Last night, David Letterman offered his opinion that Martha Stewart should be cleared of any charges, and he also offered to pay any fines or charges for which Martha Stewart is liable. Now, mind you, Dave had just been stitched up on the air, due to a minor mishap on his finger, so maybe the loss of blood had something to do with his largesse. I agree that Martha’s getting something of a bum rap – one of the charges claims that she committed securities fraud by defending her ImClone trade. The theory is that by claiming that she didn’t do anything illegal, she was attempting to convince shareholders to hold onto the stock, and thus artificially inflated the price. This smacks of a “darned if you do and darned if you don’t” problem – defend yourself, and you’re presumed guilty of fraud. Don’t defend yourself, and you’re presumed guilty of insider trading. Pick your preferred fine and prison term.

I think the first new show Martha does after all of this is cleared up should include such things as: how to wallpaper a bathroom with ridiculous legal paperwork; how to print in mugshot in various shades of tepia; the recipe for a delicious cake, containing a file in the middle; and how to elegantly take the perp walk, umbrella in hand, as demonstrated by M truly. May she make mega-bucks off of the SEC’s ravings, and do so in an over-the-top in-your-face Martha manner.

300 calories per day. That’s supposedly what a pregnant woman needs, in addition to her normal calorie intake, to support the babe growing inside. 300 calories just isn’t much. A bag of Skittles is almost 300 calories. We’re often told that women are eating for two, that an increase in appetite is to be expected. Where’s the room for the pickles and ice cream? A couple of pickles in themselves would take care of the 300, never mind the ice cream.

Recipes for cakes, cookies, and pies beckon, whispering “Hey, you’re pregnant – you can have this stuff, you’re _supposed_ to be gaining weight”. “Pick me”, and another one “don’t forget about me”. But pregnancy overindulgences can’t be sweated away – no 3 mile runs a couple of times a week, no strenuous weight-lifting, nothing that pushes the heart rate up over whatever that magic number is. Any weight gained just gets a free ride until after the baby is born.

So I have to keep my cookbooks under lock and key. No pulling out those magic combinations of flour, sugar, and eggs to make some wonderful delicacy. Any goodies made have to be carefully scheduled to be shared with some guest’s unsuspecting waistline. Hey, that’s why I love potluck dinners! I can make the most delicious things without having to worry about whether it’ll be Jason’s or my belt that needs to get replaced.

Waiting at the doctor’s office yesterday, one of the nurse’s daughters came in. Turns out she’s 17 and her mom had made her come in for this appointment. While she was waiting her turn, she went back to the office area to show one of the receptionists her new tattoo. Apparently she had just had it done this weekend, and it was still very tender.

Curious, I asked her at what studio she had gotten it done. To my surprise, she said she hadn’t gotten it done at a studio, she had gotten it done at her aunt’s house. Her aunt had had a tattoo party, and she was one of ten people who had been tattooed that evening. If the other tattooes were as large as hers was (hers was on the base of her back and was probably 10 inches wide by 6 inches tall), then that tattoo artist was busy for quite a while!

Now, I’m both a fan of tattooes and a fan of “buy stuff” parties (think Pampered Chef kitchen ware, PartyLite candles, Longaberger baskets – all of which have sucked me into buying something at least once), I’m trying to imagine which of my various friends and associates would attend a tattoo party. How do you decide the guest list?? Who’s your target customer? And then the time-honored munchies at a “buy stuff” party – how do you adjust them for folks who might be squeamish at the little bit of blood you might see as someone else’s tattoo is getting inked? I assume the beverages end up being a little bit stronger than Coke…

Somehow this seems quite the Martha-Stewartish suburbanite twist on the typical group of girls/guys getting themselves psyched up some weekend evening and daring each other to get a tattoo. This is something you put in your DayTimer and leave yourself a reminder to bring a casserole. Too weird! (But worth an experiment if I have enough like-minded friends! Kel, Miche, Vanessa, Sheri, Denice… want to try a different kind of party??)

Yesterday my brother-in-law, Brad, presented me with an assortment of Korean foods that he purchased during his travels. Feeling somewhat adventurous, I brought one of the soup-bowl-looking things to work for lunch today. The packaging is reminiscent of something we’d buy here, with a pretty picture on the front, bold colors to attract your eye, a bar code, and what looks like an ingredient list, cooking directions, and even an evaluation of its nutrition. None of that is useful to me, though, as all of the text is in Korean. I do get the idea that I’m not supposed to microwave the packaging (its a Styrofoam bowl), and that I shouldn’t spill it on myself due to hot liquid contents, based on some icons that seem to transcend cultural boundaries.

The packaging did provide me with one useful clue, though – a web address for the company that makes the product. Luckily, they even provide an English version of the site (Russian, too, apparently, though that’d help me about as much as Korean). Doing some hunting, I think my lunch is the Spicy Soya Ramen, as I do have two packets included with my ramen noodles.

And now the taste test: I’m afraid of their description of “spicy”. In past foreign food adventures, I’ve discovered that one culture’s idea of spicy may be magnitudes greater than my threshold for spicy, even though I generally like spicy foods. This stuff is pretty good, though. It’s got a bite to it, but nothing that leaves me fearing that I’m searing my tastebuds.

Neat change of pace for my day, between the food itself, and the wondering what exactly it was I was going to end up with. Can’t wait to try some of the other goodies Brad brought back… I remember seeing seasoning paste for kimchee (salted spicy cabbage), as well as some other spicy sauces. I’m going to have me some fun in the kitchen!

Lemon meringue, cooling on my stove top. Mounds of fluffy white sugary confection globbed over a thick lemon goo. Beautifully brown crusts, tightly encircling, and bounded themselves by a silver pan.

Waxing poetic over the pie. No mention of the stack of dishes that surround my artwork, or the wrung-out lemon peels, or the cracked and crumpled egg shells in the sink. With any luck, my husband will write that prose.

Flowers: I love to have them around the house, and my cat loves to eat them. Ran across the following postcard out there in the digital ether of cyberspace – thought I’d share it.

Amazon has a Wish-list feature – Burpee’s ought to, too. . . Included on my wish-list would be the gardener who’d come along to keep me from either accidentally killing off whatever I try to plant outside or from planting something that in various places would be considered a weed that attempts to take over gardens (our mint plants and yarrow plants come to mind).

In the vein of they-can’t-be-serious(!):
Keep it Clean House-Cleaning Kit and CD-ROM
As quoted from their website:
“Humor him with the idea of housework. That’s right! He may not want to know how to clean the toilet, mop the floor or make the bed, but he will want to watch these captivating cleaning experts show him how to DO IT!”

Key critiques: one, I don’t want to “humor him” with the “idea” of housework. I’d much rather he do it, whether it’s humorous or not, and not just think about it. (I’m referring here specifically to their text – there’s no tie-in here to my hubby and our housework.) Two, again in the same vein, a guy who just wants to “watch [their] captivating cleaning experts” isn’t very helpful. “Dear, are you watching soft porn again? No, honey, I’m just refreshing on how to clean that toilet.”

[Brought to you courtesy of “Charlotte and John” who nicely sent me an e-mail with the subject “Make Your Valentine Shine!”. ]

I vow to have made my last Michael’s run this year. . . my craft supplies are stocked with more stuff than I can possibly do in the limited time between work, mommyhood, and sleep (oh, to have more sleep!). Yet I still am lured by the siren call of one more neat project, one more craft that just would make the holiday season complete. Yesterday’s purchase was a set of white card stock with which I hope to make snowflake picture frame ornaments. The hope would be to make these each year, putting in that year’s new pictures of Cora, so that she’d have a full set by the time she was too embarassed to let her mom put those ornaments on the tree.

But there’s no reason that that particular craft needs to happen between now and the 25th, other than it’s the holiday craft season! Similarly, I have wooden birdhouses downstairs that have just screamed to be decorated as little gingerbread houses, rather than remaining on a shelf completely bare of paint or ornament. And the pile of yarn left over from other projects that just might be usable on the next one is a source of great amusement for our cats. Still, every time that flier from Michael’s comes, or I run across a new craft idea (there’s one in a new magazine called Budget Living – use those Christmas lights to poke through an artist’s canvas to make a neat lighted picture – bare canvas with a constellation of Christmas lights). . . well, I add another item to my mental want-to-do list.

Maybe when my daughter’s old enough for us to do crafts together, we’ll make beautiful things and I’ll be able to pass along my crafting disease. For now, I must suffer alone. . . and the stockpile of supplies continues.

Michael’s craft stores are open until 10:00 for the holiday season! Hurrah! That they’re open later, giving me the opportunity to shop in peace after my daughter’s gone to bed, doesn’t in any way mean that I have any more time to do all of the various projects that I’d buy supplies for. But, hey, buying the supplies is the first step! Of course, judging by the supplies stacked in various spots in my basement, I’ve already taken too many first steps. . .

The Ghosts of Christmas Present(s) has appeared to me, beckoning me to the mall and to the online retailers, calling me to steal o’ deals and wonderfully chosen gifts. The list of things purchased is slowly beginning to gain ground against the list of gift recipients. So, if you think you’re on my present list, or think you ought to be, now’s a good time to both be nice to me, and drop hints!