September 25, 2009

Bits & Pieces: Project Runway and Top Chef

So, I basically decided to stop writing my PR & TC full recaps. Why? Because there are people out there who write them better, and I just can't wait to watch the shows until I feel like sitting and taking notes - I NEEDS MY FIX. So, here are some thoughts on the last couple episodes, because I can't just give it up all together.

Project Runway: Costume Challenge

I LOVED this challenge, so much fun! My absolute favorite design was Epperson's western look. It totally reminded me of Firefly/Serenity. I have not always liked his designs, but loved this one. I was a bit bummed that Nicolas won because I just can't stand him, and he now has immunity for next week. He just grates on my nerves! I have been disappointed about Gordana because her garments the past couple weeks have been amazingly put together and well made, but she's just not reaching that place she needs to be in. I hope she can step it up to avoid being eliminated. I was really sad that Ramon got eliminated. It just sucks that he got sent home on a mistake like this, I would have liked to see more of him. I guess that's just the way the fabric flutters.

Project Runway: Newspaper Challenge

Obviously. I mean, really? When they all thought it would have something to do with b&w film it's kine of like... have you SEEN this show? I LOVED Christopher's dress, the feather skirt was absolutely awesome. I was definitely not sad to see Johnny go, I just wasn't getting much from him. I thought Gordana's dress was really pretty, like they said you wouldn't have known it was paper. I was disappointed that they knocked it for being "too wearable" because I feel like that could have just been part of the challenge.

Top Chef: Deconstruction Challenge

I am just gonna go right ahead and say it - I think deconstructed food's a little weird. Whatevs. I was surprised when Robin won the quickfire challenge, her dish was very simple, but I suppose it was good. Mike's Caesar Salad was brilliant - it looked just like something that you'd see in a fine dining restaurant, and I thought it was beautifully presented. I thought it was hilarious that Jennifer was so not confident, and then ended up in the top three. I am totally rooting for Kevin though, I was happy to see him win and he's my favorite at this point. I was sad to see Ron go, this seemed to be the second time that he really maybe didn't quite grasp the point of the challenge, I feel like maybe he didn't reallly understand what 'deconstructed' meant or something. At the same time, the other chefs were trying to help him and it just didn't work out. By the way, if your'e a Top Chef fan, I would ABSOLUTELY recommend going to the Bravo website and reading Tom Colicchio's blog. He writes his own explanation and behind-the-scenes after ever episode and it's awesome to read his thoughts and have him break down the dishes from behind the judges table.

Top Chef: Ranch Challenge

I have NEVER seen Tom Colicchio spit out food, it was horrifying and awesome all at the same time. I can't believe Robin served bad prawns, but Mattin was sent home for mediocre food. Oh well.

So, those are my thoughts. I'll post little things like this weekly most likely so I can get out the big juicy stuff I need to say! How have you been enjoying this season? Who are your favorites?
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September 24, 2009

Defeat

"You should just go up and lie down. He'll freak out, but I'll take care of him."

It is 11:00 on Thursday morning, four days in to the swine flu breakout in our household. In a way today has been the worst even though Sam doesn't have a fever like he did before, he's out of sorts to the extreme, whining and clinging and not really knowing what he needs or wants.

"It's not going to help, I just feel sick but it's not flu..."

"I know," he says, "but Sam has been clinging to you for three days. Take the laptop and go rest, I'll deal with Sam."

I sit and think. Sam is lying on my chest with his head on my shoulder. He wants me to pick him up, but between the nausea and how big he's gotten, I just can't carry him around like I used to. I sit on the floor as I channel surf, trying to find SOMETHING that he'll be happy with, but to every channel he just says 'no, not this.'

As my husband urges me to go, I feel tears come to my eyes. I know he's right, but I feel weak. I should be able to take care of my son. I should be able to handle this 'morning' sickness, it could be worse. I should be able to give Sam what he needs. I feel tears slipping out and I feel like a baby.

Sam whines, and I accept defeat. I set him on the floor gently as he protests, I pick up the laptop and cord and head for the stairs as he starts to whine. I crawl into bed and feel it all overwhelm me. As I turn towards the wall and cry, I can hear him crying downstairs. I know he is asking for me. I hear Justin tell him that he knows he wants me, but it's just not going to happen right now.

As I sit up to write, to try and purge myself of some of this wrenching doubt, my tears are alone. Just like Justin said, Sam is not crying. I know that he can take care of him, but what mother doesn't feel an overwhelming need to give, give, give, especially when their child is sick?

I don't know how to do this. Last time I was pregnant, I felt bad for almost 5 months. But I didn't have to do anything. I dragged myself to work, ate saltines all day, went home for a few hours and slept a lot. There were not other committments. This time, I found myself hoping that I was sick with the flu and that this wasn't just the onset of morning sickness. After a few days of no other symptoms, I have to face it. This may be how I feel for the next several months, and I just don't know how to be okay with that. How am I going to be a good Mom to Sam when all I want to do is lie on the couch eating saltines and Cheerios and drifting in and out of sleep? How am I going to be able to attend playdates and play at playgrounds when too much physical activity just makes it that much worse?

Beyond any of this, how is it going to be for Sam when the baby comes? I know that in the end, it will be great. Siblings are wonderful, and I hope they'll grow to love each other with the amazing power that only exists between sisters and brothers. But it's going to be hard at first, Iknow that. He's not going to understand, and I worry about making sure he doesn't feel left out, that we still set aside Sam time for him.

Justin is right. Sam has been clinging to me for the past three days. I've barely had a moment to myself. He has slept next to me, napped on top of me, eaten in my lap. I haven't had a shower. I slept on the floor for two nights because Sam was in and out of sleep and then throwing up and I didn't want him in the bed. He's fallen asleep with his arms around my neck as I try to position myself so that his touch on my throat didn't make me want to vomit. He loves me fiercely, but sometimes I need it to subside.

For now, I sit. I hear him babbling downstairs, and I know I need to work, I have articles to write. But what can I do but let myself rest, just for a moment? I know that I need to let these tears fall, unbottle my fears and let the unsurety wash over me. I know it's okay. But somehow, knowing isn't enough, and I feel right now like I'm lost.

I WILL be okay. Eventually...
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September 22, 2009

Seriously

Dear Dad at Playground,

I am sorry I told my son to let "him" have a turn in reference to your daughter. I do not know if it upset her. Perhaps you should consider NOT letting your six year old girl with a very short haircut run around a playground with no shoes or shirt and only black pants. I didn't realize she was a girl until I later saw her pink sparkly shoes by the edge of the playground. Actually, in addition, perhaps just don't let your five and six year old girls run around the playground without shirts. It's just weird.

Thanks,
A Mom who thinks clothes in public are important

*****

Dear "banal,"

I hate you. You are one of the worst words I have ever heard. I hope that you and "chutney" jump off a cliff and die.

Sincerely,
Lover of "plethora"

*****

Dear Tyra,

I love ANTM as much as the next guy, okay? In fact, I look forward to it every season. But it's empty fluff, you do realize that right? I get that you are trying to do something different by having only models under 5'7" this season, but I seriously hope that you are not so delusional you really think you are going to "revolutionize the modeling industry" somehow. Have any of the previous winners made any impact on the modeling industry? I doubt it. It pretty much just adds "girls my height don't get the opportunity" blah blah blah. Here's an idea. How about you do a season with girls over size 14? That might actually make some kind of impression... at least on the tweens who are watching.

Sincerely,
I love you - but, really?

*****

Dear Swine Flu,

I HATE YOU. I REALLY HATE YOU. I hate the sound of my husband coughing up your phlegm. I also hate the 104 degree fever you have burning up my son, because I REALLY hate holding him down to force medicine down his throat. You totally suck. Please leave.

Sincerely,
Hoping I'm not next

*****

Dear Tiny Baby,

Dude. I know you are only 7 weeks old, but I think maybe you are starting to make me sick. I totally love you, but I have spent the last several days wondering if I am sick like the rest of my family (see above) or if this is that start of a horrifyingly miserable 5 months. Please don't be offended if I say something mean to you about how I wish you would stop making me sick. I love you, and I don't mean it. All will be forgotten.

Love,
Yo Mama

*****

Dear Strider/Puckett,

Oh, I see how it is. Now that you have been here for a week you are feeling comfortable enough to get a tuna can off the counter and lick it and pee on my bed. That better never happen again. Seriously. I am not afraid to use the crate. You are lucky you're cute. And new.

Seriously,
Yo Mama
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September 16, 2009

Supernatural is Back!

SPOILERS

How happy am I that Supernatural is one of the first shows to come back?! Ahhhhh! The Dean. The Sam. The happy Rachael. I quite enjoyed the scene at Chuck's house where Dean proceded to call Zachariah an ass-hat, told him to "stuff it with walnuts" then called him a "two-faced douche." Soon thereafter he asked Sam "you jonesin' for a bit of bitch blood or what?" LOL.

I hated hearing Bobby tell Sam it was all his fault and that if they pulled it off he basically never wanted to see/talk to him again. You know what I hated even more? Flipping DEMON BOBBY. No. Just... no. But how freaking awesome was it that he overcame the demon? And I'm so glad he didn't die. Later, hearing Dean talk about how much Sam let him down. Worse. Like, tearworthy worse.

And Oh my God, that scene with the man and the crib and the blood? How fucking horrible was that? I don't know if it's my pregnant hormones or what, but I swear I almost cried like five times during this episode. Then... Dean IS the sword of Michael the Archangel? I absolutely love the mythology of this show.

Final thought: Why is Jacob from LOST Lucifer? And does that sort of blow anyone else's mind?
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Fall TV - What I'm Watching

So, I'm way too tired tonight to write anything about my opinions or which new shows I'm most excited about, but I just finished my obsessive compulsive awesome chart(s) of what I'll be watching this fall. First I've got it by day of the week, then by premiere date so I can make sure I'm catching them for the DVR as they premiere. Yes, I am crazy. It adds up to about 37 hours of TV a week. I know some people may consider that a life sucking enormous waste of time, but we love TV, and we love our shows. I still get outside a lot, I still read, I still volunteer, I still walk the dog (well, soon anyway!). So who gives a rip? I would like to also mention here Mama Bee and her blog Tivo Junkie. Why? Because she is just about the only other person I know who watches as much TV as I do. Also, I totally don't watch The Bachelor or The Bachelorette but I like to read Bee's recaps because they are funnier than hell.

Anyhow, here is a quick peek at what I will be watching - more info/opinions etc. to come later!

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September 15, 2009

Good Afternoon! Care for a bullet point?

I have about 3000 things floating around in my head right now, and I need to get some of them out! I am hoping to get back into the swing of things and should be posting more regularly from here on, we've had a busy couple weeks but things are calming down now and I see free time in my future (what??). So, here is some.... stuff...
  • We met a dog! His name is Strider and he's a Rottweiler/Lab/Setter mix. He has Rotty coloring, lab size, and setter hair. He's really pretty. He is only 9 months old, which is a little younger than I was thinking of, but he's got some good obedience foundations already, and I think he'll make a really good family dog. He'll be coming to our house sometime this week to stay for a couple of days and see how he does. Hopefully, he'll do well and we'll be able to adopt. If not, the Alternative Humane Society has some other very nice dogs we can look into.
  • Tomorrow I'm meeting a midwife! I'm so excited, her name is Winni and she has been practicing in Bellingham since 1980. I have heard good things about her and am very excited because I'm really looking forward to making this birth experience everything I know it can be. I am scared, but at the same time super excited about experiencing things I didn't last time.
  • I also have an appointment tomorrow with my doctor for another ultrasound. If everything is as it should be, I will be about 6.5 weeks and we'll be able to see the little flicker of the baby in there. I'm hoping we'll also see that the fluid that was in there last week is gone, I think it's been working it's way out and it's tapered off, so fingers crossed!
  • My Dad has been in town since Saturday night and today we're going to go walk around Bellingham and go out to dinner at La Fiamma for pizza. It's been really great, and Sam is having tons of fun with his Grandpa Bill! It's wonderful because they have not spent that much time together, but Sam thinks he is great anyhow. It's been so fun watching them interact.
  • Sam has an appointment on October 2 for a screening for Mt. Baker Preschool. We'll see how that goes and then if they want to they'll schedule an assessment for Sam to see if he qualifies for their preschool program. If that doesn't work out, there is a really good preschool right around teh corner from my Mom's house that I'm hoping to get him into. Either way, some sort of preschool is in his very near future!
  • This weekend is the Portland Pirate Festival, so we'll probably head down there to participate in the festivities as we do every year. We usually go to the zoo as well, and I'm hoping to squeeze in a short visit to see my friend Xotchil, who is extremely pregnant and may even have a baby by then!
  • I got to do a little bit of writing last week. I was doing a fair amount of ghostwriting for a while there, but business has slowed down a lot. I'm hoping maybe towards the holidays things will pick up more and I'll be able to do more writing. I had a good time getting back into it and writing a couple articles last week, and it's nice to be able to earn some money doing something I really like!
  • I can't believe fall TV shows are starting up, and I'm not even ready with my list of premiere dates - agh! Tomorrow Sam will be at the babysitter so I'll finally have time to read through one of my favorite EW issues of the year - FALL TV PREVIEW! I'll be sure to post about what I'm looking forward to most!
  • I'm hoping to fly to New Jersey next month with Sam and my sister to visit our stepmom and little sister, but I have to wait until Justin gets paid again to buy the tickets. It will be really nice to see them, and I can't wait for them to hear how much Sam talks now!

Well, it sounds like Dad is out of the shower, so I'm gonna go get ready to go so we can explore the town a little bit. It's turned out to be a nice day for a walk, so we should have a good time!

I'm a little behind on my feed reader, but trying to catch up. How was your weekend?

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September 10, 2009

Top Chef Las Vegas - Week 4: Singing for the Beatles

The show starts out with Mike the Man still talking about how he shouldn't have been in the bottom and thinks there is only one step to the top. Robin want the girls to step it up and rock it!

The chefs head off to Daniel Boulud's restaurant at a hotel. Eli calls him a "bad motherfucker" and Tom pulls out a snail. Jennifer says "I think that whoever thought that a snail looked good to eat had to be really fucking hungry." I have to agree there!

Quickfire Challenge

Create a dish using escargot as the main protein in 45 minutes.

Daniel Boulud says he expects something he has not had before, and Tom announces it's a high stakes quickfire, and that the loser of this quickfire will be eliminated. Jennifer is nervous, but the good news is that I would guess that many of the chefs don't have much experience cooking with snails, so they will be in the same boat.

The chefs are understandably nervous, cooking French food for one of the best chefs in the industry today. Mike theMan does have experience cooking with snails. Kevin points out that one challenge with snails is they don't tase like much, so you have to figure out how to give them good flavor. Mattin definitely has an advantage with this dish since he's from France. It's also pressure though, if his dish isn't good, he has less of an excuse.

The judges say nothing about Ron's dish, say Jennifer's is good, and call Jesse's "interesting." They like Laurine's dish, Hector's presentation was very pretty, but no feedback, and Robin's seems to pass. Nothing about Mattin's, Ashley's is also called "interesting" and Kevin's seems fairly well received. Bryan's dish looks very pretty with the red wine risotto and Michael V's dish is also "interesting" as is Mike the Man's. It was very hard to tell what they liked!

Tom seemed impressed by the chefs creations, and Daniel announces the favorites - Mike the Man, Kevin, and Jennifer. Kevin wins the challenge with his bacon jam! At this point, Kevin is definitely one of my favorites, and I'm rooting for him. The three weakest were Jesse, Ashley & Robin. Instead of eliminating them right off, they get a second chance by cooking head to head.

Sudden Death Quickfire: Jesse, Ashley & Robin have 20 minutes to make one amuse bouche from anything in the kitchen to save themselves from elimination. One will be eliminated.

Ashley is not feeling confident, Robin doesn't have much experience actually cooking amuse bouche and Jesse seems fairly confident. They present their dishes to the judges, Robin did an avocado soup with crab, Jesse did a tuna tartare and Ashley presents foie gras with pineapple. All three dishes were good, but in the end Jesse's one bite sends her home. I was a little sad to see her go because I feel like she really struggled to show herself and her potential.

Elimination

Chefs will work in teams of two to create a six course meal using the proteins and sauces they drew on their knives.

The chefs draw knives, except for Kevin. The knives have the names of either a classic French sauce or a traditional French protein. Mike the Man is stressed by the French food. Mattin feels that he has an advantage, which he probably does. They will be serving food to some of the best French chefs in the world. These are very famous chefs, mentors to the judges, and Michael V says this could be the most important dish of his career.

Since Kevin won the quickfire, not only will he not be cooking, he will be joining the amazing chefs for dinner. What an awesome prize! If nothing else, this makes being on the show worth it no matter what happens to Kevin after this.

The chefs talk and pair up, Jennifer & Michael V pair up, and I'm rooting for them. Ashley scores and gets paired with Mattin. Ashley is definitely following his lead. In the grocery store, it was already obvious that Ron and Robin may have some issues working together.

The chefs return to the Top Chef kitchen to prep for 2 hours, they'll have 1 hour the next day to cook their dishes. Ron has lots of experience with frog legs, so he was lucky to draw that. Ron is quiet and Robin is just talking, talking, talking. Ron says she is all over the place, but thinks maybe they make a good pair since he's so quiet.

The chefs are tense, as Kevin says, "You're literally serving your life's work to the people who inspired it from the beginning." They head to the MGM Grand to Joel Robuchon to cook their dishes. This is overwhelming celebrity. Eli is excited to see Chef Robuchon since he "was pretty much under the impression that he didn't actually exist, and that he might be a unicorn."

Ron starts to get freaked out because Robin is making the sauce and putting together a salad at the same time and he's worried she may lose track of the sauce. Michael V says "cooking for these guys is like a singer having to sing for the Beatles."

hector's steak is not heating to the temerature it needs to be, with only 15 minutes to go. The chefs appear and sit around the table and Kevin looks dashing in his light suit. Robin and Ron's greens are wilting under the heat lamps.

Padma looks gorgeous in her light yellow dress as she introduces the diners for the evening: guest judge Daniel Boulud, Hubert Keller chef and owner of Fleur De Lys, Jean Joho chef and proprieter of Everest & Eiffel Tower restaurants, Laurent Tourondel chef and owner of BLT restaurants, Tom, Gail, Kevin, Emmanuel (translator) and Joel Robuchon billed only as chef of the century.

Ron & Robin introduce their Frog Legs Meuniere as the first course. Mike the Man and Bryan are up next with Trout and a deconstructed Bearnaise. Mike is convinced they are going to win, and the chefs like it - simple but sophisticated. Robuchon liked it a lot. Eli and Laurine are next with lobster and sauce americaine. Unfortunately Laurien's fears come to pass when the lobster is a little tough. Mattin and Ashley present their chicken with sauce veloute. Robuchon calls the sauce bland and another chef says they worked really hard for not a good result. The bacon overpowered the flavor, and Tom says that this is the exception to the rule that "everything is better with bacon." Jennifer and Michael are next with their rabbit chasseur. The rabbit is cooked perfectly, and the chefs enjoy it. Hector and Ash are last with their steak. Ash is not confident because there is not enough sauce ont he plates. Their dish is steak with chateaubriand and potatoes. The chefs notice the lack of sauce right away, which is a problem since that is one main element of the dish. The steak is cooked unevenly. Gail's meat is overcooked and the cut job looks like "it's been hacked with an axe."

Overall, Robuchon is impressed by the cooking of these young chefs. Gail points out that these chefs were able to do this dinner before they ever would have been able to at this point in another season.

Judges Table

Kevin enters the "waiting room" and gets questioned. He doesn't want to answer about favorites, but says that the chefs were happy with the end results. Padma appears and calls out Bryan, Mike the Man, Michael & Jennifer. Padma congratulates them for having the top two dishes at the meal. The chefs are full of compliments for each other, and Daniel announces that the winner is Bryan. As the winner, he gets to go to Robuchon's Vegas restaurant and work for a week.

They winners return and send back Mattin, Ashley, Hector & Ash. Poor Mattin. It sucks to be in the bottom, but for him to be in the bottom for this particular challenge must have felt pretty crappy. They thought the sauce was gravy like and that there was too much bacon, Mattin says he didn't shoot down the asparagus sauce, but he really did when they were in the store. Padma asks Hector & Ash were the sauce was. The steak not being done was the main issue for them, it caused the quick cutting and the sauce issue.

In the end, Hector's steak gets him sent home.

Next week: Cookin' in the desert, and Tom spits someone's food out (bad!).
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September 9, 2009

Pregnancy: Allowing Women to Finally Have a Sac

Quick update...

Well, I'm no longer the only person in my house who doesn't have a sac. Ha. Went to the doc today and had an ultrasound and bloodwork. I am a little less than 6 weeks, so we could see the sac but no baby yet. There is some fluid in my uterus, which could explain the spotting. She said it will either make it's way out or be absorbed into my body again. I have an appointment next Wed to go back for another ultrasound, and by that time if everything is progressing as it should be, we'll be able to see that little tiny flickering baby bean!

I also had blood drawn and go back Thurs for a second HCG level, basically it's supposed to double over a certain amount of time, so if today's numbers are all right, then the numbers on Thurs double it, all is well. If the levels decrease, it's not good news.

I feel nothing but optimistic at this point, and maybe it's starting to sink in. But not really. I think that after I get my bloodwork numbers back and then have the 2nd ultrasound it will really be REAL and exciting for me.

On another note, I've noticed that physical activity makes me nauseous. It's like a fat person's dream haha. Kind of. Except you can't eat. Hm. In any case, I've had coming and going bouts of nausea, and am expecting more of the same. Thanks so much to everyone for the well wishes and congratulations! I'm off to watch some TV before I pass out for the night!

P.S. It's 9/9/09. That's kinda cool.
[Continue reading...]

September 8, 2009

Project Runway LA - Week 3: "Ladies & Gentlemen, capital W.T.F.?"

This week, the show starts out with Ra'mon talking about how one decision being the factor that can send him home is scary. Mitchell is frustrated he was in the bottom three again and says he needs to keep working. I'd say that's a valid assessment.

The designers are told they'll be going on another field trip and they should not "forget their sunscreen." Christopher is seeing the ocean for the first time (!) and Tim Gunn is on the beach in flip flops and a blazer. Pretty funny.

Challenge: Create a fun and fashionable surfwear look.

I think this will be an interesting challenge because there is a potential here for someone to REALLY not get it, and get way off the mark. Tim then announces they'll be working in teams of two. Since she won last week, Shirin is allowed to choose first, but half the people are eliminated as they become team leaders. Shirin chooses to work with Carol Hannah, Logan & Christopher pair up, then Nicolas & Gordana, Mitchell & Ra'mon, Althea & Louise, Qristyl & Epperson and Jonny and Irina.

They are given 20 minutes to plan and choose a model between their two. Louise points out that the surfer girls like functionality over fashion. Ra'mon is not too happy that Mitchell chose him, he feels like he needs to take over the team to save them basically. Qristyl is bristling at Epperson acting like a teacher to her student when she's the team leader. I can tell already this is going to be fun...

They are only given 15 minutes to shop in Mood - collective GASP! Epperson & Qristyl clash in the fabric store and the designers are running around like headless chickens. Mitchell straight up calls Ra'mon's choices ugly and makes a grimace at the camera.

Irina and Jonny are going for "bohemian chic," and Nicolas & Gordana are doing something strange with strips of fabric. Huh? Hombre of Macrame? I don't even know what he was talking about. Epperson doesn't like Qristyl's fabric and thinks there is tension because they are "fearful of what may happen."

Mitchell actually says to Ra'mon: "In our relationship, I can't always tell you that you're perfect." WTF? Are they designing something or moving in together?? Clash-tastic.

Surprise Challenge: Tim comes in and lets the designers know they are raising the stakes - each team must create a SECOND LOOK. Ra'mon says: "Ladies and Gentlemen, capital W.T.F." The second look must be an avante garde look that corresponds to the California surfwear inspired design.

They get a $200 additional budget, but Tim says only one team member is allowed to go to Mood while the other works. Qristyl still doesn't feel like the captain and feels personally insulted by Epperson trying to take over the team.

I was surprised to see Ra'mon at the store, and Epperson. Perhaps because the others didn't trust them to stay behind and work? I dunno. Back at the design space, Mitchell admits that he has big ideas but is technically in trouble. What else is new anyhow? I feel like Mitchell just can't last.

Honestly? I would not have wanted to be working with Epperson. Ugh. He just rubbed me the wrong way with his sort of hippy talk about how they needed to understand each other.

Tim reappears and tells Carol Hannah that her model is not going to be there for the fitting, and asks if she wants to stay with the model or not. Carol Hannah can't deal and decides to switch models, so Carol's original model will be going home. Oh well, too bad for her. She chose to do a commercial opportunity instead.

The models come in for their fittings. Gordana seems totally not on board with the avante garde risque look that Nicolas has designed. Mitchell and Ra'mon are still not getting along. I hate to choose sides, but Mitchell is annoying me right now, and I like Ra'mon. That Garnier guy plugs some 'wonder waves' product then Tim comes to check in.

Jonny thinks avante garde means "as out of control as possible" and I wonder how that will work out for them. Tim loves their idea in theory, so we'll see how it goes. Tim did not like the peel off of Qristyl's look and tells Shirin they have a lot of work to do. Tim points at Mitchell & Ra'mon's avante garde look and says "What. Is. That.?" and he doesn't get it, nor does he get how the two looks relate. Doesn't look good for Mitchell & Ra'mon this week.

Mitchell & Ra'mon decide in the eleventh hour that they need to scrap the jumpsuit thing. Mitchell doesn't really get what Ra'mon is doing. Epperson & Qristyl argue some more.

A new day dawns, and Mitchell continues to annoy me. Urgh. Qristyl is nervous because she thinks two people are going to be eliminated. Ra'mon thinks it's unfair that he's doing so much work and trying to keep Mitchell focused. It really isn't fair - he drew a bad straw. I hope he can pull it together.

With 35 minutes left, Ra'mon is trying to dye some fabric. Ra'mon is struggling to get something together so they aren't disqualified for not having both models looks done. How frustrating.

The time has come, and Qristyl and Epperson are both ready to throw each other under the bus and "save themselves." Finally, it's the runway and guest judge Max Azria is in for Michael Kok, Rachel Bilson is the other guest judge.

We first see Qristyl and Epperson's beach look. I think it's really pretty. Their avante garde look I didn't get. And the models butt was totally hanging out. Irina & Jonny's first outfit comes out and I just didn't really get it. The avante garde look was okay, but really I didn't like the pair. Mitchell & Ra'mon's beachwear look is very pretty and flowy. The avante garde piece, I wasn't sure about. It's hard for me to judge those ones and well because sometimes avante garde can be so weird and I'm just not sure HOW I'm supposed to judge it, on what criteria. Definitely not on whether I'd wear it. Shirin and Carol Hannah's bathing suit coverup combo was gorgeous, and I thought their avante garde look was very pretty and it looked like something you'd see on the runway. I absolutely loved the colors. Althea & Lousie are next, their surfwear look definitely looks cute and beacy. Their avante garde look is really fun and looks well made. Nicolas and Gordana's outfit comes out and I hate the wraparound pants. Their avante garde look? Ew. It looked like some sort of weird futuristic alien thing. Logan & Christopher's surfwear look looks old to me. Or cheap. Whatever, I can't see a surfer girl wearing it. Their avante gard look was not bad, definitely looked like effort was put into it.

The low scoring teams are Gordana & Nicolas and Epperson & Qristyl. Jonny & Irina are in the top two teams. Their project was centered around macrame. Their surfwear look was Rachel's favorite. Mitchell & Ra'mon are also in the top two. Ra'mon begins to talk about how he was inspired by beautiful seaweed washing up on the beach, and Heidi totally thinks the same thing I do - "wait, is Mitchell the team leader here?" Mitchell has to admit that Ra'mon did most of the work. Mitchell says he did the swimsuit, and Ra'mon confesses that he was working on both pieces at the end. Mitchell admits that Ra'mon did pretty much all the work. Despite the fact they were in the top two, I wish that Mitchell could be sent home here.

Qristyl and Epperson come back, and Qristyl says that she thinks Epperson took the lead. Epperson talks to Qristyl instead of the judges and they begin to argue on the runway. RAWR. Heidi is clearly impressed. As are the other designers. Nina says of their avante garde look "what IS this?" Nicolas and Gordana are next. Heidi thinks the macrame is pretty but the bottom is really messy. As for the avante garde look, Heidi says "it isn't classy" and Nina says it's too sexy. Max says this work is not good.

Max says that Qristyl is weak and Epperson took advantage.

In the end, the win goes to Ra'mon. Mitchell stands there looking sad. They send Ramon, Jonny & Irina off, but keep Mitchell there with Qristyl and Epperson. Scary! They announce that Epperson is in, and Qristyl and Mitchell are left standing there. In the end, it's "three strikes and you're out" for Mitchell.

Next week: Prom?
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The Story

So, when we were trying to get pregnant with Sam, it took 2 years. 18 months of Clomid, lots of ovulation predictor kits, shots, four artificial inseminations and giving up. That's right, when I finally got pregnant with Sam I was SURE I was NEVER going to get pregnant - we had started saving up for adoption.

We started trying to have another one when Sam was about 18 months. My PCOS was incredibly over-stimulated by drugs, which knocked us out of the game for a few months because my ovaries were having a giant party, and not in a good way. We did one round of IUI right before Justin was diagnosed with Celiac. After that, we had to take a break for him to get healthy and we didn't have the money to do anything having to do with fertility treatments.

At the end of last year, I finally saw a new doctor an endocrinologist, and was diagnosed with a myriad of things. I got put on thyroid meds, and in February I started Weight Watchers. Justin and I talked about it and decided that I would focus on my health for a while. Living in our old house, we started to wonder if we'd have another one at all. I always wanted two, but I was starting to think about what it would be like to just have one. I came to the conclusion that if I got pregnant (we haven't used protection in over 5 years) it would be okay, but we weren't going to try and it would be okay if we just had Sam.

About 3 months ago, I went to the endocrinologist again and told her I wanted to do Metformin to treat the PCOS. The main reason I wanted to do it was to regulate my cycles (sorry dudes, but it's a part of the story), because well, they can be a freaking pain when they are out of whack. The doctor reminded me that Metformin can affect fertility. I came home and told Justin that in the next 6 weeks we would have to make some kind of decision about whether we were going to use birth control. We never really made a decision.

When we moved to the new house at the beginning of July, I realized howmuch more relaxed I felt and how stressed I'd felt living at the other house. I started to feel like I did want another baby. It was not the same as the first time, no longings, no desperation, just a small feeling that maybe it would be nice. We talked about it a few weeks later, and decided we wouldn't try - no ovulation predictor kits, no temperature charting, but we'd continue to 'not prevent' and whatever happened would happen.

On Saturday, we were down in Seattle at my friend Violet's. I'd gone to the Pacific Science Center with her and some other friends Friday and it had exhausted me SO much. Saturday afternoon I passed out cold on her couch. In the middle of the day. With four kids playing around me. I thought that was pretty weird. By the time we got back up to Bellingham, I had decided I wanted to take a pregnancy test. Not because I thought I was pregnant, but rather to remind myself that I was NOT pregnant so I could just stop thinking about it. I fell asleep that night at 10, so I didn't take the test until the next morning.

It IMMEDIATELY turned positive. I just sat there and stared at it. I did not expect that in any way! Really? It was that easy? I guess it is a good testament to the fact that I am healthier now! And it reaffirms our plan for Justin to get the snippy-snippy after this one, because now we know we CAN get pregnant on our own! So funny how things work out, isn't it?

I am so excited, although tonight I've had a few bouts of nausea and I think it's probably just the beginning. Looks like I'll probably be back on the "I don't eat except some crackers and whatever I eat goes directly to the baby but it's not enough so it also eats my fat" weight loss plan. I lost 50 lbs when I was pregnant with Sam, and he grew just fine, when you start out overweight you've got room. As for now, I'm mostly just tired, and no food really sounds good to me even when I know I'm hungry.

I can't wait though. For all of it. I'm calling the doctor tomorrow and between a little spotting and my wonky hormone history, I'm hoping to go in ASAP for some bloodwork and MAYBE an early ultrasound if I'm lucky.

I'll try not to let this turn into a pregnancy fest here, but I can't promise I won't write about it often!
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September 7, 2009

Top Chef Las Vegas - Week 3: "I was pretty much in tears, y'know what I'm sayin'?"

Last week on Top Chef: All the contestants bitched about the challenge. Blah blah blah. Tom Coliccio had something to say about it on the Top Chef Blog, and he said it better than me, so go check it out.

Episode 3 starts out with the girls in bed moping. Laurine says she feels intimidated by the other contestants because she was trained so long ago and the others are so talented. They head off to the resort and...


Quickfire Challenge

Create an "out of this world" dish featuring potatoes.


POTATOES! Lots of 'em. All colors and sizes. Preeeeeety. When they say "out of this world," I wonder if any of the contestants will decide to take it to the "alien" level somehow. They only have 45 minutes to cook their potatoes.

I almost fall in love with Ron when he says that what music was to Bob Marley, food is to him - peace and love. Peace and love on a plate!

Ashley decides to do a potato gnocchi even though it's going to be a really tight squeeze to pull off in the amount of time they're given. The problem with these types of decisions is they are either really impressive or end up REALLY badly. Then there is a dramatic mixup with Preeti using Ashley's water totally by mistake, Ashley was pretty pissed and it put her even further behind with her gnocchi.

Ash's chilled sweet potato custard turned out not too bad. Bryan did a soup, and Preeti went for poached potatoes, her dish was gorgeously colorful. Mike V did tuna and potatoes for a winning balance and Jennifer did potatoes three ways, which the judges thought was nice. Robin used three kinds of potatoes with pancetta and an egg, and Hector did another potatoes three ways dish. His purple potatoes and ham looked so pretty! Laurine made a veggie potato burger with a portobello bun. Uck. Mattin made cod with potato puree, and Kevin made a bacon braised yam which sounded yummy. Mike I did a potato risotto, which came out a little salty but I agreed with Padma that it was a cool idea. Ashley's gnocchi didn't get any terrible comments off the bat, and Eli made a Yam puree with pistachios and bruleed whipped maple... MMMM. Except for that shell that snuck it's way in there. Ron made a sweet potato crusted yellowtail, and they liked his side better than his main dish. Jesee did a sweet potato soup, which the judges thought was quite spicy.


Eli's yam dish was apparently too sweet, so send it over here. Seriously? Sounded delicious. Ron & Jesse are also in the bottom three. Jennifer's mussels, Ash's custard and Ashley's gnocchi made it to the top three. Mark chooses Jennifer as the winner, giving her immunity and Mike the Man calls it favoritism? WTH? I don't get what he meant by that.


Elimination Challenge


A man in dress blues walks into the kitchen. He is an Air Force Colonel and give them some orders.


Chefs must report to Nellis Air Force Base, home of the famous Thunderbirds, to prepare a meal for 300 airmen.


The Colonel points out that these people have had many types of foods and also have nutritional requirements. The chefs are told they will know nothing about their ingredients or cooking supplies until they show up on site.


Back at the house, the chefs meet and discuss the challenge. They decide to put Jennifer in charge since she cannot be eliminated if people go wrong. The chefs then divide themselves into team of two, who will each prepare a dish with an American theme. At the end, Jesse and Ron are left with each other.


When the chefs arrive at the kitchen on base, they find cans and cans and packages and packages of food. There are no stoves or pots. They have to serve 300 airmen in a less than ideal (for them) kitchen. This is an industrial kitchen, not a restaurant kitchen. Kevin has cooked in a facility like this before in ROTC, which is definitely an advantage. Jennifer takes teh best idea from each team and writes it down, and they start to prep.


All of the chefs are excited about cooking for the men and women who have been serving our country. Preeti talks about how the defining moment she wanted to be a chef was 9/11 and that it affected everyone differently, and that's how she felt it and then she went to culinary school a few years later. Huh? Um, okay...


Mike the Man decides to do a cold shrimp salad "just for the hell of it." I secretly hope it goes horribly wrong so I don't have to listen to him anymore. There is a lot of braising going on in the kitchen, Kevin's southern meat sounds really good. Ron wants to make chowder, he's won at a chowder festival before. I fear that something will go wrong. Ashley and Ash are making a chocolate brioche bread pudding and NOM NOM I WANTS.


There is only one skillet in the kitchen, everyone is having trouble because there are no burners or pots and pans, and they have to figure out timing and how to cook all of the food in what order etc. Jennifer does as good job of keeping people organized and keeping the cooking areas labelled so that everyone knows when it's their turn and who is using what. The situation could have been just AWFUL and she managed it very well to help everyone get their dishes done.


The chefs all finish their dishes on time without any major problems. Ash, Ashley & Jennifer are going to be the 'helpers,' there to refill make sure things run smoothly and basically be gofers. They start judging each other's dishes, Eli doesn't think that the clam chowder was the best idea, and Laurine doesn't feel confident about the pasta salad.


Padma is wearing a crazy dress with leopard print and a belt thing. It seems almost too sexy for the occasion. The braised pork shoulder with potato salad looked very good. I thought Kevin and Eli really hit the mark because they were really going for providing something from home for the soldiers. When he started talking about his family, I started to get a little teary eyed.


The judges were impressed with what the chefs came up with considering the ingredients they had. Well, except the pasta salad. They definitely weren't impressed with that. I don't understand why the chili was okay for a hot day but the clam chowder wasn't. Gail thought maybe because itw as creamy/heavy it wasn't as appetizing in the heat. The judges and airmen loved teh potato salad. They loved the pork belly taco things, but did not like the greek salad that came with it.

Aside from the gnocchi water incident, there was quite a large lack of drama and mistakes in this episode. When the Colonel was thanking the chefs I just couldn't hold it together. If I'd been one of those chefs? I would have been freaking bawling. What an awesome opportunity. Even though drama makes for a more fun show to watch, I guess I'm glad they didn't eff this one up. Ron sums it up - "I was pretty much in tears, y'know what I'm sayin'?"


Judges Table


The judges call Mike, Michael, Eli & Kevin first. The judges loved the BBQ Pulled Pork and the bacon dish, but they didn't have much good to say about the salad. In the end, Michael V won the challenge for his pork/bacon taco things.

Preeti, Laurine, and Mike get called back. Mike the Man is LIVID that he was in the winners bracket for his team, but called back on his own for possible elimination. I hope that he goes, I actually can barely stand him. Mike pointed out that he "didn't have to" do that dish (the salad) and the guest judge pointed out that his salad was bland, and he was responsible for it. They split up the work, went their own ways (they admitted that in the previous judging) and Mike's dish was not strong enough. Tom was determined to find out who said "let's make pasta salad," and they wouldn't or couldn't say. They said they thought their dish was flavorful. Laurine says during judging "to be honest with you, I think I honestly forgot about the competition." Dude, why would you say that during judging?!

It was a pretty harsh judging between the bottom three this time. It seemed like this was a pretty hard decision for the judges. They were really going at it at the table! Laurine and Preeti didn't understand why they were there, or what they were supposed to be doing, and Mike put forth a flavorless, unappealing throwaway dish.

In the end, it is Preeti who must pack her knives and go.

Next week, the chefs face the French.
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Guess what?

I have something to tell you. Here are some clues. First person to guess gets a homemade jar of delicious applesauce made from trees in my yard, and a good book to read (title tbd).

Clues:

1. Sesame Seed

2. Six

3. Naps

4. Happy Labor Day!

Cryptic? Maybe. If it's too hard, I'll just tell you. Let's see what happens.

UPDATE: okay, so obviously it wasn't too hard! Yep. I am 6 weeks pregnant with a sesame seed sized baby that is due may 6 2010. Four days after Sam turns four! And it is making me want to take a LOT of naps. I need to call the doctor tomorrow to make an appt to go in and assure all is well. I will post tonight about the whole story but I am on my way to the playground with Sam so for now I will just say that yes, we are very happy!
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September 3, 2009

Thursday Thirteen: Praying for Change

In the past couple of weeks, I've felt a little bit weighed down. Not by things happening to me, but by events happening in my world that can sort of pull apart and break my heart a little bit each time I think about them. We went to church weekend before last after not having been in a while, and I remembered why it's so important to me, and why I enjoy going. We're starting to get back into the swing of things, and will hopefully start attending more regularly, but in the meantime I've continued to pray on my own time. I know that not everyone out there is religious, but we all have something to offer to those in need. I truly believe that whether you pray to a god or goddess, meditate, or just offer positive thoughts and energy to those who need it, you are making a difference. This week for my Thursday Thirteen, I've got 13 prayer requests.

Thirteen Updates This Thursday
  1. Jillian & Mona - Jillian is one of the momma's in my Mom's Meetup group. She has an adorable little daughter named Mona. Her husband, Henri, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in January, and around the 13th, they made the difficult decision for him to start hospice care at home. Last Saturday, August 29, Henri passed away comfortable surrounded by his family. I haven't been that close with Jillian during this difficult year, but I know that she and her family could really use our thoughts and prayers right now. Please pray for peace for them, and for them to remember the happy memories they had with him.
  2. Carol - Carol is my... well, it's complicated! She is my brother-in-law's wife's mother. So basically, we're not really related. We've been blessed to have an honorary set of grandparents for Sam in her and her husband Bill. They are wonderful people who we've enjoyed having as part of the family and in our lives over the years. Carol was diagnosed recently with colon cancer. She is currently seeking natural courses of treatment. Please pray for her and for her to discover the right treatment path, whatever that may be, and for her to heal.
  3. Harold - My father in law has been having increasing issues with his Parkinson's Disease and his health. He is a great man and has not found retirement to be an easy thing. We've been privledged to move into the house he built, and to spend a little more time with him lately as he loves being out here. I'm so happy for Sam to get to know his Grandpa better, but I need guidance in how to make things easier for him. There is a fine line between helping him stay healthy and safe and making him feel like he's having everything taken away from him. Please pray for his health, his well being, and for us to all find the right ways to interact with each other and protect each other.
  4. Audrey - My friend Audrey, aka Auds, from Barking Mad has been facing some very difficult times lately. She wrote recently about her struggles with bulimia, she's got her son living with her now who she had not seen in a long time, and last week her beautiful daughter Meg was in a bad car accident. She is okay, but she is no doubt shaken up, and one of the passengers in her car had to have some surgery. Audrey is a dear friend to me, and reading about her pain often brings me to tears, I just love her to pieces. Please pray for her to find her way, to find the strength to get healthy again and see what a wonderful woman she is. Also please pray for Meg to forgive herself for the accident and allow herself to heal mentally & physically.
  5. Kori & Hannah - Kori of See Kori Rant is another one of my dearest and closest bloggy friends. She is an amazing, strong woman who has been through a whole hell of a lot in life. Earlier this year her daughter Hannah was molested by a man in their community that they thought was a friend. He did a plea bargain and his sentencing is imminent. Unfortunately Hannah has not been doing too well since this incident, and she could really use our prayers and positive thoughts right now. Please pray for strength and happiness for Kori, Hannah & their whole families.
  6. Brie - My good friend Brie is pregnant with her third child, due later this month. The pregnancy has been wonderful so far, and she's excited about adding another child to their busy bustling family. Please keep her in your thoughts and pray for an easy, non-eventful delivery!
  7. Jaci - Jaci writes at Ravings of a Mad Housewife, and has been one of my favorite bloggers. She's been through tough times lately, and after announcing a hiatus, she is back... and pregnant! Please pray for a happy & healthy nine months for Jaci. She's REALLY getting a new beginning, and hopefully it will be a wonderful change and addition to her family.
  8. The Unnamed Women - I don't have faces, I don't have names. But I'd like to ask for prayers and positive thoughts for the women we serve through our volunteer work at Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Services. We see sad things, things that make us angry, and things that just make us desperately want to help in some way. Unfortunately, we can't always do that. I pray every time that every woman out there who is assaulted has the strength and self-worth to get out, to value themselves, and to heal from the things that have held them down.
  9. Rachael - Okay, yeah, I do feel like it's a little narcissistic to include myself in this list, but I've been having a hard time lately with one aspect of my life and could use some positivity and encouragement. I've been really struggling lately with my weight loss journey. For the last 6 weeks, I've been hovering and yo-yoing VERY close to the -30 lbs mark. But during those six weeks, I've lost, gained, and lost for a grand total of -1.2 lbs. I've been really struggling with my relationship with food, with exercise, with everything. While in my head I know that 30 lbs is a lot - I've almost lost one of my three year old - in the dark side of my heart, I know it's only 1/4 of what I need to do. I know that to reach my goal and be really healthy, I have to do it 3 more times, and that is something I've really been struggling with lately. Please pray that I can find strength in myself and find my path again.
  10. M, M & M - One of my friends is going through a messy divorce and becoming a single father to his 3 & 5 year old daughters. Please pray for their new family situation to work smoothly, for them to grow up strong, and for their father to find happiness.
  11. Rowenna - My friend Rowenna from my Mom's Meetup group is an amazing woman. She has 3 small children - 3 year old twins, and a 1 year old son. They are the most adorable kids, and so well behaved. Yesterday I went to her house to drop something off, and helped her pack up a ridiculous amount of food she had made for Jillian and her family during their hard time. She made a dozen casseroles and a dozen homemade soups as well as some quiche and baked goods. She is also without her husband right now, as he's away for 5 months attending Border Patrol training. That's right, you heard me, she is taking care of her children BY HERSELF for 5 months. At the end of that time, she and her family will be moving to a small town in Texas for 14 months. I will miss her dearly, she's one of the pillars of my 'mom community.' Maybe she doesn't need it, but please pray for the next couple of months to go by quickly for her, so she can have her husband back, and for everything to go smoothly with his transition to Border Patrol.
  12. Jonah Williams - Jonah is an adorable little guy, and you can read about him at the Williams Family Blog. Jonah is six months old and was born with a skin condition called Epidermolysis Bullosa. It's a rare skin condition characterized by extremely fragile skin and blisters resulting from the most minor trauma or friction. Please pray that research will lead to a cure for Jonah, and that in the meantime he'll continue to be as happy and healthy as possible.
  13. Ezra - Ezra is an adorable curly headed 2 year old blondie that was diagnosed with Leukemia earlier this year. You can read all about him at For Ezra. He's currently going through treatment, and some days are very hard. Please pray for Ezra to be healthy and for strength and peace for his family as they juggle everyday life with this battle.

As always, I want to hear your prayer requests too. Please leave any of them in the comments, along with links if there's a website involved, and thanks in advance for your prayers, positive energy, and thoughts.

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