I have developed a disturbing level of hostility lately, a spittin' sparks approach to disappointment that has begun to surprise even me. Granted, I haven't smacked anybody or run my car into anything (purposefully), but I'm not an angry person as a rule, so it's a change of pace that I find myself muttering obscenities under my breath at gape-mouthed, dopey bank tellers or assuming a cringe-worthy decibel level at the splendid folks at Southeast Toyota Finance. (I repeat, splendid.)

Those moments of hapless fury start to wear on a person who wants nothing more than a plate of French fries and stretchy pants and possibly to be someone's pampered spouse. I understand that those first two might preclude the latter.

In other words, I'm in the market for a hero. He has to be strong but sensitive.


Kind to puppies.

spiderman and charlie.

Discombobulated by the out-of-doors.


Dreadfully earnest.


With a flair for creative revenge.

pretzel chuck.

Happy Friday, everyone! Don't worry, you're safe from my ire—I still love you. Just don't ask me for money. I don't have any, and that seems to be where the trouble starts.

*crazy talk.


Things I have not told you because I haven't updated in a week:

1. I got promoted.

sees tia.

Yes, if you are my Facebook friend you already know this, but I haven't elaborated since it happened a month ago because, as you are no doubt aware, I am both shy and retiring. I have a new title and new responsibilities, including being the boss of a real live person. That person hasn't started yet, which is why I've been working 400 hours a week instead of keeping up with the Woodside haps. If you have an extra moment, please send good vibes in the direction of the aforementioned real live person, as I have no idea what it's like to work with me but I suspect it is a "rewarding challenge."

So, you know, congratulations to me. Oh I'm sorry, am I boring you?

over it.

All righty then, on to the next.

2. I have recently discovered that children grow at a simply alarming rate. One day they're learning things like "this is my hand" and "dog barks are loud" and "holy crap when you put your hands over your face you DISAPPEAR" and thinking daddy is hilarious absolutely every time you see him.

sees daddy.

The next day?


Well the next day you're counting down the minutes until you turn 11. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Stoppit.

lovely lady.

All of you.

girl talk.

Right this second. You're making me misty. If you grow up too fast you'll turn around one day and you'll have babies of your own, and those babies will be making babies of their own, and all you'll have is quiet sighs and big laughs and soft hands that remind you just enough of your daddy's.


Come to think of it, that's pretty nice. Just ... take it slow, OK?

3. I've developed an addiction to thighs.


It's becoming debilitating.


I can't sleep, I can't concentrate, I can't blog.

stand up.

Tiny, chubby thighs are all I can think about.

ruffle dance.

I'm sorry, what was I saying?

4. Oh yes, the list. The rambling, focus-less, concerned-for-my-mental-health list.

Let's see. I bought a car.

sam walk.

I met Thomas Keller.


I got my books signed by Thomas Keller and talked to him about mayonnaise and ate his short ribs with shameless speed.


I celebrated J's adoption day and watched 18 episodes of The Office with JULIE and catered my first event and had one crazy 24-hour period where I worked four separate jobs.

I'm tired.


Anyone want to do my taxes?

*i plotz.

tra la.

Halloooooooooooo, friends! Oh my, it's good to see you.


I mean, truly. How long has it been since we've really sat down and had a chat? It has to have been at least Monday.


You don't come by, you don't leave comments. The Woodside grows cold with neglect.


Don't you love me anymore?


What if I give you a little smile?


Eye twinkles? Does that do it for you?


Laughs? Oh ho, my darlings, I find you disarming and hilarious.


Oh, wait! SECRET WEAPON: elbow chub. The Woodside has that in spades.


Ah, that's better. Now you are back, under my spell once again. You had me worried there for a moment.


This world ain't gonna take over itself, you know.

*open house.

So I need to tell you something, and I need you to suspend your disbelief. What I am about to say is absolutely true, but it won't be easy for you to understand or accept. You may feel yourself growing agitated, incredulous, and perhaps even sputtery when I say what I'm about to say, but I swear on Jake, French fries, and the wrath of trees that I am not lying:

This person is my twin.


OK, that's hard even for me to believe, but my mother assures me that this is the case. I've been tempted to question her further, but she's all, "LABOR PAINS!" and according to recorded history we were ridiculously massive, hungry, greedy little fetuses taking up all her inside space, so I've decided to let her have this one.

Still it's a little unbelievable.

To make matters even more ridiculous, this person (let's see him again for comparison, shall we?)


is building a house. A whole residential structure, with a solid roof and reliable plumbing and electrical wiring he installed himself that meets something they apparently call "code."

I bought the Woodside ready-made and it doesn't have any of those things.

He traipses about this house—a building that wasn't even meant to be a house, something he just put together out of an old Water Works tank-storage midcentury lean-to mishmash with some tools I can't identify and more sweat than can be measured and something he has in his head called "imagination."

I know, it baffles me. I'm like a dog faced with unfamiliar stairs.


I visited this little weekend project, TwinFin having put "erecting a house" where his "drinking margaritas" should be, and noted that this particular talent—being able to craft a functioning homestead out of an empty brick shell—is rather popular with the ladies. They were stunned by his prowess.

nonna stella.

I, on the other hand, did my usual utterly concrete and incomprehending wanderings throughout the newly sheetrocked space, pretending I understand in any way how the floor plan will ultimately pan out. Luckily he's added some helpful labels for the spatially impaired such as myself.


That's where the cows will roam, I think.

Everything is very bright and light-flooded and filled with the soothing sense that just because it's raining outside does not mean it will feel damp inside.

nonna's girl.

A girl could get used to that.

I think we'd all like to tell TwinFin how amazed we are at his dedication and energy, how awed we are by his enormous talent, but mostly we're sort of stunned into silence, listening to him mutter about inspections while he walks around ON THE ROOF LIKE A CRAZY PERSON IT IS VERY HIGH COME DOWN FROM THERE.

So in case I forgot to mention it, we're all very proud of him.

family portrait.

But I get to be proudest. He's my twin.


It's the weekend, finalmente. Take a BIG bite out of it!

jake turkey.

Something to ponder: Did everyone think that guy who coined the phrase "TGIF" was an embarrassing nerd? I find needlessly acronyming things to be an infuriating habit.


*beauty full.

Today's post is brought to you by Things I Think Are Pretty That Are Not Stella. As you will perhaps notice, it is a short list. That's not because I don't think a lot of things are pretty, it's just because I have a very short attention span. I'm like Dug from Up, except that where he might say, "Well hello there ... SQUIRREL!" I'm all, "I like Cheetos ... NIECE!"

It's a very attractive trait.

yellow & brown.

yellow m&ms on a brown countertop.



brown dog.

the little brown dog who lost his wag. (we're hoping it will return to full strength in the next few days. strange ailments—it's how i know he's mine.)

foodimentary guy.

foodimentary guy, hard at work.


lavender in winter.

mildew painting.

the most brilliant interior designer i know has this hanging in his courtyard as art. it's a plain white canvas that got left in the garage and started to mildew. that is why he's brilliant. even if tfin thinks it's "gross."

pretty face.



*on a roll.

I hate that I've been away from the Woodside for so long—there have been epic numbers of dramatic falls, awkward encounters, conversation failures, job changes, car fiascos, and dangerous run-ins with trees since last we spoke—but I'm afraid there just isn't any time in my life anymore.

And by that I mean "time not spent drinking Cabernet on the sofa while staring dumbly at the television and trying to figure out what Oprah's preaching at me this week. Also, brushing unidentifiable food crumbs off my person and out of my hair."

There are always those times the world has you under its thumb, and in times like those sometimes there's only one thing left to do: Sometimes you just gotta roll over.

stella grin.


stella right.

tummy time.


stella roll.

stella bum.



my foodgawker gallery



I am a work in progress. I perpetually need a hair cut. I'm totally devoted to my remarkable nieces and nephew. I am an elementary home cook and a magazine worker bee. (Please criticize my syntax and spelling in the comments.) I think my dog is hilarious. I like chicken and spicy things. I have difficulty being a grown-up. Left to my own devices, I will eat enormous amounts of cheese snacks of all kinds.