Thursday, October 22, 2009

Quaffs for Bad Crafters

Dear Reader,

I apologize for not providing you a recipe, but sometimes even food won't help and there is nothing to do but drink. Allow me to explain-

This week found me at my wits end, practically perched on my window ledge with a very heavy and unstable Singer Sewing Machine Quantum 2623.

When my son's teacher sent an email saying that she needed parent volunteers to sew together the pieces of a "Climate Quilt" the children made, I said, sure I can help with that! After all I made a beautiful quilt when I was pregnant with that very same son. That I was still making that quilt long after my daughter had been born, almost three years later, did not occur to me. I had imagined that other parents would help with the quilt also, so was therefore surprised when she handed me all twenty four squares.

Now a word on these squares. They were of varying fabrics, sizes and some were so loaded down with glue and felt and yarn and doo dads they were nearly an inch thick. Some of the glued on hearts and stuff were falling off. The first step was to go to a fabric store and buy some reinforcement in the form of Tacky Glue.

That done, I had my husband go down to the basement and lug up the old sewing machine. Luckily the last person to use that machine was my mother, who won the Singer Sewing Contest at the tender age of fourteen, so the thing was threaded correctly. I sewed together two of the squares in about four seconds. But then a snag. A literal snag. And the thread came out of the needle and lord only knows what was happening with the freaking bobbin and something was making a clunking noise. I called my mom, who was having friends over for dinner and not in the mood to help. Harumph.

I fiddled around with the machine for a while, and then I started to cry. I cried out of frustration, feeling like a failure, knowing that I have been shown how to work the stinking sewing machine about a hundred times and was completely useless at it, because I always volunteer to do stuff and this was exactly the kind of half-assed job I usually did. And I cried for the children of Caitlin's class, whose contribution to the global climate quilt was going to look crappy all because of me, and because it was going to take me three whole days to sew the thing by hand.

So I had a glass of wine and googled "How to thread a sewing machine." I was instantly provided with infuriating videos from smug and crafty ladies, like irritating Rebecca, and this one with totally annoying music that makes it impossible to hear what she's saying, and Natalie who just makes me feel entirely inadequate for myriad reasons. I cried some more and blamed my husband for buying me this impossible machine in the first place. What kind of sick Christmas present was this?

I had another glass of wine along with some deep breaths. I called my friend Heidi who can sew stuff in her sleep. She didn't answer. I polished off that glass of wine and poured myself another. I picked up two more squares and sewed them by hand, pricking my fingers because my vision was so obscured by tears and wine. Then Heidi called. Without even seeing what kind of sewing machine I have, she talked me through the entire threading process from start to finish. When I got it working and sewed some more stuff, I cried again and then had another glass of wine to celebrate.

And now, I actually like my sewing machine. I'm not sure when I will use it again, but thanks to Heidi, the Climate Quilt lives on!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Cookie Bowls For Nobel Prize Winners

Recent events have many people believing that anybody – even you - could someday receive a telephone call with the news that they have been awarded a Nobel Peace Prize. Not all feelings are bad, and celebratory feelings can be eaten, too. I have whipped up Cookie Bowls For Nobel Prize Winners should you ever be one.

Cookie Bowls For Nobel Prize Winners

You will need:

Nobel Prize

Cookie Dough

Baking Spray

Ice Cream

When you answer your phone and hear the following, “Gratis, du har vunnit Nobels fredspris!” Don’t hang up! You are not having a stroke, it is Swedish! In fact, you have just won a Nobel Prize! Be sure to ask, “Hur mycket är detta pris värt?” or “How much is this prize worth?” Ten million kroner? That’s about a million and a half in regular money. The next call you make should be to a real estate broker. While doing so, fire up your oven to 350°. If you don’t need the money, for example if you are a best selling author and person of influence already living in a nice house, a good idea would be to donate the money to charity. That would maximize the appearance of your good nature and show the world you are deserving of such an honor. Either way, break out some cookie dough. You can make the dough yourself – Toll House works well, but why not blow some of that prize money on dough that someone else made? Spray a muffin pan with baking spray and pop it in the oven.

Write to your alma mater’s alumni magazine, making sure that everyone you ever knew – especially that know-it-all freshman room mate who thinks she’s so important because she’s got a local radio show – knows about your good fortune. Take the pan out of the oven and squish cookie dough into the muffin cups leaving a well in the center. Stick pan back in the oven.

You’re going to need to make a speech, and it would be a good idea to write one. Make sure that it includes the following:

1 funny anecdote about your childhood

4 (at least) jokes – making at least one in Swedish would go a long way

6 counts of humility

7 hopes for the future

Practice the speech in the mirror, as you are going to need to keep a straight face while orating.

When the cookie bowls are brown and crisp on the outside, remove them from the oven and pop them out of the muffin cups and fill with a scoop of ice cream as you update your facebook profile to list profession as “Nobel Prize-winning Peacemaker.”

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Weekly update!

I haven't been able to post anything in a while as I have been really self-absorbed and lazy, constantly googling myself and generally messing around on the computer doing all kinds of things that are entirely unproductive and useless. I thought I would share with you some of the fruits of my labor.

Amazon offers a great program that allows people to review stuff.
Fortunately the large majority of reviews for my book have been great. For example Katie Osborne called it “Laugh out loud funny” and thanks to NaughtiLiterati who said, “This is the funniest and most fun cookbook I've ever read.” And I want to give a special shout-out to Gordon M. Wagner who said, “I keep wanting to use the word 'laser' for just how precise the humor is -- sharp and biting, yet completely charming.” But then I came across this one by a fellow who goes by the moniker MagicSkip:

The other thing about this book is that it is NOT, as you might expect (in spite of the title), emotional comfort foods to make you feel BETTER when you're down -- it really is recipes for "self-loathing"; stuff that you could pig out on and end up feeling worse than you did before. Seriously. "Double Crust Apple Pie for Recreational Bulimics" has about two sentences of pie-prep, followed by "Actually, you're just going to throw it up anyway. Forget it." and don't even get me started on the "Cocktail Nibblers for Alcoholics".
Don't read this book depressed -- it will push you over the edge.

MagicSkip plunked down one lousy star for his rating. So I thought I would take a look at who this magic man is.

MagicSkip has reviews for all sorts of things! For example he simply adores his Bucket Boss Brand Mug Boss saying, “The best thing is that it lets people know that in your heart-of-hearts, you are a hands-on TOOL PERSON.” He also has fond feelings for Caldrea Dish Soap and would have given it five stars but for the fact that, “When I squirt it on a messy pan, it doesn't stick to where I squirted it.” And don’t get him started on The Switch Black Cherry Drink, “When I get more, I want to try it as a mixer with vodka.”

Alas, my book is not alone on the list of things MagicSkip does not like. For example he did not at all appreciate the children’s book Guess How Much I Love You, railing, “Little Nutbrown Hare (why couldn't he/she have a NAME?!?!?)” And he says of the Whole Spice Chipotle Chili Powder, “When I sprinkle it into a sauce, enough of it enters the air and I end up inhaling it, and it feels like I'm burning my nose. YUCK!”

That’s the wonderful thing about the Internet. It offers a little window into the life and mind of someone else. And it lets you see what you look like with someone else’s hair.

First Lady Heather Obama

Posh Whaley Spice

Heather Gosselin. Don't get any ideas, Jon.