Thursday, August 28, 2008


I have such a love hate relationship with coffee. Coffee represents warmth love friendship addiction loneliness thirst. When I was little I would wake up at my grandparents and listen for the voices and the smell of coffee. Sometimes I would wake up at 4 or 5 in the morning and wait for the first person, usually my grandpa, to get up. The house was always warm and cozy, everyone was fairly happy and sober, each adult filtering in grabbing a cup of coffee maybe black maybe with cream ,perhaps even a little sugar. Wiping the sleep from their eyes they'd find a spot amidst the warmth and quiet. Early morning coffee meant quiet laughter,perhaps a little music from my grandpa's radio, clinking of dishes being washed in the sink from last nights dinner, a chance to be surrounded by my favorite people and perhaps have them talk to me before the rest of the kids woke up and I became a chore instead of a person.

As I got older I decided to partake in the thick black foul tasting stuff myself. Unlike my first cigarette or drink I don't remember my first cup of coffee. I just know that somewhere along the line it became a consistent part of my day. Most of second period my sophomore year was spent at Perkins eating a fat muffin and drinking a bottomless pot of coffee.

When I was 16 I started working at the coolest coffee house in town. As the youngest employee I was excited to show my long history of coffee drinking. Like a badge of maturity and sophistication, I would drink mine black, not wanting to mess up the myriad complexities of each individual cup of coffee. I learned to pull a perfect shot, to steam a cup of milk just so. Sadly, I missed the whole 'art in a cup' part of the specialty coffee drink world. Coffee brought together all kinds of people, including teenagers. In fact one might argue that the popularity of coffee houses came about from youths need to congregate. And congregate we did. Crazy clothes and hair, facial piercings and tattoos, cigarettes and caffeine, sex and rock n roll. All at your local coffee house.

When I became pregnant with my daughter coffee became my bane. I wanted it like a wanted my cigarettes, but I knew both were bad for me and my fetus so out they went. I got pretty hardcore about not drinking caffeine. I never was a big soda person so that wasn't hard, but to many nights at the Tobacco Bowl had left me pretty toxic and not drinking coffee(or smoking) along with all the pregnant hormones really threw me for a ride.

I didn't drink a cup of coffee until my daughter was around three..... coffee and breastfeeding just didn't go together either. With my son some years later though I didn't get all hardcore about not drinking coffee. Due to a really bad case of morning sickness I didn't drink to much for the first few months and I really did try to stay away all through my pregnancy. Once I had him though all the healthy momma stuff went out the window. I was much more lenient this time around!

Which more or less brings me to today. Today I drink more coffee than water. I drink coffee in the morning when I check my email, in the afternoon when my son takes a nap, and in the evening when I check my email. I'm dehydrated,hyper, and depleted. In the eyes of most twelve step programs I would be considered clean and sober but I know better than that. I'm still hooked on java. It's (I hope) my last addiction. Of course this last one is not only socially acceptable but still pushed on almost every street corner and market. Just go to an AA meeting if you don't believe me.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The road to our house is paved with concrete....

and good intentions?

I'm not sure about the intentions behind our new road, but after months of parking a block away and walking through our neighbors yards or down a long and dark alley, we finally have a road. Of course it's not completely done. They are laying it as I type. Since we moved in here almost two years ago(Yay! for owning a house!) we've had some form of road construction. owing to the archaic sewer system that runs below many Des Moines city streets. It's been incredibly annoying to say the least. This last round has caused quite a few problems and headaches. Take for example the giant hole that was in front of our house on and off for several weeks. It was about 18 feet deep, I know this because an 18 foot retaining wall sat in front of our house for months waiting to be used. Apparently the state of Iowa had to purchase it specially for this project along with a special incredibly large machine to drop it into an incredibly large hole and pull it out again. I think they must have needed to justify the purchases because they dug and filled these holes at least 3 times probably more. That's a lot mindless work if you ask me. Not to mention the days that would go by with no one doing anything at all out there and no holiday or rain in sight. On the positive side, and I'm trying to remember that everything has one, we will have bright and shiny new sewer system and road. That's got to do something for our property value(like offset all the damage the constructions done?).

This is a picture from my front door. Notice the lack of fencing or sidewalk (while ignoring the unkempt lawn).

Here is a sampling of the people my son looks up to. Oh, did I mention my two year old spends hours watching these people smoke and play with their large stomachs....and work of course.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Pepper Jelly

I've wanted to learn how to make my grandma's pepper jelly for a few years now, but I've been hesitant to try. It seemed so daunting, making and canning jelly, I mean who does that anymore? I did end up taking home a huge basket full of jalapenos and banana peppers from my grandparents a few days ago. I got home and wondered what I was suppose to do with them. Luckily had a bunch of garlic and tomatoes so I made some salsa. However, I still needed to use up a lot of peppers. Grandma to the rescue! I went down to her house where she proceeded to demystify the jelly making process. Really it was much easier than I had made it out to be. Plus her kitchen is much cooler and better equipped then mine.

I chopped up the jalapenos and banana peppers which was the most time consuming part.

Grandma used her dishwasher, which I don't have at home, to sterilize the jars.
I'm guessing this is a lot easier than boiling them all.

Here's a picture of most of the ingredients. It also called for a cup of cider vinegar which didn't make it to the picture party.

If cutting the peppers was the most time consuming step, stirring the damn jelly definitely wins for the most repetitive.

My grandma(who's name is Jeannine btw)made sure I was careful with the liquid lava, I mean boiled jelly as I moved it to the island. She wouldn't tell me what would happen if it fell on me but she made a lot of references to skin grafts.

Viola! I see bricks of cream cheese and a box of wheat thins in my future. And new pants.

Post #1

Instead of doing housework,watching my children, or otherwise contributing to society, I find myself almost compulsively checking my favorite blogs for new posts throughout the day. I've decided to start my own blog so as to give me something to do while I wait for more interesting people to post about their lives. I'm going to use this one for miscellaneous stuffs. Things I've cooked, cute things my kids have done, or anything else that I feel inclined to share.

However I've also started another blog where I will do Tarot readings on a donation basis. So be sure to stop by and check that one out at