Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

And Happy Hanukkah for my Jewish friends. I used to love Christmas. I guess I still do deep down inside, but working my ass off kinda ruins it for me. I am so looking forward to a job where I have a little time off during the holidays.

Well, for this Christmas, the fourth one I have to spend without my mommie (because she lives too far away), we are going to have a slumber party at my IL's - cold cuts and salads, drinking, movies and/or games, and then our tamales in the morning. And them we are off to favorite aunt, uncle and cousin's for a couple days.

I am a little sad we won't have any time by ourselves. I'm also a bit uncomfortable to open gifts in front of IL's - maybe because I don't know how much money H has spent on me. I spent a good amount on him too, but I did resist getting the Xbox, mostly because we would need either a new receiver to handle the inputs from the Xbox, Wii, and DVD player, or a new TV so we can move my Wii into the office. Maybe we'll get some gift cards for Christmas to put towards more stuff we really want, but really don't need.

Well, I do want to take a moment to reflect on the things that I am grateful for. I have wonderful family and amazing friends. H and I both have jobs and our health. We have a home. We have two wonderful dogs that love us unconditionally. Life is, for the most part, good.

I wanted to post a youtube of my favorite Christmas song, but I couldn't find it. If you ever have a chance to hear John Prine's "Silent Night All Day Long" please do. And think of me. Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Thought I would take this moment...

To say I'm not totally bitter. Yes, I'm sure I appear that way to some, but that's just an illusion. I am VERY happy for the non-douchey people to get pregnant! Truly! I swear! Now, what do I consider douchey?

1. Anyone who gets pregnant when they can't be bothered to take care of the child they aready have

2. Anyone who gets pregnant and cannot be bothered to take care of themselves and their unborn fetus, or at least avoid the things you aren't supposed to have/do

3. Anyone who tells me I can't get pregnant because I am bitter

4. Anyone who tells me to relax and "it will happen"

I think that pretty much covers it. Everyone else I can be happy for. And will probably taunt with my wine, soft cheeses, rollercoaster riding, and other non-pregnancy friendly things, but you have to expect that. I never said I was gracious!

Friday, December 12, 2008

This working thing is killing me

I just feel like I have so much to do, and being away from my house for a minimum of 11 hours a day is killing me. ESPECIALLY when why husband calls me 13 times a day to ask me a million questions on the crap I would normally be doing, but now he has to be in charge of. And then he doesn't even freaking listen to what I tell him. We've had the same freaking conversation several times a day for the last 5 days, and the STILL needs to call me 13 times. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!! I am pretty much ready to drive my brand new car off a cliff with me inside.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Disney Family Christmas Party

Ahhhhh It's that time of year again! One of the few perks of my job - the Disney Family Christmas Party! One of the ways we get to give back is by donating to Toys for Tots. This year we bought a HUGE Fire Truck, and since Anaheim Firemen were collecting toys, they were so excited to see the fire truck, they gave H a Junior Firefighter Sticker. Hahaha!



One of the best parts about the party is seeing all the decorations - Disney really does go all out.









And of course we had to stop for one of the best corn dogs on earth.



We got to ride Space Mountain, which was cool because we always seem to miss it when we visit D-land on a regular day



And more junk - popcorn this time.



H was hungry, because I turned my back for a second, and the bucket looked like this.



One of the last things we did was get our picture taken. The pickings were slim this year. Last year we got Pooh (which was awesome), and this year it was between Woody or the green army men from Toy Story. H wanted Woody, so we waited in line. And waited. And waited. Over 30 minutes, I tell you. And then... right when we were almost to the front... they took Woody away and replaced her with Jessie. WTF? Who the hell cares about Jessie??????? I was pouting, so when H thought we should take our pictures pointing our guns at Jessie with her hands up, I said fine. Whatever. I mean, it's Jessie FFS - who cares?



Anyway, it was an okay night, aside from being way more crowded than I ever remember it. We got a lot of our kid x-mas shopping done, so that was nice. Now on to the bigger kids.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Tamales!

After having the opportunity to make tamales with H's grandma for years, and getting a special lesson from her a couple winters ago, we attempted to do it without her this year. Since our lesson, Grandma had to move to an assisted living facility, and is no longer in Tamale Making shape. I am very grateful I was able to learn from her before now! Well, we learned most of it from her. She left some things out (on purpose or on accident, I'm not quite sure), but we were able to fill in with information from other relatives where some of the mistakes were made, and maybe adding a couple of our own twists on the family recipe.

The chiles come dried from New Mexico, and need to be seeded and re hydrated. We use both hot and mild chiles and end up mixing the chile sauces together after it is made.



Here they are boiling on the stove to rehydrate.



After they are re hydrated, they need to be ground up and and put through a sieve to remove any leftover seeds and skin, giving us a smooth chile sauce.



Next, we slow cooked pork, beef and chicken with garlic and oregano. Grandma always mixed beef and pork together, which we will do as well, and then make a separate batch of chicken.





You know it's ready when you can barely get it out of the pot in one piece.





Once the meat is cooked slowly, it gets mixed into the sauce and everything gets seasoned. At this point, the Hojas need to be cleaned and soaked so they will be ready.

The last step before assembly is the masa - fresh unprepared tortilla masa is the best. We drove all the way to Santa Ana to get the good stuff! That gets mixed with broth, manteca, and crisco until it reaches the right consistency, and then gets properly seasoned to taste. While a truly good tamale does not have a ton of masa in it, it's the masa that makes or breaks a tamale.

Here we go on assembly! Grandma always put an olive in hers, so we do too. Oh, and note the glass of wine - tamale assembly is a drinking job.





All in all, it took two days, a good chuck of cash, and a lot of patience to make seven dozen tamales for gifts and for our own enjoyment! This is a MUCH smaller batch than grandma used to make, but she had the whole family to help her make the 25-30 dozen we used to make. Not THAT is a lot of tamales! We still have yet to make the chicken, since we did not actually buy enough masa to finish. *sigh* Hopefully since the filling is already made, we can finish the chicken ones in a single evening. I expect to only get another three dozen, maybe four at most. H also wants to try our hand at green chile and cheese tamales too... I guess I better pick up at least another five pounds.

Even though it was a lot of work, our tamales turned out awesome, if I don't say so myself. Good enough to make me an honorary Mexican! I really want to make sure that we continue these traditions for my children - I want to be able to teach them grandma's recipe so they can in turn teach their children and grandchildren. I also want to learn to speak Spanish fluently so my children can grow up bilingual unlike H. Well, so far, I only have the tamales down.

And for those of you jonesin' for a tamale, I am considering making you all come over and work for your tamales next year! Tamale assembly GTG!