Monthly Archives: December 2010

Here Are Some Things We Said Today While Registering At Sur La Table And Bed Bath And Beyond

I have a lot to say about registering. A LOT. I’ll say it pretty soon, so be on the lookout. For now, this strange day can perhaps best be summarized with a few things I remember coming out of our mouths.

Jessica: Look, a Gravy boat!
Bret: But we’ve never once made gravy.
Jessica: I just really want a gravy boat!
Bret: Why?
Jessica: Gravy! In a boat!

Jessica: I’m getting a cake platter and you can’t stop me.

Bret: Do we need any hollow plastic onions?

Bret: If one more person asks us if we need help I’m going to kick over this stack of Le Creuset Dutch ovens.

Both of us, many times: SEVENTY FIVE DOLLARS???

Bret: I don’t know if this whisk is that much better than the whisk we have at home.

Jessica: I have a newfound sympathy for people who register. I will never speak ill of anyone’s registry ever.

Bret: I’m so… tired. But I haven’t bought anything.

Bret: I don’t think Betty our account rep knows what “per se” means because she says it in every sentence.

Jessica: Can you promise me that you’ll never let me register for a chip and dip set? Because chips and dips can go in two separate bowls.

Jessica: Do we need a two-tier tray?
Bret: What the hell is that?
Jessica: I don’t know!
Bret: Sounds suspiciously like you’re trying to get a cake platter that holds two cakes!
Jessica: No, I swear!

Jessica: They actually don’t have any salad bowls on this list, but they do have salad spinners.
Bret: Well what are you gonna put your salads in when you’re done spinnin’ em?

Two Really Swell Ladies

And I love them both very much.

It’s Winter And My Lens Is Flaring Up Again

Another engagement photo from Drew. No photoshoppery involved, just a plain old-fashioned lens flare.

This may be my favorite one yet.

The Dough, Cap’n, She’s Sour!

Warning: only read this if for some reason you’re interested in my attempts to make a sourdough starter. Others beware. If you’re a fraction as obsessed with bread as I am, you may derive a modicum of pleasure from the following. But just one li’l modicum.

If all you want to get out of this post is instructions on how to make your very own li’l sourdough starter, click here!

click for source

I like bread. Nay: I love it. After Jessica, my family, and my guitar, it’s the thing I pour most of the rest of my love into. I’ve gone over my deep and dear love of bread in a previous post or two. Anyone who dares claim a dislike of bread, well, I eye them warily, head askance, brow thoroughly furrowed. Thorough-furrowed. Because not liking bread, to me, is akin to a dislike of kittens, or moonbeams, or True Love, or the Beatles. Or chocolate.

Wait a minute: CHOCOLATE BREAD. Baked with moonbeams! Eaten in the company of kittens!

Anyhow, so when I thought about why I’d never tried to make sourdough before, I drew a blank. I mean, I’m kind of a prime candidate. I love bread, and sourdough is the very best bread there ever was – better even than the mythical ambrosia of ancient Greece, which I think included bread. I also love the process of making bread, the kneading, the feel of the dough, the smell of it baking, punching it down, slicing it – plus I happen to live in a climate ideally suited for sourdough. I have time (and flour LOL*) on my hands. My name even sounds like bread. The very blood that courses through my veins is a carefully crafted mixture of bread and platelets. And so on.

*[I used to think LOL stood for Lots Of Laughs. I still like that better.]

So finally I decided, enough is enough. No more bullshit excuses. No more nonsense. This is a perfect time in my life for kitchen experimentation, especially of the type that requires lots of patience and pseudo-gross chemical reactions and bacteria. Over the past few weeks I started not one but three separate starters from three distinctly different recipes, and experienced a wide range of success, from “This is not sourdough bread OK” all the way to “Bret, seriously, you made this? Like, yourself? No cheaties?”

No cheaties. None at all.


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The Wynette Chronicles

For the uninitiated, Wynette is our new dog. We’ve had her for a week and a half, and she is, like, VERY cute. I mean, I know all pet owners think this of their pets, and I’m sure they’re all right. But Wynette is extra-cute.


She took a course in Puppy Dog Eyes and she totally aced the final exam. She also got very high marks in Being So Damn Cute All The Time, as well as an advanced seminar in 18th Century Ear-Floppery.

Jessica’s friend gifted us this very cute and shockingly loud little squeaky blue ball man-thing with feet and horns, and Wynette was pretty stoked:

It’s kind of hard for her to get her mouth around it, which is great because she’s not able to make it squeak its ear-shattering loudest without doing so. Most of the time she forces a series of little squawks out of it, punctuated by an occasional blast of aural pain.

Oh, she’s not without her frustrations. She’s kind of a spaz on walks, and she gets restless and pace-y most evenings around 8 or 9 and drives a us little bit bonkers by not sitting still.

Fortunately, she’s really a Good Dog. She’s learning to sit, is very well housetrained, and (usually) sleeps through the night. And she’s got her very first class in Doggie Obedience on Monday, first in a 6-part course.  I’m sure she’ll do great, given her success in the higher level courses.

I also really like to pick her up. In fact, I’m like that with most animals: I just have to pick them up. Some cats like it, others aren’t so sure. With dogs, they’re not really hold-y types of animals, unless you’re talking about chihuahuas or others of that size. Wynette just sort of goes quiet when I do it, casually looking around in a state of mild confusion.

Like this:

I’m sure she loves every second.


Howdy there – when you have a moment (why not right now?), be sure to hop on over to fellow blogger Lizzie’s new site where I have a little guest post about what Christmastime means to me. It’s part of a great series she has going on about the holidays, and it apparently brought out my cheesy side. It’s called “Lassen Was Christmas,” a title which will make no sense unless you read the post.

Go! Read! I’ll be here, waiting. Patiently.

Groomzilla Watch 12/2/10

Ladies and gentlemen, hold onto your hats; if you don’t wear a hat, find one, put it on, and then hold onto it. Thought to be extinct for months, killed off by extended periods of inactivity, a Groomzilla specimen was fished out of the waters of the Internet yesterday, a modern-day coelocanth.

Here is how it went down:

I was in bed, reading my latest Michael Connelly mystery (I’m a man obsessed), Wynette safely tucked into her crate, Jessica readying herself for her favorite activity of all (sleeping), when something awful dawned upon me.

“Baby,” I said, “sometimes you don’t respond to my text messages.”
“What!” she exclaimed, a glint of guilt (a guilt-glint) forming on her face. “No I don’t!”
“Ahem,” I replied, “case in point: today I texted you and you never responded.”
“What! I never got a text from you!”
“Are you sure?”
“Oh wait…” she said, remembering. “Yeah. Yeah, I did. It was that one about not cleaning the kitchen?”
“Well, what was there to say?”
“Oh, baby. We’re engaged now. When you’re engaged, you HAVE to respond to EVERY TEXT I SEND YOU.”