ATTENTION DAILY DISH RECIPE SITE READERS

WHERE IS THE DAILY DISH?? WHY CAN’T I REACH THE SITE?

WHAT IS GOING ON?!

Long story short.  Our right to the domain (www.thedailydish.us) expired at midnight night before last, making the website unreachable for anyone – myself included.  We own a large number of domains, and normally the company we register with alerts us well ahead of time to ensure there’s no lag in service.  Because The Daily Dish is a .us site, the registration process is more complicated that w/ standard .com sites, and we had to register the domain with a different (and much less reliable) company.  Not only did this company not alert us of the expiration, but they have been less than helpful w/ the re-registration process.  My husband is an IT professional, and has been corresponding w/them, but has not yet been able to complete the registration process due to a problem on the company’s end.  We are hoping to have the registration completed successfully, and have the website up and running once again ASAP.

Thank you to all who have emailed me w/ questions and concerns.  I appreciate your patience in this matter.  It is unbelievably frustrating for us as well.

Weekend w/ Mommy part two

It’s hard to top the March Madness that was Weekend w/ Mommy (part one), but we were willing to try. That’s right everyone, my Mommy is HERE.  IN PHILLY. RIGHT NOW AS I TYPE!!! take THAT, Atlanta.

Saturday night. The Borgata. After the buffet, a decent $5 chardonnay and 2 cloyingly sweet but free white wines, here were the totals.  Me $161.50. NOT TOO SHABBY. John $69. WOOHOO.  My mom: HAD FUN ANYWAY.  And we’ll leave it at that.

Sunday. Peddler’s Village. Brunch @ the Cock n’ Bull. The corn pudding was excellent and the petit fours a dream.  Post meal roundup: Me, Mommy, Maddie & Georgia, ALL OKAY.  John: NOT.  B/c John got food poisoning and spent the car ride home vomiting into a shopping bag.

Afterward, John & I went to the Eagles game. YES MY HUSBAND IS A TROOPER.  And thank Goodness.  B/c the game was AMAZING. Except that this was my view.

And this was John’s.

Yes, that is a security guard sitting on my husband’s lap.

Although my husband put a brave face on things, by the end of the game it had gotten OLD.  When we complained, we were cursed out by the higher-up security guards on the field – the one even threatened to beat the hell out of John.

On a good note, I was not sat upon. And after the game, David Akers threw his wristband to ME! And I also caught Deshawn Jackson’s sweaty towel.  Both of which I immediately put on.  ANd even though everyone around me said EWWWwWWwWwW.   I said AHHHhhHHHHHHhHHHH.

New York, New York

Saturday – in honor of John’s 37th birthday – we went to NEW YORK. Almost a year since our last visit. October 2007, boarding the Norwegian Spirit on our way to New England & Canada. As exciting as that trip had been (taking in the sights of the NYC passenger terminal and Penn Station), this time we wanted MORE.

Behold the American Museum of Natural History.  Isn’t she PRETTTY??  YES_SHE_IS!

We got to the museum early. We’d debated the merits of driving v. taking the train and finally decided just to drive. Mostly b/c it allowed an extra hour of sleep. There’s a parking garage located conveniently beneath the museum, so we were able to park all day for just $46 bucks. WOW. My lovely friend Pannonica had set aside Super Passes for us and let me tell you. NOTHING BEATS FREE. The “insider touching privileges” and executive washroom access were just icing on the (proverbial) bday cake. Make no mistake, Biologists are ROCK STARS.

The museum is massive, so we had to prioritize. Several sections are similar to the Academy of Natural Sciences here in Philly, as well as the Penn Museum and the Smithsonian. So we skipped those. NO NOT ALL OF THEM.  A few we walked through, doing the YES I AM PAYING ATTENTION dance. The place is just way too big to see in one day. So we did the best we could. We took in the scenic tour of the Food Court. I recommend getting there as soon as it opens, before the bagels are fondled too much. At lunchtime the place is an absolute zoo. I wanted to try the empanadas, but as the line was 5 deep, I gave up. The half of a bacon cheeseburger I pried away from my husband was o-kay. But not an empanata. We checked out one of the gift shoppes. The girls wanted cool moving-picture book marks, which were indeed neat, but at $6 a piece left me aching for an empanada.

2 meals in the food court and one gift shoppe visit later, we took in the actual museum. Which is very quiet and clean 1st thing in the morning. Disintegrating into a combination swap-meet/ Macy’s parade atmosphere as the day wears on.  We saw as much as humanly possible w/ 2 children in tow and swarming hordes of on-lookers. The highlights included the breathtaking Hall of Ocean Life. Also, the Dinosaurs Alive! IMAX film, which positively enchanted my older daughter, though not my husband. Always a critic. We all very much enjoyed the Lizards & Snakes: Alive! special exhibit, which, I confess, has left me longing for a Burmese Python. The whole museum – from the dioramas to the miles-long array of minerals, to the beauty of the building itself – is awesome. Fascinating. Overwhelming.  By the time we left, I felt like someone who’d tried digesting 5 billion years of history w/ one too few Tums.

BUT THERE’S ALWAYS ROOM FOR DESSERT.  And what trip to New York is complete w/out a visit to the sweetest place on earth (at least for a child) – FAO SCHWARTZ.  We made our way through Central Park, ambling towards 5th Avenue. It was simply lovely. The undulating trunks of the American Elms, the couples in love, the roller dancers making fools of themselves. AHHHHH. What a day to be alive.  Even the teeming crowds outside the Plaza weren’t enough to throw off our bliss.

Until we arrived at FAO SCHWARTZ.  I must confess that my daughters were MORE THAN A LITTLE skeptical regarding this particular store.  They kept asking, over and over – What IS THIS??  WHERE ARE WE GOING??  IS THIS FUN>> IS IT FOR KIDSSSS>????  As though we’d lost our senses.  TRUE the name does sound more like a financial institution than a toy store.  But once we stood outside the glass walls, and the girls had spotted the doorman dressed as a toy soldier, they knew GAME ON.  Once inside, we managed to make our way through the two stories and come away unscathed.  The ladies agreed to one small Playmobil set each. I was awed by the life-size Lego recreations of Chewbacca, Hagrid and the Harry Potter gang. But enough is enough.

Next stop: American Girl Place. Anyone who knows me can JUST IMAGINE WHAT I WAS THINKING. And you would be right. But I kept it BUTTONED. Through 4 floors of crass commercialism, personal shopping, doll hair salon, and cafe. I simply smiled weakly and let Daddy treat his daughters. Afterward I needed a drink. BAAAAAAAAD. We walked up 5th Avenue, past stores I will never be able to afford, surging with the crowd. We ate dinner at a cozy Irish place, which YOU KNOW HAD ALCOHOL. We stood in Times Square, gazing open-mouthed at all the neon and craziness. And then we walked, slowly, back to the car, taking in the sights. Watching the blocks morph from tacky souvenirs into respectable stone. And silently wondering what life must be like for those fortunate enough to live in such splendor.


ATTENTION DAILY DISH RECIPE SITE READERS

I have been fielding emails from many of you since Memorial Day regarding the status of The Daily Dish. I know it’s been confusing, my having kept the same page up from May 26th until this very morning. The lack of daily updates has been a source of anxiety for some of you, and for this, I apologize. I do recognize (and am indeed honored) that many people have come to depend on my website, and I do not mean to disappoint. But for the time being, I am on hiatus.

This post as well as this one provide much more detail as to why I am (at least for the time being) suspending work on The Daily Dish. Without being crass, I simply am being underpaid. I have spent HOURS AND HOURS each week for months working on recipes for the site, shopping for ingredients, cooking, cleaning, photographing, programming, and more. Running, writing and creating The Daily Dish is like working a full time 40 hr a week job for free. In addition to the time involved, it has also been a financial drain, with all of the food, gas and other expenses coming purely out of pocket.

I have thought long & hard about how to support this venture, whether it be through advertising on the site, publishing and selling a physical cookbook, asking for donations. I have up until now foregone ads for the sheer fact that I loathe them. I do not want to clutter my site w/ a bunch of google click-throughs intended to deceive & lure readers away from real content. I despise flashing banner ads – which frankly no one should have to deal with, but especially not those suffering from Meniere’s.

I am still quite wedded to the idea of publishing my own cookbook, but have been unable to make further strides b/c of the burden of updating the website. I simply can’t do both. It took me over 2 years of writing and research before I could even get the site up & running. Maintaining it has been a chore and a half. Now that I am on break, I have more time at my disposal for working on an actual book. Many people have responded favorably to the idea, and I very much welcome your comments regarding one. Would readers be interested in buying my book were I able to get it published? It may be easier for people to work from a book in the kitchen. It is for me. And so, I am exploring it as a viable option.

Just this morning, my dear friend Tracey emailed me another possible solution to my dilemma. A man engaged in a different-but-similar niche website has successfully campaigned the past two years for donations, along the lines of a PBS pledge drive. He has set periodic financial goals to cover his time & expenses, then asked readers to contribute whatever they can. This seems like a plausible solution, but again, I am not sure how readers would react. Would people be willing to pay for a service they have already come to expect and enjoy for free?

Please, if you value the website and the work that I have done, give me your feedback. It is essential for the continuation of The Daily Dish.

Life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness

It’s amazing how a day away from things can give perspective. Severed from my electrical umbilical cord, I AM A WHOLE NEW PERSON. Well not really, but it did allow me to put a day’s distance between me & THE DISH.

Part of the reason I had to stay off the computer was so I wouldn’t cave. B/c part of me just doesn’t want to stop doing The Daily Dish. Day in and day out. Forever and ever. Amen. This *part* of me is stubborn. It doesn’t care about ME. It is devoted to others. Their well-being. Their welfare. Their nutritional goals. SCREW YOU, it says. I call it Utilitarian Me, after John Stuart Mill. This part of me is always super determined. Disciplined. Moral. And now. ANGRY.

It is hard giving something up. Doubly so, when a part of you reeeeaaaaalllly doesn’t want to. Even if it’s bad for you or drives you crazy or makes you smell. Which isn’t my case, really, but you catch my drift. The Daily Dish is a good thing – a great thing, even. But it isn’t good for me right now. I am already juggling too much between the website, the kitchen, and my life. And now that summer’s fast approaching, I have been spending an exorbitant amount of time stressing over how I will get everything done with BOTH daughters at home. I shouldn’t be worried about any of that. I should be thinking of all the fun we’ll be having over the next few months. The beautiful weather. The hot days full of adventures and memories and time together. Instead I am thinking about the stupid website.

My daughters are, and have always been, my first priority. I gave up my career to stay home full time and I’ve never regretted it. I should feel no obligation to maintain a website I created out of the goodness of my own heart. And yet, I do. OF COURSE YOU KNOW I DO. But WHY? When I do it for no pay and it is becoming too taxing for words, that’s a bad thing. Lately I’ve felt like a fox in a trap, wondering whether I’ll have to chew off my own leg to save myself. My urge to maintain the status quo is almost too strong for my own good.

For now, it’s necessary to take a break. The website will remain as it’s been. I am not taking it down. I have avoided even changing it from the Memorial Day page, for fear I’ll CAVE. For the past year and a half, some part of my brain, sometimes all of it, has been consumed with this website. It’s like a baby. I literally gave birth to it, and it has been my passion. Developing recipes, deciding what to make, how to make it. What to work on, what to drop. I was already crazy about food and photography, but you put them together and I AM INSANE. When I was sick, I kept going. Doing anything dizzy is not a lot of fun. But still I did it, because I felt others were counting on me. When I went on vacation, I worried about my readers. Would they be okay? Would they be cheating? I thought more about them than I did myself.

I cannot tell you how liberating it is, after all these months, to taste FREEDOM. I spent 8 hours today cleaning my house. And even though I despise cleaning, today it felt good. No website. No recipe. As I scrubbed toilets, I thought about how SPARKLING THEY WERE. As I vacuumed, I thought how wondrous a machine a vacuum is, and how glad I am to have one. As my back ached while I bent over mopping the last floor of the house, I thanked GOD that I was finished. I wasn’t preoccupied with getting THE DISH done so I could take pictures while the light was good. Or having to orchestrate cooking of THE DISH so that it would conveniently coincide w/ mealtime. I didn’t have to think about any of that. Now my house is clean. And NOT ONLY THAT. BUT my priorities are straight, and summer is almost here.

So please don’t be sad. I want you all to know that this isn’t the end – it’s really, truly, the beginning. I have the next 3 months w/ my girls. I am SO EXCITED!! We will have so much fun together, and I will be blogging here about it all, sharing everything w/ you, my friends. In the fall, my daughters will BOTH be going off to school. And then – the fun BEGINS. The start of a real adventure for me. I’ve spent the past 8 years at home, being here for my family. Loving them, taking care of them, making everyone else a priority. For good bad & or UGLY, I’ve done it all. But come September, it’s Christy Time. IT’S ALL ME. And then anything is possible. Stay tuned. B/c come what may, I promise, it’ll be fun.

Happy Momma’s Day Weekend~ YO!

I don’t know about you, but I for one enjoy the easy life. Someone else cooking my food, cleaning up after me, picking my teeth. So next to my birthday week, and Christmas, I like Mother’s Day weekend the BEST.

Friday night kicked off the festivities w/ a hot date featuring my husband.
After sushi for two @ our favorite place, we hit Ye Olde Booksellers. I got a great new book called Farewell, My Subaru. A tale about a guy who gives up his material existence to live off the land in New Mexico. Never mind he’s a pampered urbanite with zero farm experience. I was sold when I read he’d gotten goats off of Craigslist.

Given the number of pets we have, this shouldn’t come as a major surprise, but we’ve also gotten animals off of Craigslist. Our former 3rd-hand macaw, and our little wonder bird *Kiwi*. Now normally I’m not one to toot my own bird, but since we’re on the subject. Toot-toot. it sure is hard to imagine life w/out Kiwi. I would have to go back to grooming myself, changing clothes just once a day, and having friends. YES, She’s become so attached to me, in fact, that I may have to take a restraining order out on her. She has of late begun trying to drive all others away from me. For instance, when someone comes over to talk (and by someone I mean ANYONE, including humans, human-esque forms, animals – even toys and telephones), she begins to chirp in a jealous fashion. If I do not respond, she becomes slightly more agitated, to the point where she starts to lunge at said person (or animal – or phone), trying to bite them and send them packing. I have had boyfriends who were not so attentive. Or insane.

ANYWAY. Saturday my husband – who is just so smart! brought down the big plastic log cabin that was up in our attic playroom and reassembled it outside for our daughters – as well as the rest of the kids on the block. It looks like this:

Except that ours is now taking up most of our front porch, and those are NOT my kids. But they do look like they are having a grand old time, and they would not be the only ones. The ladies were having the BEST TIME EVERRRRR this weekend playing in that thing. And who can blame them?! If I were a kid, I can’t imagine anything better than my very own plastic log cabin!!

So Saturday evening my husband dragged the girls away from the cabin to take us all to the Borgata buffet for a pre-momma’s day feast. We got there just after 5 PM and let me tell you, that is the BEST TIME TO GO. There was no line, no waiting, nothing but food glorious food and meeeee eating it alllllll. After dinner, I did NOT play my secret luckiest winniest machine ever, mostly b/c someone else was using it and they did NOT appear to be winning anything. Instead I went the next aisle over and played a brand new machine called S’mores. And it was DELiCIOUSLY addictive. Yes, I blew $40 away on the machine quick-as-a-wink, and wanted to go back and spend more. B/c THAT is the kind of food-obsessed moron I am. Oh well. It was fun while the flavor lasted. After the Borgata, we went to the beach, and it was as magical as ever even though it was windy and cold. Ahhhh. Nothing like it.

Yesterday, Momma’s Day, was lovely. My older daughter lost her second tooth in TWO DAYS. I kid you not. We were all giddy about it. She also got her brand new violin restrung, and practically slept w/ it she was so happy. Later in the day we went shopping, and even though I have decided that bathing suit shopping is as close to hell as I care to get, I even found a new swimsuit! It is WAY CUTE with the prettiest pattern. I usually hate most bathing suits b/c they are made of hideously ugly fabric, things you wouldn’t dare dress in EVER. Not to mention the fact that most of them make you feel like an over-stuffed sausage sticking out of a waaaay too small casing. But this one is soooooo sweet. YAY. Yes, I know I have half a dozen bikinis that my husband begs me to wear, but all I want is a cute 1-pc that holds my ample chest in place so I can run around in the surf & build sandcastles w/ my kids w/out worrying that my breastesssessss are popping out unbeknownst to me and some old duffer is getting an eyeballfull. which has happened before. This suit is great b/c it is SO CUTE and fun, but highly practical. My idea of perfection.

So last night we returned home for supper before the BIG SURVIVOR SEASON FINALLEE!! 3 HOURS OF SURVIVOR FUNNNN!!! Which brings me to the funniest story. Last night as I was inside getting dinner together (YES I KNOW I WAS COOKING DINNER ON MY VERY OWN MOTHER’S DAY BUT WAIT TILL YOU HEAR THE REST OF MY STORY). SO, I was inside, and the next thing I know my husband comes in the house w/ the biggest smirk on his face. He goes YOU’LL NEVER BELIEVE WHAT JUST HAPPENED. And he starts just cracking up. Well it turns out, our little neighbor across the street isn’t quite *up to speed* yet w/ regard to potty training. So she’s out there playing with all the kids, hanging out inside the cabin, when SNIFF**SNIFF** my older daughter’s like “Who FARTED??” The cabin apparently goes silent. The kids are all looking around at each other, waiting for someone to fess up. My daughter asks the littlest neighbor, “Did you fart?” To which the little one responds, “No fart, POOP.” My daughter looks down and sees that the kid has POOP all over her leg – AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!! Thus prompting a MASS EXODUS from the cabin. All the kids spill out onto the sidewalk. So on the cement, my husband discovers this one lone turd. Just sitting there. right outside the cabin door. Our friend across the street happened to come across just then, with a plastic bag in her pocket. No kidding. Craziest thing ever. Can you imagine just walking down the street and PLOP a big crap falls out of your shorts! BOY I hope that’s not me some day.