An Ode To All the Crap I Found On Top of the Fridge

The great kitchen appliance I'm Not Dead Yet tour lumbers on. The refrigerator's ice maker broke and leaked water everywhere (something I discovered while sitting downstairs in the basement, when water began dripping on my head halfway through The Cloverfield Paradox). And then that duct-taped shelf randomly un-duct-taped itself the very next morning and took out a dozen eggs and a bottle of mustard. Jason attempted to fix the ice maker, but after spending 10 minutes behind the fridge he realized it was a goddamn miracle the thing was running at all, or not currently on fire. (Maybe it was! Maybe the water leak just canceled it out.) Bitch was old. And very much on its last legs. Not going to lie: I straight-up clapped my hands and cheered. New fridge! New fridge! (In case you're wondering where all this money we suddenly seem to have came from: We took out a home equity loan a few months ago to fund several projects, like the floors and a new patio out back that is getting underway later this week. We also included some buffer/padding money in case of something going over budget or, say, all our major appliances turning to... Read more →

The Wonders of Technogoly

After mentioning Ezra's migraines last week, my friend immediately texted the suggestion of getting him a pair of anti-blue light glasses. Immediately after that, I got a call from the school's health room. Ezra was there, complaining of a headache. His eye was visibly twitching and he was worried he might throw up. They'd tried Ibuprofen and some time lying down in a dark room, but nothing was helping. When I arrived, he looked pale and miserable. "It was Technogoly again!" he told me. "Technogoly always makes me catch a headache!" (Technogoly = Technology = Computer lab.) I ordered him the glasses as we walked back to the car. Glasses! (And also a lurking Instant Pot. We finally caved to the craze and have since gained 25 pounds from homemade Indian food. It's really amazing and WE LOVE IT but it will probably photobomb 75% of my photographs given that I have nowhere to store the damn thing.) Ezra's now made it one whole week plus one Technogoly class without ANY headaches at all. I told him he only needed to wear them for screens but he likes them so much he only takes them off too sleep. Which probably... Read more →

Waving Through a (Train) Window

Jason had a jaw-dropping early Valentine's Day surprise in store for me this past weekend: A quick trip to New York City, dinner at Craft, and FRONT ROW seats to Dear Evan Hansen. LIKE. WHAT. AND ALSO !!!!!! (He also arranged for our friend to stay here and watch our children, meaning we got overnight babysitting for the cost of a delivery pizza dinner.) Here I trying to avoid having my picture taken at dinner: (Or possibly checking out my cleavage, which. Yeah.) Here is the dessert that I announced I was far too full to even take a bite of after a several-course tasting menu, but dang, it's pretty: (Please note that I ate every single, solitary bite of this dessert, including the decorative chocolate dots.) Here I am trying to avoid having my picture taken at Dear Evan Hansen, but Jason wouldn't let me hide my entire face behind the Playbill: Here is the view of the stage from our seats: I've never sat so close at a Broadway show, and my initial worry that we weren't going to have the best view was quickly put to rest because holy crap, when you're that close you get an... Read more →

It's a Batman Rollerblade Party

Ezra asked for roller skates for Christmas. ROLLER skates, not inline skates, he insisted, several times. Then he completely forgot about this request, as did his wonderfully amazing parents who would never overlook their middle child's Christmas list that he left sitting right there on the kitchen counter for Christ's sake. But he didn't ask Mall Santa for roller skates, so after realizing their omission (around 11:45 p.m. on Christmas Eve), I figured maybe they were more of a temporary whim rather than something he really, really wanted. Especially since 1) he'd never been roller skating, 2) had never asked to go roller skating, and 3) I am 99.9% sure he only knows roller skates exist because of Calvin & Hobbes. Looks like fun! Let's try it. But alas, on Christmas, Ezra surveyed the room of unwrapped present glory and asked the dreaded question. "Where are my roller skates?" I reminded him that skates weren't one of the things he asked Mall Santa for, and he nodded for a second before destroying me once again. "But I mailed a letter to the REAL SANTA and asked HIM for roller skates." That's right. He did. I even took pictures! I am... Read more →

January Blah

Oh! Look at the date. Just one more day 'til February Blah. Yay. I've been locked in a somewhat all-consuming battle for health, both in brain and body and in the bodies of my children, who are every day getting sent to classrooms utterly decimated by the flu, a variety of stomach viruses and God knows what else. I'm stuffing their backpacks with donations of hand soap and antibacterial wipes and crossing my fingers our flu shots hold, but today I still woke up with a cough and a sore throat and an overwhelming feeling of blaargh. Meanwhile, poor Ezra's developed migraines and is getting regularly knocked down with them, which oh my God. As a fellow migraine sufferer (and thus, likely the genetic reason he's getting them), I am soooo sorry, buddy. He can't even swallow pills yet and here I am, dosing fucking adult-sized migraines with grape-flavored liquid. (Yes, we're working with his doctor to make sure there's nothing else going on, but all signs so far just point to: Wow, migraines at nine years old. That sucks!) And since we're on the topic of hollow, useless apologies to my children, I have another one to offer on... Read more →

Brighten Up

This post is sponsored by thredUP. After the Great Floorsplosion last month, the contents of my closet remained scattered across the house for awhile -- most of my casual clothes got dumped in the bathtub, while the dressier stuff lay draped over furniture in the basement in various piles. Dresser drawers were stacked haphazardly all over the place. I decided to take advantage of the chaos and attempt yet another closet purge/editing/inventory project. After boxing up anything summer-y and everything that no longer fits (grumble grumble), I realized that I was sorely lacking in some nice basic sweaters and long-sleeved tops, and clothing in ANY other color besides black. So much black! Like my soul! I could hear the tsk of my mother's tongue. But you look so pretty in jewel tones, she'd say, as I left the house in head-to-toe black, all wannabe 90s-era grunge, with overplucked brows and fourteen coats of eyeliner. And so, when offered another shopping spree at thredUP (the world's best and largest online thrift store where you can find over 35 thousand brands at up to 90% off) (hi hi yes please thank you), I went in with a vague sort-of wish list: cozy... Read more →

Appliance Purgatory

In an attempt to keep costs down on our kitchen remodel, we opted not to replace any of the appliances. They were all pretty old and not particularly stylish (shiny, black, basic), but they worked. They probably wouldn't work much longer, we guessed, but we could live with them for now. We'd replace them as needed, once they officially gave out and died. It turns out Appliance Death is not exactly a cut-and-dry sort of thing. Much of our lives since have been spent locked in existential debate about the fate and mortality of our stupid appliances. The dishwasher "died" on a semi-regular basis from the day we moved in, but we found it could usually be revived with a couple vigorous slams of the door. If that didn't work, we just needed to pop open the control panel and replace a particular fuse that kept blowing. Also the top rack was prone to popping off its track and falling off completely if you pulled it out a touch too far. That cost us a couple dishes every now and then, but hey, it's all just Ikea and Goodwill crap. Other than all of those things, the dishwasher works! It's... Read more →

Ezra's Cookbook

In other Cookin' With Zah news (assuming you are not sick of Cookin' With Zah news, because I am not, will not, can not, ever get sick of Cookin' With Zah news), he's putting together his own cookbook of original recipes. Fully illustrated, too. He's taking it VERY seriously. He's got several dozen pages in a binder, and adds new ones whenever imagination strikes. That's not to say that the original recipes are...workable, quite yet. Or even fully legible. Ezra inherited both Jason's terrible handwriting and his cavalier, improvisational approach to cooking/baking. Just eyeball the flour, it'll be fine! Don't have an egg? Use cheese! Lid fell off the cinnamon jar? Today I present the judges with Cinnamon French Toast pan-fried in cinnamon butter and topped with a blackened cinnamon crust, please enjoy. Most of his ideas have SOME basis in reality -- he wants to bake a sweet potato pie, I can find a recipe for a sweet potato pie -- but then he chafes a bit when it's clear that we're not 100% really following his concept for a sweet potato pie. So I'm always torn between letting him experiment a little...while trying to guide him towards a... Read more →

Play With Your Food

This post is sponsored by Blue Apron. Here's a little secret about kids "helping" in the kitchen: It's not always all that helpful. At least, not at first. There are a lot of spills. A lot of messes. Ingredients hit the floor. An egg gets pulverized against the rim of a bowl. A simmering pot has been stirred a bit too vigorously and now there's chili all over the wall. It can be maddeningly slow, and frustratingly imperfect. An onion takes 20 minutes to dice. Ten minutes to peel an avocado. Four tries to get the aluminum on the baking sheet without ripping it. They forget to set the timer and wander away from the rice right at the wrong moment. You set them up prepping an ingredient and don't notice until it's too late that they've gone ahead and eaten most of it. There might be some accidents along the way. Someone might forget that a burner is on, or learn the hard way that boiling water splashes outward if you toss potatoes in too quickly. (Just last night someone knocked a chef's knife onto the floor, where it barely missed falling blade down onto my bare foot.) Watch... Read more →


Last week, Jason and I decided to have an impromptu mid-week date night. This in and of itself was somewhat significant, as I haven't been too keen on things like "leaving the house" and "putting on pants" for the last few months. We went to one of our favorite restaurants (alas, no House of Cards cast and crew this time). I picked a half-order of tortellini to start and the braised short rib as an entree. They were both great. Exceptionally great. I couldn't stop talking about how great it all was. "I am really enjoying this meal," I said at one point, mid-delicious bites. Then I froze. I put my fork down. I looked at Jason and repeated, with a bit of dazed wonder: I am enjoying this meal. *** During my first appointment with the psychiatrist, she asked me what I liked to do for fun. Any hobbies, activities I particularly enjoyed? I stared at her as my mind drew a blank. ...Fun? ...En-joyed? What even were those words? "I liked going to restaurants," I finally came up with. "Eating out, trying new foods. Cooking and baking with my kids, having people over and entertaining." She smiled and... Read more →