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*sweet cheeks.

HEY, THIS WEEK!

sweet cheeks.


KISS IT.

cheeks.


The weekend is ON, bitches!

Sorry Stella.
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*letter of resignation.

I know I've been a bit scarce of late, for reasons that are both within my control and without. The work has been piling up—this week marks one of those remarkable times when my triumvirate of jobs all come due at the same time, a cheery tapas cookbook and a March issue of one magazine and a March/April issue of another magazine, and trust me I am not complaining about my overabundance of occupation, but it was all very hamster-on-a-wheel.

The side effect, oddly, of that meticulousness, the scanning of black-and-white pages for errant apostrophes and misplaced modifiers and "witlof" where "Belgian endive" should be, is a curiously mad creative twirl. It's like a mini mania, filled with crazed pronouncements like, "You know what? I think I'll change all my money into Sacagawea dollars and then use it to buy a big box of hair. WAHheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeehooooooooooooTHUD."

pouncer.


They should probably have me tested.

But then Tuesday arrived, a day so terrifically awful it could only be surpassed by Wednesday, and I got sad and sadder and found myself without even half a Sacagawea to rub together and maybe cried a little bit in the liquor store.

wavering.


I joke a lot here about the sagging Woodside, but there are days I'm genuinely terrified that the old homestead is going to get so depressed as to end it all and go all last-two-minutes-of-Poltergeist on me. I dreamed this week that I went outside to use the hose and discovered that the whole structure had shifted off its foundation.

You think that was a metaphor?

I've never been any good at the waiting game, preferring a kicky combination of denial and fear that leaves me in a crouched position, waiting to pounce on bad news with a screechy but largely unsatisfying "IIIIIIIIIII KNEW IT!"

psychedelic.


So even though my furnace took a flying leap and cost me all my remaining pennies, and circumstances are conspiring to make me lose all my remaining marbles, I'm going to do what I have to do when the sky starts falling: put on my helmet.

overhead.


Because there are days when my head is in the universe's pinball machine, when I'm walking uptown on a crowded sidewalk when everyone else is headed in the other direction. There are days when I get right pummeled, and on those days I'm generally a ratty-haired, mascara-smeared, wild-eyed crazy person.

But today I feel determined. To return to my comfy creative swirl, even if I can't afford it right now. To make my bedroom wall

framed.


a photo wall.



To give the doddery Woodside's Black Bean exterior a yellow door.

Doors just off Brick Lane


In Decisive Yellow, because ... well because.



I understand it's terribly out of character for me to be decisive about anything, but today I have a message for the world:

No. No, I do not accept your terms. I am not going anywhere. I know I upset the balance, somewhere along the way, and you're going to throw a lot of fury and tree branches at me. But the Woodside and me, we're here for the long haul.
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*yo yo (grand)ma.

Yo! It's Friday! Know how I can tell? Because I'm doing a tiny cubicle happy dance, and using words like "yo."

Because it's almost the weekend, and you're all busy being so excited about that fact that you've peed yourselves, I'm going to sneak in a few dull tidbits, propped up by pictures of baby eyeballs so that you don't collapse from the tedium.

granny.


Firstly, to avoid the lawsuits that will inevitably arise whence you're all hospitalized with terminal carpal tunnel from typing "onthewoodside.blogspot.com" into your browsers all day every day, anxiously awaiting my missives, GOOD NEWS!

piercing.


I have purchased, for the low low price of $10, onthewoodside.com. I am a domain owner. Mistress of mine own domain.

Wait.

You can still reach me through the old blogspot address, but you all know what a stickler I am for brevity. And sarcasm. This will, however, make you $10 less rich should you decide to follow through in suing me regardless. Which will make you the possessor of a dampening homestead, a dirty dog, and -$10.

sands.


Agenda point #2 regards a camera bag, the only item on my current "wants" list that also wanders over into the "needs" column. (Those of you who think a hair cut might be higher in those priorities, hushup.)

If anything were to happen to my beloved Nikon, I would die, just DIE, so for the sake of the many more years I have to be obnoxious and verbose, help a sister out.

OH! Only one requirement: It can't be butt ugly. Or cost $800. Trust me, it's harder than it sounds.

scrunch time.


Enjoy your weekend, fellow humans! And if you're just about to succumb to the vapors of your own good fortune, take a minute to click up there at the top and share some with the people of Haiti, if you haven't already.

I'll be so touched by your generosity that I might be forced to hug you. And for those of you who know my stance on hugging, that could be very awkward, indeed. Yo!
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*crank it up.

Full disclosure: I am wearing my cranky pants today.

The clouds outside are rolling by in a hurry, in hourly shifts that are alternately sunny and angry without warning. It's like wearing a mood ring over my head. (Though if I were narcissistic enough to believe my antsy irritation were truly affecting the weather, you would be well within your rights to have me committed. I'm narcissistic enough to believe a lot of things, but not that. Yet.)

And I can't intersperse my grumbling with pictures of sweet baby faces, so I'll bookmark this day with some of my recent meals, inexpertly taken with my camera. Clearly this photography business is a work in progress for me.

Risotto with fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil.

A.k.a. the recipe that used up the last of my balsamic vinegar, shattered my tiny Le Creuset pot, and started my second-largest kitchen fire.

risi.


YES, it was the recipe's fault.

sotto.


Chicken casserole a la JULIE.

beloved chicken casserole.


A.k.a. my favorite casserole of all time. She won't teach me the recipe (she says there is none, but I think she's just keeping all the goodness for herself). Deceptively simple, but richly satisfying.

cc.


Shells with pasta sauce and slices of melty fresh mozzarella, topped with slow-baked eggs.

bakin' eggs.


An experiment of sorts, so easy and so tasty.

The one thing lifting my spirits today, aside from the fact that only 52 minutes remain of the work hours, is the presence of two old friends outside my cubicle window.

cardinale.


Mama and papa, flitting around like two birds do. They're tiny and they're up rather high, being just outside my fifth-floor window as they are. Where's Waldo and his pretty lady?

There they are.

cardinal sins.


Here's to brighter plumage tomorrow.
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*girl power.

My friend JULIE has a 4-year-old son named Alex. Alex is a prodigy, a speaker of full sentences at 9 months old, born a big-eyed, bald-headed genius with a propensity for heart-breaking.

Alex's legendary vocabulary has become my vernacular; he is responsible for "issat newiss?" (what's that noise?), "ee-pahd" (iPod), "motor troll" (remote control), and "wha hoppeen?" (what happened?). He is stubbornly literal and rigid, as 4-year-olds are wont to be, and funnier and more sensitive than he has any right to be.

He's in for the surprise of his life.

JULIE found out today that the fetal project she's been working on for the past 20 weeks is going to be a girl.

grandpa grins.


Thankfully Alex has chosen a gender-neutral name for his sibling-to-be: Termie.

booties.


I am so thrilled for her, and for her family, and for the opportunity to watch what happens when daddies have daughters.

Mr. JULIE is in big trouble.

chillin'.


You can track the B family's journey, and Alex's exploits, here, at JULIE's blog.

black & white booty.


And since you're already procrastinating, stop by LSiS's Internet homespace, here. They're each giving the world a smart, wise-cracking, take-no-prisoners lady and some absolutely undone dads and grandpas.

Thank heavens.
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*mommy blog.

There seems to be an abundance of mommies around me lately, as my peers join the baby-making throngs, adding their genetic code to the world in terrific, nutty, miraculous combinations.

Not just any two people could make this, is all I'm saying.

mama hair.


I'm not sure if I'll ever be anyone's mommy. I'm in that sweet spot, somewhere after Bristol Palin but firmly before grieving my barren womb. Motherhood is a scenario that appeals to me, in a lot of ways, and terrifies me in a lot more of those same ways, and I have no doubt that if it winds up being not in my cards there will be parts of me that are befuddled and sad. But my particular happy delusion is that when one meets future-father-of-one's-children there is a spark of some sort, a nudge from the universe that says, "This one won't eat your young. Probably. We're 85% sure, and those are damn good odds these days."

wowzah.


There are some universal attributes to seek, I suppose, someone kind and either literally or metaphorically broad-shouldered. A touch ridiculous would help, in my case. Saner than I am, please, for the sake of these fictional offspring.

(If he's willing to referee diaper changes, LSis says, all the better.)

diaper ref.


I'm not sure exactly how it works, making the sort of space in your heart that's required to have children, but it makes me a trifle awed by people who've done it. I edited photos of tiny people who don't even belong to me today and almost had to stop and catch my breath.

bing oh.


Particularly because, despite my screechingly loud pleading, they refuse to desist in becoming disturbingly less tiny these days.

roll of the dice.


Something enviable happens to the mommies I know when they become mommies, something similar but just a touch different from what happens when they get married—it's an almost imperceptible shift in center.

mommy and me.


The automatic grounding of being tethered to another human, even as that human is throwing your life into a turmoil you couldn't have begun to fathom, predict, or prepare yourself for.

stella stare.


And they're better for it in the most fundamental of ways. Both more and less patient, more and less calm, less inclined to roll their eyes and more inclined to laugh.

pouty sleep.


These impossible moments are the ones they crouch in wait for, the blissful, sleepy ones that make them feel like they were made for making this person, for cherishing her and adoring her and teaching her things—primal, elemental things like what full feels like and what loved feels like and what cranky feels like and that HOLY CRAP SHE HAS LIMBS.

HAND!


It can be startling.

So all my new mommies, remember: I'm watching you. I'm proud of you. I think you're all completely out of your minds. I'm being patient, and I'm taking notes.
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*wearily we roll along.

Today was a HOLIDAY, and I've spent the past seven hours of it at WORK.

tie dye cry.


MLK Day, I hardly knew ye.
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*caffeine nation.

This week I caved to maternal pressure and replaced Diet Mt. Dew with coffee, which was a suggestion communicated to me by subtle hints ("Is that DMD you're drinking? You know what's better for you? COFFEE."), gentle nudges ("DMD, you say? I'm sure it is tasty. Tasty all the way to an EARLY GRAVE."), and kindly advice ("Have you read the paper? No? Would you like this section? No, this one right here with the front-page manifesto about how COFFEE will keep you from being ugly, dumb, and dead."). So I got the impression this coffee business was something worth investigating.

Super sleuth!

And five days into this experiment, here are my observations:

1. Coffee requires more dishwashing than Diet Mt. Dew.

2. Coffee does not require a trip to the gas station before work.

3. Diet Mt. Dew has lots of life-giving caffeine in it.

4. So does coffee.

5. Diet Mt. Dew has lots of effervescent bubbles in it.

6. Coffee does not.

7. Diet Mt. Dew is a disturbing shade of nuclear green.

8. Coffee makes your breath and your pee smell funny.

9. This just in: Coffee makes you tell strangers personal details.

You would think so far it's a wash, but I have to say—at this point coffee might be pulling ahead a bit. Its most important side effect is that it makes me feel all grown-up. I think it's fairly clear that I am not, in fact, grown-up in the least, but now I have the props of adulthood. If I can manage to get my hair cut more than once a year, I might just fool the world!

Coffee also requires time to percolate, which is a fancy word for taking 10 minutes, a time bubble that exceeds my attention span by ... oh, about nine minutes. How to fill that vacuum?

Impromptu photo shoot! Dog as model, Tyra as muse. J, give us ...

COY!

coyness.


ALERT.

alertness.


PENSIVE!

pensiveness.


SAD ...

sadness.


ENIGMAT- ... Geezus, what is that?

in wonderland.


OK, UM ... DESPERATE?

desperation.


Yeah, that was a mite insane. I may need to cut back on the coffee.
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*obsess much.

Sometimes when I sit down to compose a blog post, stealing the last half hour or so from the workday to dash something off into the Internets, I feel like I'm back in college again, racing the tiny clock in the upper right-hand corner of my screen that says, "Hello again, K. You have 20 minutes to complete this three-page paper before you're due in the classroom. Jackass."

I was better at it back then.

Now the words—the witty observation, the deft turn of phrase, the uncontrollable obsession with series of three—flood up from the calm, restful back of my brain and SLAM into my fronto-cortex (yes, proper name), then slowly pool into a lake of something that looks like this:

Hey, how's it goin'. Pretty good? Yeah, can't complain. Oh, the sun came out for a sec. Did you see that? No? Huh, musta blinked or something. Are you craving Skittles? Am I asleep right now?

PULITZER PRIZE.

Some days you feel equipped to put fingers to keyboard, and those days are never. So as you watch the ass of your muse disappear over the horizon, there's only one thing to do—don four layers of clothes, lace up your tennis shoes, leash up the dog, and run. No, not to anywhere. You want to end up where you started. And there should be lots of wheezing and sweating and cursing and tears.

Don't you feel better now?

Neither do I. Exercise is for the criminally insane. No if you are me, and you'd like to find your center, I recommend Rearranging Something. Rearranging Something has been proven to lift your mood and brighten your day while allowing you to entertain your OCD in the privacy of your own home.

BEHOLD: the new Woodside kitchen.

Oh, but wait. First you must fix yourself a hobo dinner.

chili bowl.


Then, BEHOLD: kitchen etc.

morning dish.


The first order of business was putting the pretty dishes where they can be seen, and reserving cupboard space for ugly things like loaves of bread and old boxes of raisins and four (yes, four) containers of powdered sugar because who ever remembers they have that on hand?

racked.


Most of these pieces are mismatched or in odd numbers because I've collected them along the way, but that's what makes the look kicky and not-precious.

pan handling.


Or like I'm running a discount store.

I used to keep my spices above the oven, but the amount of heat that produces seemed to tax their shelf life, so I pulled them out and replaced them with something that doesn't give a rip about the extreme temperatures.

aboven.


The spices went on the counter by the prep area, where they're most needed.

spicy.


See? OCD!

My kitchen sort of rocks, in its original 1950s splendor. Unfortunately, the cabinet doors are now crummy wood replacements, but the metal insides remain, and each one bears this label.

vintage kitchen.


I obey it implicitly (it's very polite), but I must note that my kitchen has never saved me step nor time nor money.

In a final sacrifice to the throes of randomness, I pulled out an Anthropologie tablecloth I'd had yet to find a place for and used it as a runner on the bar.

nightlife.


I haven't decided if it makes the statement I want to make. I don't know, what do you think? Does it say "Isn't my liquor pretty?" to you?

Thus ends my public service announcement. Remember, people: Exercise kills. Moving something that was in one place into another, completely different place is all the pointless effort you need.
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*oh, balls.

The word for today is: frustrated. Say it with me, children! No, not fustrated. Or, God forbid, flustrated.

Yes, I live in the South.

I'm frustrated by a lot of things today, the laundry list of which would likely send you fleeing to positive corners, where there is less complaining and more cocktails. But the problem with frustration is that once it seeps in around the corners, through the overtime and the deadline panic and the inexplicable doctor's office invoice, it starts to infiltrate everything else, like the impenetrable hand dryness and the worthless pencil lead (what is the point if it breaks every time I try something crazy like using it?) and the fact that I might soon be suffocated by my own hair.

It's long and thick and blonde and possibly my best feature, but it will be my demise.

I've also been frustrated by my inability to find the time to preserve some of my recent cooking exercises for posterity. I had untold amounts of fun cooking for LSis and the BiL during her maternity leave, feeling all warm and schmoopy and useful and appreciated. (BiL dubbed me the "kitchen MacGyver," a moniker I earned mostly from their epically empty cupboards and my attempt to create something out of them on the fly—it's how cheesy mustardy broccoli pasta was born.) BiL, it should be noted, is my absolute favorite eater, in part because he proclaims everything I make "the BEST thing you've EVER made."

Flattery. My drug of choice.

But I haven't had the best of luck getting great shots of the food, LSis' kitchen and the Woodside kitchen being what they are. (And what they are is eerily yellow, like making dinner inside a UFO.)

But I messed around with my boyfriend (the D90) the other night and managed to get a couple of mediocre images of the really very good, and very easy, and very cutesily named Lady and the Tramp Spaghetti and Meatballs I made Monday evening.

with a chance.


The Le Creuset was a score from a giveaway, and I cherish it all the more for its freeness. It's also a reminder that complaining about my workload might be a smidge shy of gracious.

cloudy.


I highly recommend this recipe, if you're the kind of person who needs recipes for a thing like this (and I am). The meatballs come out a little soft, which makes them break apart a bit if you're too rough with them, but then you get spaghetti bolognese—not altogether a bad thing. I'm sure their fragility had nothing to do with the fact that I plopped the egg white into the mixture without it having been "lightly beaten," as a casualty of my inability to read all the way to the end of any given sentence.

of meatballs.


I also ended up with 24 meatballs instead of 25. I wasn't about to go take 1/25th of every ball and try to rectify the situation. It so happens I cannot apportion correctly. It's a chronic illness.

The reason one is supposed to wind up with 25 meatballs is that the recipe makes five servings. That way one consumes just five small meatballs at a time, savoring the meal slowly and appropriately and moderately.

One has to watch one's girlish figure.

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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.

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