Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Spudnuts (Donuts-revisited)

I posted a cake donuts recipe some time ago. This, on request of a friend, is a Doughnuts (includes yeast, makes a dough instead of a batter) recipe that makes REALLY GOOD doughnuts. They don't end up heavy, or too sweet, or greasy. They actually are quite a lot like fresh doughnuts from a doughnut shop. And they have less sugar than bread. Nutritionally, these doughnuts are the equivalent of cinnamon toast--almost all the sugar comes from what you put on top.

The original recipe, as I received it, made 9 DOZEN doughnuts. Since nobody I know needs that many or wants to stand and make that many, I have scaled the recipe down to make just a couple dozen. Just quadruple this recipe for the original.


1/8 c + 2 tsp sugar
1/8 c shortening, melted
1 tsp salt
1 egg
1/2 c mashed potatoes (made fresh or from flakes)
2 pkts yeast (if you quadruple the recipe, use just 7)
1/2 c hot water (for yeast, so not too hot)
1/8 tsp nutmeg or cinnamon
1 c milk, warmed to just hotter than room temp (for the yeast) or baby bathwater temp
3-4 c flour

Mix hot water with sugar. Add yeast and let it get active. Add salt, cinnamon or nutmeg, shortening, egg, potatoes, and milk. Mix well. Add flour until you get a heavy, slightly sticky dough. It should be very soft. Put dough in a large greased bowl. Microwave for 10 seconds. Turn dough over. Microwave 10 seconds more. Then cover lightly and let rise in warm place "until double"--30 minutes. Punch dough down and then roll out on a well-floured board to 1/4 - 1/2 inch. Cut into doughnut shapes using a biscuit cutter, cookie cutter, or canning jar ring and a water bottle top (these work well because you can blow through the top to get stuck doughnut holes out). Place doughnuts and holes on well-greased wax paper and let raise 30 minutes. When they are double in size, slip a greased spatula under them and carefully slip (or tip) into hot oil Fry until lightly browned. Flip once and fry until golden. Cool on paper towels. Shake in sugar or cinnamon sugar while hot, glaze while warm, or frost or shake in powdered sugar when cool. If you shake them in powdered sugar when they're warm, they'll look and act sort of glazed the next day. Sort of. Best if eaten right away, like all doughnuts.

Note on oil temps: I test the oil with bits of leftover dough. When it pops up bubbling almost immediately and turns golden fairly quickly, it's ready for doughnuts. They should cook fairly quickly. It's tricky to get it just right without an electric frying pan (which I don't have) or fryer (which I just got but haven't used for doughnuts yet). If they cook too quickly, they'll brown before the dough is cooked through. If they cook too slowly, they'll absorb grease.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

CNN--Comedy News Now?

I read articles on CNN occasionally and often get lost clicking links to other stories when I do. Bad habit. Anyway, has a screen format where every article is summarized at the top, right next to the headline, so you can know the whole story without reading it. I've always seen it as some higher-ups way of shortcutting the writers and moving right on. It seems kind of counterproductive from a writer's standpoint: why write it if someone is going to give everyone the important info without having to read your words?

Anyway, today I was following links and found this summary at the top of a lifestlyes article:

"Story Highlights
Funny and busy writer Lisa Kogan details her hectic day
Offers Miss Cuckoo Pants $260,000 for extra hour of sleep
Pulls strand of ketchup-coated spaghetti out of bra"

A news summary of a comedy piece!

To me, this was much funnier than the article.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Enchiladas--sauce and all

Another recipe--I have started to store my creations here on the blog because then I can access them anywhere. And I think they're good, and, like every cook, if it tastes good I want to share it.

I've been searching for a good enchilada sauce recipe for a long time. Canned enchilada sauce is costly and often doesn't taste good. And I wanted a "throw together" recipe that uses what I usually have on hand, is easy as easy can be, and tastes great. We've tried canned. We've tried sauce mixes. Still not satisfied. So I have been using the "from mexico" sauce recipe from the Lion House International Cookbook. It's good, but not quite right somehow and it was time consuming (you have to brown flour in oil, then add water--which made a lot of steam and had to be stirred constantly while you were pouring it in...scary...and chili powder and stir while it thickens and add tomato sauce get the idea).

So I was reading one of my "recipes from our school" collections and found a recipe for cheese enchiladas that I had ignored before (who wants cheese enchiladas? We need meat!). Today I realized there was no "1 can of enchilada sauce" in the recipe, so I read it and found it was a recipe for sauce with instructions on how to use it to make cheese enchiladas--but the recipe was for the sauce. And it had the easiness factor right. But the spices were all wrong (1/4 c minced onion _doesn't_ equal 1/3 c fresh onion--1 tbsp minced dried onion equals one whole onion) and, true to form for these recipe collections, there were ingredients listed that were not anywhere in the instructions. Go figure. (It's either that or they say, "Add the sugar" and there's no sugar listed in the ingredients so you ahve no idea how much to use).

Anyway, knowing what I know about flavors we like, I made up my own spice combination to add, and played with the recipe, and it worked.

So, with no more blabbing: Enchilada Sauce

appx 30 oz of tomato sauce (2 big cans or 4 small cans)
1 tbsp minced dried onion
1 tbsp chili powder (don't worry--it's not 'hot' when it's done)
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp garlic powder (or salt--I have a single bottle that has both mixed)
1 c water (or so)

Mix all ingredients in a saucepan. Add water until it's the consistency you like. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer 15 minutes.

Use it straight for beef enchiladas. Add 1 c sour cream and 8-10 oz (1 can for most cans) cream of chicken or mushroom soup for chicken enchiladas.

It came out really really good. Finally.

Filling for enchiladas:


Brown 1 lb ground beef with onions (if you want to use them--in any form). Add 3/4 c sauce and 1 c cheese. Stir well. Fill tortilla with a line of this and a handful of cheese. Or layer beef mixture, cheese, and tortillas and pour sauce over all to bake.


Dice cooked chicken (1 whole chicken makes about 1 13X9 pan of enchiladas if you pack them tight). Add 1 can olives, sliced (or use sliced olives), 1/2-1 1/2 c sauce, and 1 chopped onion. (The onion part has been a sticking point for me because I don't like biting into onion. You can sautee the onions first so they aren't crunchy, or use minced dried onion or onion powder, or you can use the above sauce, which has onion in it, and skip the onion in the filling). Put the chicken mixture and a handful of cheese into a tortilla and roll it up. Or layer tortillas, chicken, and cheese. Pour sauce over all and bake. Tonight I skipped the olives and just put in the chicken with a little sauce on it and the cheese, and it was great!

Baking instructions
Put filled enchiladas (or layers) in a pan "greased" with some of the sauce. Cover with remaining sauce. Bake uncovered for 25 minutes at 350 if you don't use onions or pre-cook them (45 minutes covered at 350 if the onions are raw). Sprinkle with cheese and return to oven for 10 minutes uncovered, until cheese is melted and edges of pan are bubbly.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Halloween Gum

Anda ran in today and said "Are peas a fruit or vegetable?"
"Vegetable," I said.
"Oh," she said."I like them anyway."

Later, Daniel came over with a half-eaten piece of halloween candy.
"Can I have this?" he said.
"Yes; it's yours," I answered.
"What is it?" he asked.
"Gum," I said.
"Oh, gun?"
"Oh. Dumb."
"OH! Gum. Not dumb. Not dumb. Halloween gum."

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Poison Spindle and custard creme

I'd better get that manuscript spell checked fast. I just got two requests for FULL manuscripts, (never mind the partial), "please send ASAP" from well-established agencies. One is from one of the top top agencies in the nation.

That's not why I logged in to blogger, though. I initially intended to post my "mostly perfected now" recipe for easy creme brulee for one.

It is thus: One-Serving Easy Creme Brulee (any flavor)

1 egg (or 1 egg yolk--yolk comes out better, but whole egg is easier to use)
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 c liquid dairy product (don't laugh; I have successfully used milk, evaporated milk, and sour cream and milk mixed. Most recipes call for heavy cream. I am anxious to try cream cheese blended with milk. Creamed cottage cheese and milk would work, many options)
1 tsp vanilla (or other flavoring--I like 1 tsp vanilla plus 1 tbsp lemon juice)

Whisk it together. Put it in a ramekin (or other single-serving glass baking dish). Put the ramekin in a pan of hot water (water should come about half way up the side of the ramekin) and bake it at 300 for about 45 minutes. It's done when a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. It will still jiggle, though. Cool before eating. You can torch sugar on the top to make it official, but ours hardly ever lasts long enough to cool!

First Lines Revisted (again and again and again)

An agent requested the first hundred pages of my novel, and I was just getting ready to send them (Oh they were so perfect!) when I happened to reread chapter 1.

And I hated it!

Back to the drawing board.

The only first line I come back to over and over is the one I started with 2 years ago. The one that precipitated the cascading out of the rest of the novel.

"Kate hated to read."

But but but....I protest to myself. But I can't get away from it. The purpose of the first page, I tell myself, is to introduce the characters and setting, primarily. I'm not even going to try to introduce the entire problem on the first page because it is a complex issue--princess is missing, witches have taken over, and only Kate can fix it. (Funny that I haven't been able to distill it to that before, and now it was so EASY!). That comes within the first few chapters, anyway. I introduce the "urban fantasy" part's setting on the first page (used bookstore in the fall). So that leaves me with the character for the first paragraphs.

And "Kate hated to read" is a good way to start an introduction to this character, who says she hates to read but it well versed in both literary convention and the details of the literature, and who is sixteen but is just moving into an apartment above a used bookstore.

So I rewrote the beginning. Again. Back to square one, but with different words and not so long. Back to an introduction to all of Kate through an explanantion of her relationship with books. Back to possibly boring, but back to where I started and where I keep coming to.

Hopefully that's because it's actually the right beginning instead of being "like a dog to his vomit", as they say.

Rewrote that beginning twice, getting it just right and polished, and am now reading for typos in the 100 pages, which I thought were perfect but needed some tweaking (that resulted in the whole book being 6000 words shorter), and I'll send the partial off tonight.

I know you aren't supposed to query until it's all perfect. My problem is I always think it's perfect. And then I can always find something to fix.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Juvenile Primary Fibromyalgia Syndrome

Editor's note: I'nm not coming up high on searches anymore, but I'm glad I wrote nonetheless. I fixed the link below, if you want to look at Devin's list.

When I discovered that I am the second link you get on a google search of Colorado Juvenile Fibromyalgia, I decided I'd better write this all down.

We went to the doctor about whether or not my son has JPFS, and she belittled me and referred us to a psychiatrist--and wanted to send someone over to evaluate our son in our home to be sure it's not the home environment (read "his mother") that's causing the problems. The answer is no. You can evaluate what happens when he tries to handwrite just as easily in an office. And nobody is going to want to sit up until 6:00 am with me just to prove that he really can't fall asleep, even though we're doing everything right at bedtime (yes, I've fixed our "sleep hygiene").

So I did more research and discovered that mostly JPFS is diagnosed in teens.

I am not a doctor. I'm a mother. And a person who has lived with fibro in myself and my family all my life. Here are my thoughts on the issue:

The basic foundation of my ideas is simple. IF fibro is genetic (which the studies are saying is true), then it is something you are born with.

That means that you have it when you're a baby, and when you're a kid, and when you're a grownup. This is something nobody is denying.

IF fibro really is a hypersensitivity of the central nervous system (cause: genetics), THEN anyone who has fibro, regardless of age, should have the symptoms of a hypersensitive central nervous system.

SO I've looked at "Devin's List" (here)(, and those symptoms of just fibro, not of myofascial pain, should show up in children. The pain maybe not because mostly they haven't had a chance for the myofascial pain to develop until they are teens. This is why kids are not diagnosed until they are teens.

The problem is the diagnostic criteria for fibro for adults have been applied to kids, and the pain is one of the diagnostic criteria. But the pain is a side result of the fibro, not an actual symptom of it (see Devin's book and website for more on this). So to diagnose fibro in children, you would have to go with some core criteria rather than the adult diagnotics. The hypersensitivity of the CNS would be there, even if the pain is not. This is not an unsupported statement. A quick review of the abstracts of studies on JPFS (using Google Scholar) makes it clear that studies have established this already. The pain, dizziness, headaches, etc. are not any more frequent in children with fibro than they are in children without. Those are actually symptoms, according to Devin, or myofascial pain that accompanies fibro.

So to properly diagnose children with fibromyalgia, the researchers indicated that the only diagnotic criteria that are reliable are sleep disturbances (not "not refreshing sleep" that some people use, but just disturbances) and tenderpoints, which JPFS sufferers have. If you carefully read Devin's diagnostic list, you'll see that other symptoms of FMS could occur in children, but they would be attributed to other things.

Notably, those symptoms could easily be attributed to ADD. And sometimes the treatments would work, since both disorders affect (or are caused by--nobody knows for sure) both the dopamine and serotonin systems in the brain. Some people, apparently, have even had success treating fibro with L-tyrosine (a fairly effective home remedy for ADD) because it increases the amount of dopamine in the body (it's a dopamine precursor)--and ADD and Fibro have dopamine receptor issues (different dopamine receptors are affected in the different disorders, but increasing dopamine available wouldn't be selective in that matter).

ANYWAY, I think it could be tragic for a kid with Fibro to be diagnosed with ADD because then you're treating a very physical disorder with psychiatric drugs (not to say ADD isn't physical--I think it's also a physical disability). Psychiatric drugs are good things--if you have a problem that they help. But kids, especially who have still-developing brains, don't need their development messed with haphazardly.

Some random thoughts, now, about the specific symptoms and the kids (and the ease of misdiagnosing this):

According to Devin, fibro can include a tendency to cry easily. Also a tendency to become overstimulated. How many kids are labeled "sensitive" or "emotional" when it might actually be fibro? This tendency to be overstimulated can show up in newborns--even parenting manuals discuss it. At least in my kid, the overstimulation is expressed through hyperactivity--making him look like he has ADHD in public places with bright lights and lots of other people or new things to look at (like medical equipment or books or new toys). Likewise, the common fibro symptoms of anxiety, mood swings, unaccountable irritability, and difficulty concentrating would automatically point to ADD in a kid to most doctors, teachers, and parents. Add that to the fact that, by the time a fibro kid is school aged, they are struggling with the common side effects of sleep deprivation (because they are forced to get up even if they haven't slept and get to school), which mirror ADD too, and the discomfort sitting, which makes them squirmy. I suspect that "fibro kids" are inclined to not stay in their seats in school, not because they have ADHD and can't sit still but because the chairs are so unbearably uncomfortable that they eventually have to hop up and move around quickly to relieve the pain, just like adults with fibro do. Likewise, kids with fibro might have the common tendency to "space out" (like some ADD kids--especially, you might note, girls who have been diagnosed with ADD)(significant if you remember that fibro is more often diagnosed in women than men), the inability to hold their arms up (and therefore raise their hands in class--and therefore participate in classes at all), the very common avoidance of handwriting anything (giving them the "standard add" bad handwriting because they can't stand to hold the pen long enough to practice to get good handwriting). The physical and emotional sensitivity, along with a tendency to bruise and scar easily, that go with fibro would make it difficult for a kid with fibro to join in the regular sports and playground activities that a "normal" kid would have fun doing (for example, they would get hurt easily by being hit by a ball, and then they would be embarrassed because, no matter what they tried, they would cry about it). Not to mention they are often diagnosed with "growing pains" that exacerbate everything. And the muscle twitches that look like you have a motor tic, especially if they're on your face. Plus they've always got a runny nose (that's fibro) and are "allergic" to not just common allergens but also to changes in the weather (like rain or snow), and there's that annoying post-nasal drip that sometimes interferes with how clearly they can talk. And the sleep problems...I hardly want to go there. Suffice it to say that inability to fall asleep is often seen as a symptom of ADHD.

And, to make it all worse, fibro "cycles"--the kids have good days and bad days, just like adult sufferers, so sometimes they focus just fine and can do things, and other times they can't, so nobody would ever believe there might be a problem.

Even being in school would be difficult for JPFS kids because of weird things you'd never think of: getting up in the morning is hard for JPFS kids because of lots of aspects of fibro; wearing anything in their hair is painful for girls so they can't ever really be "in style" with their hair; they space out; inability to hold up your arms would make it hard to write on the chalkboard, hold a book, raise your hand to answer a question, participate in PE, get lunch in the lunch line, etc; difficulty sitting would make it hard to even be in class for the legally mandated 5 hours of learning a day.

Add to that the complication of not ever realizing you might be in pain (because you might not be--you just can't stand to hand write anything or raise your hand for some reason). Many adults with fibro block out the pain or simply aren't conscious of it until they think about it. Instead, they simply avoid certain activites but can't understand why. If you were a kid, this would be hard. You could never explain why you don't participate or hold still. You just can't, and trying harder makes you feel tense and that makes it all worse. So you can't tell someone why you didn't get your homework done (because you had to write a full page, and you just can't make yourself do it), but you can't say that anything hurts or that you feel out of the ordinary. Everyone (parents, teachers, friends)would be upset at you all the time. You would constantly hear "Why can't you just get it done?!" and you would wonder, yourself, "why not?" Just like I wondered for years why I couldn't just wash the dishes and pick up the toys.

How would that be for your self esteem? It's hard enough for grownups...imagine if you're six!

And nobody, of course, is pointing out that a senstive central nervous system isn't all bad. We just focus on the bad because it can be debilitating. But that's another blog post for another day. One about how fibro is one of those "superpowers" that also had handicaps attached (I can hear softer sounds than most people--oh, that means that moderately loud sounds are unbearable!)

Anyway, I'm sure there will be more on this soon. I just am starting to think I need to find out who to call to get this better known as a problem.....

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Ups and Downs

Got a partial request--and then a nice rejection with a personal note. My novel is not high concept enough.

I had to look that up.

High concept, as far as I can figure, means "You can explain the plot in 10 words or less and it has broad appeal."

You know, none of my novels are high concept, I guess. They do have very intriguing premises. The trouble is, they aren't written for your average, everyday teen. They are written for 13 year old girls with IQs over 120 who are widely read but who are still a little sensitive for full-out adult situations and language in literature, although they can handle the complexity and length of an adult novel. Like Adult Lite--complex, well-thought-out, exciting, long, not really about high school (because girls like that really think high school is dumb--why would you want to read about it?)--but no sex, all off-screen or bloodless violence, and no swearing. In other words, squeaky clean.

I can see why an agent might not pick that up--there might not be a big enough market. Smart LDS girls?

So I know now that I don't write adult lit--too sweet--but I realized tonight that "Young Adult" lit is all that stuff I hate--coming of age, teen angst, etc. It's what chick lit was based on. It's set in the high school. It's gaggy.

So how do I search for an agent? What search terms do I use? "Smart?" It's like literary teen fiction, except literary has as strong (and unpleasant to me) connotations as "Young Adult". It's that genre question again...It's fairytale fantasy, but who reps that?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

happy birthday to me

For my birthday, Tim arranged it that I could go get ice cream with a couple of my friends, while the men watched the children (10 children in all). This ended up being really fun. I haven't hung out with a bunch of girls I'm not related to in years. Maybe since high school--maybe even since junior high--except on my mission.

What I realized, hanging out with a couple of very intelligent women who I respect a great deal, is that I am a smart person. I already knew this. It's just that kids don't care if you're brilliant--they just want dinner and a hug. So I don't get to show off my brain much. Instead, i spend all day facing things that I'm failing at, like keeping house. It was nice to have a chance to do something I'm really good at--talking with brilliant people who also happen to be a writer (her book's under contract at Galludet University Press right now!) and a musician (just ready to submit a song to a publisher). So that was really edifying and satisfying, although I missed Tim. He still is my best friend anywhere, and, while talking to girls is fun, talking to couples is even more fun. I married Tim because he's my best friend, and it's still true. (And he does care that I'm smart, and doesn't care that I'm a terrible housekeeper).

Then, when we left, Tim suggested we get pizza. I had scrounged ten dollars to get ice cream and then one of my friends treated us, so I still had it. Enough to get just one pizza and share it. But we got to the pizza place literally two minutes after they closed. So I knocked on the door. And the kid there gave me the armload of pizzas he was going to have to throw into the dumpster. For FREE! So we came home with five pizzas. This was a huge fun thing for us. We all love pizza, but lately there's no spare money for such luxuries. So it was a nice birthday present.

It rained all day--and now it's totally, irretrievably fall. I had to turn the furnace on, finally.

I found a new, cool recipe from a "recipes from our students" fundraiser cookbook (I collect those old fundraiser cookbooks with recipes regular people submit--my oldest is from 1920). The recipe is labeled "Grandma Brownies." This is a stupid name because there's no chocolate in them at alll, and they are a kind of foamy-topped bar cookie that's really good. As is the norm with the non-professional recipes, you have to assume a lot in making them and make adjustments as you go. They never have good instructions. Plus, since the recipe says, "brownies" but there was no cocoa in the ingredients, I added just a touch. So here is the fixed up version, which ought to be called "River Foam Bar Cookies" Or "Muddy Water" or something related but more appetizing because that's what it looks like. Maybe Albino Brownies, or Inside Out Brownies because the merengue topping is brown but the cookie/cake part is white. It comes out similar to Ooey Gooey Butter Cake

Foamy Bar Cookies (maybe Brown Merengue Cookies?)

1/2 c shortening
2 c sugar
2 eggs
1 more egg, separated
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 c flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cocoa powder (optional)
1 c Brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Cream the shortening and sugar. Add two eggs and one yolk and vanilla. Beat well. With the mixer off, put in the flour, salt, and baking powder, in that order, and then put the mixer on low and let it mix thoroughly.

At this point, the original recipe says, "spread mixture on floured cookie sheet." This is easier said than done. First of all, either use a smaller cookie sheet (not the jelly-roll size, but the 11x15 size) or don't expect it to reach the edges. Secondly, you might try just greasing the cookie sheet or just leaving it untreated or it's almost impossible to spread the stuff. It makes a very thin layer.

Now, in a clean dry bowl, beat the remaining eggwhite until it forms stiff peaks. Add the brown sugar a little at a time, beating well after each (just like you do for white sugar merengue). Beat in the vanilla last. Spread in a thin layer over the mixture already on the cookie sheet. Bake 35 minutes at 350. Remove from the oven carefully because the mixture will still be soft and the merengue will shift and break if you tip the tray (I learned this from experience).

This stuff is really good. It just needs a better name. I'll take votes in the comments, if you want to comment.

Other really great recipes from this book that I can email you if you want: icebox cookies (like home made cinnamon cookie dough tubes--fun and honestly the tastiest dough I've ever tried) and a mexican meat dinner torte that was fabulous and easy. I call it "Taco Stacks" because that's what it really was.

One of the things I've learned lately is that being poor forces you into a healthier diet. I can't afford to buy salad dressing lately, so I finally learned how to make my own. It's just as good as the original, there are millions of great recipes online, and it doesn't have any chemicals or preservatives in it--just herbs for flavor and, usually, mayo and milk for substance. I also (thanks to the Desperation dinners Ladies) can now make my own taco seasoning that tastes just like the taco seasoning packets from Western Family (1 tsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp each cumin, garlic, and onion powders, 3 tbsp ketchup, and 1/3 c water, and a dash of pepper for 1 lb meat). Cheaper, easier, and I never have to worry about running out--and, again, no preservatives added (other than what might be in my spices).

So why am I spending so much time cooking? I think there must be two reasons: One is that I hadn't turned the furnace on yet and so I think I was cooking to warm up when it got cold outside. I've always been sensitive to the outside temperature so that even when the house is plenty warm, if the temp drops outside, I'm freezing. The other is that by nightfall, my body aches even when I'm sitting in my rocking chair, so I find myself wandering the house, too achy to sit or to clean up, and baking (specifically--not cooking) is a pacing kind of activity, so I bake. The moosebutter guys used to laugh because I made a cake every night at midnight when we lived in Provo. Now I am tempted, and often resist, but not always. So, I guess, I'm a good cook, at least partially, because of fibromyalgia!

What a strange life I lead.

Thursday, October 11, 2007


First, this post from Nathan Bransford is nice:
His point is: If you have to talk yourself into something, it probably isn't right. I agree in most cases. Except visiting teaching and making dinner. I have to talk myself into those things, and they are right. I have yet to successfully talk myself into keeping the house clean, so I don't know about that. But if you're trying to talk yourself into, oh, say--marrying someone? I might pause a bit longer before jumping into that.

Now, Dan:

he says "Mom, can I have some pied apples? Oh, mean Dried apples?"

I said, "Oh, Dan--your diaper stinks! PU!"
He said, "P Me!"
(Pee Indeed...thought I)

I just said to Dan: "Your name is Daniel. Do you know what your long name is?"
"Poop," he answered confidently.

And, no, nobody has ever called him that ever before.

Dan perched on the edge of the bathtub and said, "I want to ride a horse, too!" I guess the tub is a horse.

Tonight, I was getting toast for everyone and the butter knife slipped out of my hands and landed between his feet. He started laughing and said, "Mom, I like that time when you smashed my toes with the knife." (I am not exaggerating. He really said all that, word for word).

And all this was just today!

I thought Melody Yellowvan had retired from touring...

We thought we gave up the touring life last December. In fact, we planned to give up on heavily marketing moosebutter and just let it go--to it's death, we thought. It wasn't doing well, and, despite our very best efforts at marketing, no shows were coming in. Not just too few. NONE.

So we walked away, told the guys to get jobs (which they did), and moved on.

And then the calls started coming. First a school show here and there. Then a few more. Then a big company asking Tim to write an advertisement and have moosebutter perform it for a viral video campaign they were running that's going quite well. That led to other work with them, too. And bunches of people asking Tim to work with their choirs, groups, conferences, etc. as a master clinician. He's directing another honor choir, just finished being the professional advisor and a major clinician for a vocal workshop that had a successful first year.

And now another agent called. The agent moosebutter already is working with happens to be the agent for the guy who won America's Got Talent, but since we never managed to get the press materials together that he needed (because we figured we'd let moosebutter die a natural death), he hasn't been able to work for us. This new agent (the agent for the A Cappella Group that competed in America's Got Talent) books college shows nationwide, and he's talking to Tim--there's no deal yet by any stretch. They're just talking about it.

So I thought we were done touring forever. Then Tim actually toured almost every other weekend for the whole summer season. And now this.

I guess I'd better not get rid of my touring rig, yet. Even if Tim is just going himself on weekends, Melody Yellowvan may not get to retire to being a nice little family van yet. Regardless of what happens with this agent from the midwest, it looks like we can't get away.

Of course, she now has 175,000 miles on her, so she might have to retire anyway.

Insomnia revisited

So Caleb still has insomnia. He's just old enough that I leave him awake and go to bed. His doctor said it probably WASN'T ADD because kids with ADD wouldn't lay there for two or three hours trying to fall asleep. They would get up and get into stuff.

She has a good point.

What I guess I mentioned before, but we never really took seriously, was a common childhood disorder that causes sleep problems. In fact, sleep problems are one of the major diagnostic criteria. And it's genetic--and runs in both sides of my family and, in fact, I have it, too.

Fibromyalgia, aka Fibrositis.

In kids, it is Juvenile Primary Fibromyalgia Syndrome. And it is apparently very common and usually misdiagnosed by six or more doctors before it's properly identified. Often, kids get what we got--a referral to a psychiatrist--when they need a referral to a rheumatologist.

So we're going to go back to our family doctor, who I really like, and see if we can get a referral to Denver Children's Hospital. I am assuming there is an expert there, since some of the research on JPFS is coming out of Denver Children's Hospital.

Caleb seems to be a textbook case. And it would explain so many things....

So why didn't I consider this before? Duh....

News and foods

I started querying agents again. My theory is that if the book is good enough, or at least, if the query letter is, I should get requests for reads coming.

So far so good--requests for partials are coming in.

We'll see what happens. With the "old" version, I had requests for partials, and fulls, but no offers. But it's the right length now, and much more exciting, and (dare I say it) better written. distract myself--FOOD!

I think I finally perfected my orange sauce recipe (you know, the oriental sauce that coats orange chicken). The key was a tidbit I learned from a muffin recipe: if you want good orange flavor in anything, forego the orange juice, orange zest, and orange extract. Instead, blend half an orange--with its peel still on--with the liquid for the recipe in the blender. Fast, easy, and the best orange flavor I've ever used. And cheap cheap cheap, especially in the winter.

So, my new and improved, modified and like no other, recipe for Oriental Orange Sauce:

1 1/2 c water
1/2 orange, sliced and with pits removed but keep the skin on

Blend these until only tiny bits of orange remain. It gets quite frothy. Pour into a small saucepan.

1 c brown sugar (I use light brown sugar)
1/3 c rice vinegar (red wine vinegar makes a nice substitute if necessary)
2-3 tsp soy sauce
scant 1/3 c lemon juice
1/4 tsp powdered ginger
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried snipped chives or chopped green onion
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes or a dash of red pepper powder

Bring to a boil. Remove it from heat and let it sit for 10 minutes or until you get back to it.

Mix 10 tsp cornstarch in a bowl with about 1/4 c water--enough to make it liquid. Pour this into the slightly cooled sauce. Return to high heat and bring to a boil. It will clarify slightly and thicken quickly after it begins to boil. At this point, remove it from the heat and let it cool.

It's done.

Use it to coat chicken pieces before or after you cook them, or mix with noodles or rice, or use it as a dip, or pour it over a chicken in a crock pot, or whatever you like sauce for! It's really really good.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

more cool lobrary of congress stuff

Go to this link. Type the name of your city in the search box and press enter. Like magic, you get historic photos--100 of them for my town! Very cool

Sunday, October 07, 2007

My Favorite Awards Ceremony

I love this award: the Ig Nobel award, given to the scientists who do the strangest research each year.

This year's awards can be reviewed at Discovery News:

(I'm on a mac using Safari, so I can't make it a link; copy and paste)

Have fun learning all about hamster jet lag, vanilla flavor extracted from cow dung, love bombs.....

Oh, just go read it.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Another Yummy Treat: Peanutbuttercup swirl

Tasty treat I invented tonight:

1 package instant vanilla pudding
1 package instant chocolate pudding
1/8 c peanut butter (for small pudding box) OR 1/4 c peanut butter (for large box)
Milk (as much as boxes require)

Beat peanut butter in mixer bowl until smooth. Gradually add all the milk for the vanilla pudding, stirring constantly until mixture is smooth and fully mixed. Add pudding according to box directions. Pour into a large bowl to "set up."

Meanwhile, mix chocolate pudding according to box. Pour over the peanut butter pudding and fold together until it's swirled.

Tastes great. Makes good pudding pops, too.

For a really special treat, fold a tub of whipped cream into either the peanut butter or the chocolate pudding (or both) before you swirl them.