Tragic Sandwich

Food. Family. Fun.

Liebster Award, Round 2

Karen at Dinosaur Superhero Mommy has kindly nominated me for the Liebster Award.

Now I have to admit that this award has been extended to me before. But it doesn’t look like I followed the rules, which say that I should:

  • Share 11 random facts about myself.
  • Nominate 11 other bloggers.
  • Answer 11 questions about myself.
  • Ask 11 questions of my nominees.

Eleven facts:

1) I only ate chicken twice while I was pregnant with Baguette, because it grossed me out.
2) I don’t like carbonated drinks.
3) My passport expired a few years ago, and I feel really weird about that because until then, I’d had a valid passport since I was 10.
4) I was unsure about whether I wanted a dog until we adopted Wicket, and now I never want to be without one again.
5) I have known Mr. Sandwich since college, but we didn’t start dating until 11 years after I graduated.
6) Oregano gives me heartburn.
7) My younger brother used to tell people we were twins. I would follow up with, “But he’s three years behind me in school.”
8) I think there are places everyone should visit to get perspective. Those places include L.A.’s Skid Row, and Dachau.
9) I would really like to write a book.
10) I used to pretend to be a baseball fan so that I wouldn’t have to talk about football.
11) I am tired of being asked to fix other people’s writing problems at the last minute. Bring me in earlier, or leave me alone.

Eleven answers:

1) What would you do first if you won a million dollars? So many thoughts. Well, I’d pay off our mortgage and my brother’s.
2) What is your favorite room in your home? The living room. I love, love, love the paint color, and it’s where we keep the TV and toys. We do a lot of living in there.
3) What did you want to be when you were a little kid? A lion.
4) What is your favorite book to read to your child(ren) It doesn’t matter. We read what she wants us to read.
5) What is your favorite color? Blue
6) Which kid’s show do you wish was cancelled? We don’t have a lot of exposure yet, but it’s pretty easy for me to pick “Caillou.”
7) What is your favorite holiday? Labor Day, because it’s the one that’s coming up next.
8) What is the most expensive gift you have given someone? Probably the watch that my brother and I gave my dad for his 75th birthday, but I’m not sure.
9) Are you a good dancer? Depends on the kind of dancing. Going to a club? No. Ballroom/swing? Okay. Ballet? Not bad when I was a kid, but 30 years later I’m probably not very good.
10) How many kids did you think you would have as a child? Two.
11) What do you look forward to most about fall? I live in L.A. We don’t do fall here.

Eleven questions:

1) What was your favorite after-school activity?
2) What’s one fact or skill you remember learning from your favorite teacher?
3) What’s the most valuable piece of criticism you’ve ever gotten?
4) If you could only eat one vegetable for the rest of your life, what would it be?
5) Who is your favorite fictional character?
6) What color shoes are you wearing right now?
7) What is your favorite vacation spot?
8) What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done to your hair?
9) What time do you usually eat dinner?
10) What’s the best moment of your day?
11) What’s your favorite breakfast food?

Eleven blogs:*

Blogging with Mittens
Katie is a Teacher
Wandering Scientist

*”Hey! That’s only three!” Very true. I’ve been working on this post for two days. It’s very long. I figured I’d give everyone a break.


5 Things I Found While I Was Looking Around


50 of the World’s Best Breakfasts on Blog

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, and now that can be true in even more countries.

Portraits of Dogs as They Shake Off Water on Petapixel

For those days when you think, “My dog is so dignified. How silly could he or she look?”

10 Best Places for Escaping World Conflict on Expatify

When the revolution comes, you are going to thank me.

Your Age on Other Worlds
on Exploratorium

I’ll have to move to Saturn to be younger than Baguette, and even then she’d have to stay on Earth. Not worth it.

List of common misconceptions on Wikipedia

That thing you thought you always knew? It’s wrong.

Photo by duncan, via Flickr.

Can a Toddler Be an Introvert?


Recently, Baguette’s teachers asked to meet with us. Apparently she falls asleep throughout the day, and she doesn’t interact with children or her teachers the way they’re accustomed to seeing.

Her sleep is an issue, and we know that. And we’re working on it.

But apparently she’d often rather read a book with Bestie or by herself than trade toys with the other children. And she ignores her teacher when told that it’s time for a diaper change. (Which is strange, because at home she’s so cooperative about diaper changes. [/sarcasm])

What we see is that she holds back a little when first encountering someone–even Mr. Sandwich’s parents, who she sees regularly–but warms up when allowed to do so on her own terms. When Mr. Sandwich picks Baguette up from day care, she and Bestie want to dance and play and spin together. On playdates with one or two other children, she both plays with them and gets territorial with toys, just like they do.

And even in large groups in noisy settings, like birthday parties at indoor playgrounds, she has a great time running from the ball pit to the trampoline to the tiny basketball backboard. It’s not like she’s cowering in a corner. She’s just doing what makes her happy, without the need for constant companionship in her choices.

Also worth noting: when she moved from the toddler room to the two-year-old room, she went from a class of 8 to a class of more than 20, in a much larger setting (and by that I mean that I think our entire house might fit into her new classroom).

I know I’m on the cusp of introvert and extrovert. I can be very outgoing when I choose, but I also really, really like staying home with a book.

So when can we get a sense of whether Baguette leans toward the introverted side of the scale? Because her behavior doesn’t seem to require evaluation–I just think she leans toward smaller groups and smaller settings.

Don’t get me wrong. I do want to know about real problems, and I want to address them as soon as possible. But I don’t see “likes smaller groups” as a problem. It’s just a little different from what they’re used to seeing. And “different” isn’t a problem.

Photo by GenkiGenki, via Flickr.

What I Want to Tell Every New Parent

Meagan Francis of The Happiest Mom has asked me to contribute a guest post to her wonderful blog! I’m writing about what I’ve learned as a new(ish) mother:

To paraphrase Olympia Dukakis’s Rose Castorini from Moonstruck, “What I don’t know about parenting is a lot.”

Baguette was born in April 2010. Mr. Sandwich and I brought her home two days later, and as we opened the front door, I thought, “Why did they let me bring her home? I have no idea what to do.”

To read the rest of the post, visit The Happiest Mom.

Santa Barbara Sojourn

Santa Barbara – what’s not to love?

Every girl needs a jaunty hat. Even if it’s her mother’s.

Exhibits were made to be climbed.


A girl after my own heart–when I was trying online dating, my full add title was “Mary Jane Watson Seeks Peter Parker; No Green Goblins Need Apply.”

Time for a run (so, also a girl after her Daddy’s own heart).


Photo by Mr. Sandwich

Giraffes enjoy being hand-fed romaine lettuce, and Baguette enjoys hand-feeding romaine lettuce to giraffes. Win-win!

Who needs a straw cup?

Never go in against a Sicilian donkey when grooming is on the line!

Baguette’s first time on the carousel. Mommy’s first time not riding a horse.

Finally! The beach!

We are not sure when the beach became so important to her life. This is her third trip ever.

What We Ate on Our Summer Vacation

When we decided we wanted to go back to Santa Barbara, that naturally meant that we wanted to revisit some of the restaurants we particularly enjoyed.

First, though, we decided to cut down on breakfasts out–we rented a studio unit. However, it turned out that what we imagined to be a kitchen was actually a mini-fridge and microwave. I don’t think the place was misrepresented, I think we brought some faulty assumptions. But the mini-fridge did mean that we could pick up a few things at Albertsons and Lazy Acres (which is like if Whole Foods and Bristol Farms had a passionate affair that resulted in a really classy baby) and cut down on our meals out.

So where did we eat?

Some local friends introduced us to Cajun Kitchen, where we ordered a plethora of pancakes, eggs, and sausage. (Just assume we ordered this everywhere unless otherwise specified–one of our goals is to get Baguette to eat, and this meal is pretty much a sure thing.)

El Pollo Rico in Goleta featured BBQ chicken and “tri-tip” (actually skirt steak). Everything was a little dry, but the flavors were great and we did not go away hungry.

We had two dinners at Mesa Pizza Co.–I really liked the crust and toppings here, and Baguette is always a fan of cheese pizza. She’s also a fan of pepperoni pizza, although she’s as likely to discard the pepperoni as she is to eat it.

We also made two trips to Mac’s Fish and Chips Shop on State Street. While most of State could pass for a fairly generic mall that happens to have a street running through it, Mac’s was a find. Between the two visits, we ate fish and chips, bangers and chips, beef and onion pie, clam chowder, and Toad-in-the-Hole. Oh, and mashed potatoes. All delicious. We’ll be back when we’re here next.

Mac's Fish and Chips Shop

If you haven’t had McConnell’s ice cream, you may be able to find it in a Whole Foods near you. We were able to go to their actual brick-and-mortar location, and were not disappointed. While Baguette was intrigued but reluctant to share either Mr. Sandwich’s Golden State Vanilla or my Santa Barbara Strawberry (in a waffle cone, no less), she eventually mustered the courage to take a taste of my ice cream–at which point she yelled, “It’s a party!”

So, naturally, we went back for another party the next night.

By the way, Mad Dogs may have great hot dogs, but I’d pass on the shave ice. It’s not real shave ice–what they’re selling is essentially a sno-cone, and believe me, there is no comparison.

Our return visits were a mixed bag:

Farmer Boy, while one of our favorites last year, dropped from “leisurely” to “so slow we tipped badly.” The food was fine, but not good enough to make up for the incredibly slow service. I was on my third cup of coffee before the meal came, and that included waiting for the fresh pot–and a side order never showed up at all.

We were happier with Garrett’s Old Fashion, with fast, friendly service and good food. It was a marked contrast to the previous morning at Farmer Boy. When we made a final trip on our way out of town, not only did we again get fast service, but the waiter remembered that I’d ordered an extra egg for Baguette the previous day, and asked if I wanted that again. If we lived in Santa Barbara, I’d be a regular.

But I can’t decide: should I be happy or sad that Baguette can open a mini-fridge without assistance?

Bullies Come in All Shapes and Sizes, Part III


I just came across this post on GeekDad about a first-grade girl bullied for carrying a Star Wars lunchbox. It’s a couple of years old, but it resonated with me.

Why? I didn’t carry a Star Wars lunchbox. I’m old. I pre-date Star Wars. But I was an Adam-12 fan, and I carried a lunchbox from that show.

One morning, as I was walking to my class, two boys started to taunt me. It went like this:

Boy #1: You’re a boy.
Me: I’m a girl.
Boy #2: No, you’re a boy. Only boys watch Adam-12.
Me: That’s not true. I’m a girl, and I watch Adam-12.
Boy #2: That means you’re a boy.
Me: No, it doesn’t. Look, I’m wearing a skirt.
Boy #1: That just means you’re a boy in a skirt.
Me: . . .

Look, if you’ve been reading this blog, you know that this is where the conversation ended. And it didn’t end because I ran away crying, or because a teacher put a stop to it.

No, it ended because I hit Boy #1 in the head with my lunchbox. Which was full, because it was morning. And made of metal, because that’s what lunchboxes were made of.

You know what happened? Nothing. I didn’t get in any trouble, either at home or at school. I’ll bet neither of those boys was willing to admit that someone they saw as a victim was completely unwilling to fill that role. And maybe, just maybe, they thought better of pulling that kind of crap with some other little girl. The only thing that happened was that I got a dent in my lunchbox.

I’ve always been proud of that dent.

Photo by Andrew Baron, via Flickr.

My First Books

Come on. You know you want to. Everybody’s doing it.

I’d say “enough with the bandwagon propaganda,” (Check that out–I remember something from eighth-grade English! But I don’t remember that teacher’s name, even though I always thought she was one of my best English teachers. Also, my favorite propaganda category title remains “glittering generalities.” But I digress.) except that you know you want to talk about books, too.

Bookshelf porn

So, with no further ado (adieu? adew? Punny options abound), here are my answers:

First Book I Loved
My mother would say that it was Mimi, the Merry-Go-Round Cat, because I had her read it to me so many times that she could still recite it when I was in my 30s. I’m going to go with The Secret of the Old Clock, because as a redhead I loved Nancy Drew (don’t tell me she started out as a blonde–that girl was a redhead), and because the most valuable shopping lesson I learned as a child was that when you go to Toys R Us, you will not get all the toys you want, but you will definitely be able to persuade your mother to buy you more books.

Wait. I take that back. My fourth-grade teacher read A Christmas Carol to us, and I was so taken by it that I went home and told the story to my brother. From memory. Faulty memory. And had the poor judgement to record it on our then state-of-the-art toy piece of technology, the tape deck, so that my version could be replayed for years. But given that it made such a strong impression on me that I had to share it, maybe I should count this one.

First Book I Hated

I haven’t hated a lot of books. I mean, I outgrew Barbara Cartland’s formulaic (and tiny!) novels very quickly, and I did not enjoy Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire the way the friend who lent it to me hoped I would. So the book that comes to mind is one I read just a couple of years ago: Wicked. It’s very different from the musical (which I had seen and loved), but that’s not the problem. The problem is [WARNING: SPOILERS!] the pointless violence, the bestiality, and the lazy writing. The first two mean that I’m sorry I have this book in my brain, and the third means it was also a waste of my time.

First Series I Read

I’m going to have to go back to Nancy Drew here, except that it’s a series that never really ends. So I guess I’ll have to go with Susan Cooper’s “The Dark is Rising” series. I read them again recently, and remain impressed with them. Not everything holds up, but enough does.

First Fantasy/Sci-Fi Book I Read
It must have been The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, because I remember that my grandparents’ municipal library had sequels from that series that our library did not. Oh, wait, maybe this was my first series. Although I don’t think I read all of the Oz books–probably not even all of the Baum books.

First Book That Made Me Cry From Laughing
I think I’m going to have to go with Ginger on this one, although I think the first Bombeck I read was The Grass is Always Greener Over the Septic Tank. I read my mom’s copy when I was about nine, and although I didn’t get all of it, I knew it was damn funny.

First YA Book I Read and Loved
YA is a genre that confuses me. Is it for tweens and teens? About them? If it’s well-written, I don’t much care. So, um, Island of the Blue Dolphins, I guess? Or maybe The Witch of Blackbird Pond? I’m sorry. I’ve been reading for a long time now. I can’t remember all the details, particularly when it comes to sequence.

First Horror Book I Read
I remember a series of kids’ horror books that featured plots that focused on demons emerging from amulets or ouija boards or things like that, but I don’t remember the titles (they would precede R.L. Stine’s many “Goosebumps” books; yes, I am that old). Or maybe it was one of Lois Duncan’s many books? The first adult horror I read was Stephen King’s Night Shift, and “The Lawnmower Man” alone completely put me off the genre.

First Book I Was Completely Obsessed With

This is a tough one. But I’m going to go with The Black Stallion–which, now that I think about it, would also be a contender for First Series. When that movie came out, I could tell you every single plot point that differed from the book–to the point that my father said, “If all you’re going to do is complain about how it’s going to be different, I’m not going to take you to see it.” But we did, and I loved the movie on its own terms. And one of the perks of moving to San Antonio when I was 13 was that Cass Ole, the horse that played The Black, lived there, too. Although based on the story I told above, we may be looking at A Christmas Carol for this one, too.

Wow. I’m long-winded, aren’t I? Now, what about your firsts?

Photo by Queenie & the Dew, via Flickr.

Drowning in Recipes


Growing up, this is how my mother collected recipes. She’d write them on 3×5 cards and keep them in a recipe file box. She also had a variety of cookbooks, although her mainstay was The Joy of Cooking.

I have that same system, although I find that it’s where I’m most likely to keep family recipes–making pretty much any recipe file box much too large. Here’s how I store recipes (as you may guess, “Where is the recipe?” is often my first question in cooking):

  • The aforementioned file box
  • Ring binder of 4×6 recipe cards (my mother sent me off to grad school with this, and since it’s in her handwriting I will keep it forever–although I will always wonder why she included the recipe for escabeche when she knew I hated it)
  • Ridiculous number of cookbooks
  • File of Word documents on the computer
  •–which in spite of its name is not actually a cooking site–with a specific tag
  • My “recipe box” on

In fact, is where I’m most likely to go for new recipes. I know a lot of people use Pinterest, and I have a board with pictures of food, but I’ve never cooked from any of those recipes.

So how do you organize recipes? And why do I have so many cookbooks I never use?

Photo by pirate johnny, via Flickr.

5 Things I Found While I Was Looking Around


“Smell Like a Monster” on YouTube

Thank you, Sesame Street! (And thank you, too, Wandering Scientist!)

Chicken, Mozzarella, and Asparagus Pasta on The Coterie Blog

Yum. Just, yum.

23 Fun Summer Bucket List Activities for Families on Parenting Squad

If August finds you running out of ideas for what to do with your kids, here are some more.

Cats in Sinks

You really shouldn’t need more explanation than that.


Perfect for the crazy days.

Photo by super-structure, via Flickr.

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