-spice powder makes a fragrant dry marinade, which draws some of the moisture from the duck so that the spices penetrate. Stuff the duck cavity with the aromatics: the ginger, garlic, green onions, and tangerine peel. Fold the wing tips back under the duck and tie the legs together with kitchen string. Poke the duck breast a few times, piercing the skin.
Place a roasting pan on the stovetop over 2 burners and fill with 2-inches of water, turn the heat to medium. Set a V-rack insert inside the pan and lay the duck on the rack, breast-side up. Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Steam the duck for 45 minutes, checking the water level periodically. Steaming the duck first melts away some of the fat and shrinks the skin.
In a small saucepan combine the vinegar, honey, and soy sauce over low heat. Cook and stir for 5 minutes until thick. The duck will be lacquered with the sweet glaze, which caramelizes during roasting, making the skin crisp and brown.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Take the foil off the duck, remove the rack with the duck, and pour out the water and all the fat that has rendered out (this is great to use in other dishes like fried rice.) Put the rack with the duck back inside the roasting pan. Baste the duck with the vinegar mixture, until all the skin is completely coated in the glaze. Stick the whole thing in the oven. Roast the duck for 1 hour, basting periodically with any remaining glaze to set in a deep mahogany color. Tent the breast with some foil if it gets too dark. The legs will wiggle easily when it's done. Carve and serve.

Crustacean-inspired Garlic Noodles Recipe

1 lb fresh noodles
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic (pounded)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 1/2 teaspoons chicken bouillon powder (used vegetable bouillon cube)
2 1/2 teaspoons oyster sauce
5 teaspoons grated parmesan cheese (omitted - it REALLY didn't need it so I'm glad I left it out)

Rinse the noodles with cold water and set aside. Heat up a pot of water and let it boil. Boil the noodles in the hot water until they are done, drain the water, and set aside to cool down the noodles.

In a pan, saute the garlic with the olive oil in medium heat. The purpose is to infuse the olive oil with garlicky flavor. Discard the garlic and then add in 4 tablespoons of butter and turn the heat to low. Add in the chicken bouillon powder, garlic powder, oyster sauce and blend well. Set aside to let it cool.

Once the garlic mixture is cool and the noodles are cool at room temperature, pour the garlic mixture over the noodles and toss them together to blend well. Add in the grated parmesan cheese, toss well, and serve immediately.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


OK - WTF is wrong with people?? Seriously!!!

My 4 year old (almost 5) monkey takes a ballet class and a Broadway jazz class. In her ballet class, she is the youngest, but one of the best.

This morning, I dropped my little monkey off at preschool. This is a Russian, private preschool. As the monkey walks in to the school, the owner pulls me aside and tells me the following:

She feels like she needs to inform me that I am wasting my money on the dance classes the monkey is taking. That during rehearsals for their recital, she and the dance teacher that comes to the preschool, noticed that the monkey has no dance-ability. That the other kids are so much better than her. That the dance classes were doing nothing for her. That maybe she should get a new teacher. That maybe she should trying going to the dance teacher that comes to the preschool.

I was flabbergasted, to say the least. Thank G-d I was wearing sunglasses when we had this conversation. I mean, really, WTF????? Why would you feel the need to say this to me? Did I ask for your opinion???

This has annoyed me the entire day, and I'm not even sure why. It's not like I believe her, but still... No mom likes to be told that their kid sucks!

Only in a Russian preschool, can the people be so rude as to insult you under the guise of giving you advice! Thankfully, the monkey graduates from there in August.

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Wrong Feature

This is my Monday feature, "The WRONG feature".

Play along.

5 things you think maybe be wrong, for one reason or another and 1 that you KNOW is wrong.

Is this wrong:
  • I got my first graders teacher drunk on Saturday night at a school fund raiser
  • My dinner tonight was left over desserts from dinner last night
  • I constantly wish there was a way to TIVO (actually DirecTV DVR) three shows at one time. Yes, I love TV.
  • I want to look in to the future 5 years to see if the choices I am making are the right ones
  • I'd love to hire someone to rearrange my closet because I have a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear - and I'm scared to take a whack at it myself

I KNOW this is just WRONG :

The Hoff is binge drinking again - and makes his 16 year old take care of him. . Seriously, grow the eff up!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Teachers are people too

Last night I got the monkey's 1st grade teacher DUH-RUNK!

Another parent and I went to a silent auction for the school. The theme was sixties, maybe 70 people showed up, and it was pretty boring. We decided to partake in the bar. All of the sudden we see the monkey's teacher (who teaches her daughter too). We decided to make things more interesting and do some shots. We asked her teacher to partake. She was game.

She had no idea that you could do Vodka shots. As a person of Russian origin, we don't sip Vodka. Sipping vodka is nasty. We shoot it - and not tiny American shots. But big ole Russian shots (about an American double shot at least). Over the evening, we did 3 double shots. We ended up having a great time with the teacher.

One thing - I swear like a sailor when I drink - oops! I normally won't swear much, and not at all in front of the kids, but fuck, when I drink, I like to drop "f" bombs.

Hopefully she won't remember that on Monday.

I was telling this story to my friends when one said "teachers are people too". I should have know better, especially after reading Vodka Mom, but for some reason I feel like I corrupted her.

I still remember hearing her say, "I can drink, but you got me wasted" over and over again!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Time is running ahead

Tonight I got off late from work and decided to stop and get a bite to eat. I went to a Chinese restaurant I had never been to before, even though it's around the corner from my house.

There were groups of senior citizens eating. In fact, I was the only person under 50 there (maybe 60). There was a number of small groups and one big group of 20 or so.

They all looked to be having a great time, chatting and reliving their youth. Or just going out to eat with their spouse.

Today, I am constantly running around, wishing for more time here, less time there. I am constantly looking to improve myself, my life.

These people made me stop. Reassess a little bit. And slow down.

What a great lesson.