Wednesday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

As of last night, 11 p.m. local time/8 p.m. Cali time, the winner of last night’s GOP primary in New Hampshire was Mitt Romney (38%), followed by Ron Paul (23%) and Jon Huntsman (17%). I expect a lot of dropouts in the next few days. Here are the polls and details at our brother site Daily Kos.

Speaking of politics, when will we catch up to Jamaica? Portia Simpson Miller, Jamaica’s first female prime minister, was just sworn in for her second term. Check out her bad-ass response to homophobia on the island.

In related news, I teared up reading this personal account by a legislator and son of a gay man who has endorsed a gay marriage bill in Washington state.

MSN Health ran a fascinating study on how people who live 110 years or longer have as many disease-associated genes as people in the general population, but they may also have protective genes that help them live longer.

Liz Cerezo over at the Thoughts of a Mommy blog wrote a thoughtful and honest account about parenting a teenage boy.

The Boston Globe ran a wonderful essay about raising teenagers with autism.

BlogHer published another provocative piece, this one proposed an expiration date on marriage to prevent snarling the courts with divorce cases. She suggested having a mechanism where married couples can choose to renew their marital vows — er contract — online. What do you think?

Mother Jones magazine included a round-up of tidbits from a biography about the Obamas. I couldn’t put it down!

Finally, here is a little humor on this lovely hump day courtesy of the Huffington Post. Like this author and illustrator, I hardly drank any caffeinated or alcoholic drinks prior to becoming a mother. Now? There are days I just can’t get by without them! :)

Thanks for the tip, Hilary!

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?


Drinks you enjoy

I have branched out a bit in my alcoholic beverages lately and would love to learn about more kinds, so thought it might be fun to have a thread for drinks you like. We don’t drink every night but it is pretty common for us to have a glass of wine with dinner. Now I’m starting to try to learn a bit more (quite belatedly I realize, 20 years after most other people my age did) about different kinds of drinks.

In my 20s I drank mostly beer, but at age 30 we moved to California and since then it has been all wine. Wine, wine, wine. We live close to wine country and it seems that everybody knows all the different grapes and all that. The kinds we most often drink are –

Summer –

sauvignon blanc (usually we drink California wine, but sauvignon blancs from New Zealand are very good too)
pino grigio (Italian is usually good)
Not as much – chardonnay, but I’m not so crazy about it. In the summer when it’s hot I usually want to drink something lighter than chardonnay. I am also not crazy about viognier. It tastes like beer to me. Riesling we barely ever have, usually it’s too sweet.

Winter –

barbera, cabernet sauvignon, malbec, pinot noir, zinfandel (there are lots of local zins here)

And of course I should give a shout-out to Jen, Chilean wine is great too!

We don’t really drink much merlot. “Sideways” no doubt had a very negative impact on the merlot industry.

Cocktails and hard liquor in general are a bit more mystifying to me. I never knew much about them before and am just starting to learn a bit more. There are so many different kinds, it’s hard to know where to start.

I like and have more or less learned how to make a margarita, a mojito, a kir or kir royale. Those are good. I’ve also tried and liked sangria, cosmos (which I suppose are rather 90’s SATC), Pimm’s No. 1 cup, a bellini, and a few others. And of course the old college ones like a screwdriver or a rum and coke.

Last night I tried making a negroni for the first time (1/3 Campari, 1/3 gin, 1/3 sweet vermouth). Sadly I bought the wrong kind of vermouth (dry) and now need to go buy the right kind because it was not so good with dry vermouth.

What have you been drinking lately? Do you have any cocktails to recommend giving a try?


Handy Tip of the Week

How to Clean Out a Clogged Drain Without Drain Cleaner (A little Friday Frivolity I wrote for my other other blog.)

Haha. OK, handy tip of the year. I am slightly lacking in the handy department.

Today’s adventure in less than domestic-goddesshood:

You have this clogged drain. You know why it is clogged. You’re not wanting to discuss that right now, thank you very much. You also know commercial drain cleaners require you to clear the area of all pets and children, open the windows, check your reproductive cells for mutations, and are really, really nasty. However, it is hard not to go buy a bottle of the nastiness when your sink is looking up at you and asking: “Why are you a bad mom?”

(My sink for some reason sounds a lot like my eldest child when it’s pissed off.) “Look, sink” (you say) “I have had a long day. You are just going to have to toughen up a little and work with me, here.”

OK, now your sink has been put in its place, but it still stubbornly holds about 5 inches of nasty greasy water. Here’s what to do:

(But first, a few disclaimers: this only works if your sink is clogged with some sort of greasy foodstuff. I can’t help you with foreign objects. What are you doing to that poor sink, anyway? For this to work, your sink must have some room for more water without causing an overflow, and a spray nozzle. Also: NEVER DO THIS WITH A DRAIN CLEANER UNLESS CHEMICAL BURNS ARE YOUR IDEA OF FUN. )

  1. Take bottle of grease-fighting dish soap, I used “Palmolive with Scrub Busters” but anything reasonably strong ought to do it. I didn’t try it with the bottle of eco-friendly stuff I had on hand, but if that’s all you’ve got give it a shot and let me know how it went.
  1. Stick the bottle all the way down by the drain hole and squirt a good amount in.
  1. Take you sink’s spray nozzle, put it all the way down there, turn on the hot water, and spray directly into the drain for about 15 seconds. (Or less if you don’t have much room in the sink)
  1. Wait. 5 minutes maybe? I don’t know exactly what you’ve done to this sink, so I can’t really say. It took about 5 minutes to work on mine.
  1. Listen for burble sound and watch magical clearing of drain.
  1. Clean sink, which is easy because there’s soap in it and no nasty drain cleaner chemical residue.
  1. Reevaluate choices w/ regard to sink.
  1. Have a glass of wine.

I hope you have found this helpful. Tune in next year for another handy tip