Wednesday, December 31, 2008

I think I wanna be a chimp when I grow up...

But only if I can have a Segway!

Gosh! How I love the Chimp!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Here's the other thing I did instead of chores...

I hereby dubb her Gertie.

And if you look real close you can see the results of my indulging in my artistic nature.
On second thought, just look at the bunny!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Still Waters

"Loving life is easy when you are abroad. Where no one knows you and you hold your life in your hands all alone, you are more master of yourself than at any other time." Hannah Arendt

I came across this quote a few days ago and found it quite thought provoking.

Moving constantly as a child and young adult taught me to expect new people and places, new sights and sounds and of course the challenge of figuring out my new environment.
I do not have any lifelong friends, you know- that best friend from gradeschool or whenever that happens. I am not even that close to most of my siblings to be honest, though I do count my husband ,mother and a sister as my best friends.

I have learned to be funny and charming, instantly likeable to most of the world and at the same time to not invest too much in that world because I know that anything can and does happen.

I realized several years ago that this place was getting too familiar to me. The people I see out and about have become familiar faces and I'm not always sure if I like that. I think about what people will think if I laugh too loud or cuss too hard. I have learned that it is hard work to be a true friend and and because of that I need to be careful who I charm. I have lost the mastery of my self through this familiarity and have come to the conclusion that

Living deeply is hard.
I don't always like these still waters.
Somedays I wish I still wore my traveling shoes,
and could wade in the shallows
of this stream.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Wakie Wakie

I hate insomnia!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

A little background music helps...

I have lived and worked all over the U.S. and even halfway around the world as an ESL teacher in Northeast China. I've lived in big cities and podunk towns and many places in between. I was born in upstate New York but my parents are from the Deep South. My childhood was shaped by our constant moves with my Navy Dad, adrift in a sea of neighborhoods and schools. At one time I counted over 30 different houses we had lived in and I know I attended 19 schools in my 18 years of lower education. This constant upheaval was anchored by seasonal trips to visit various grandparents. At least those houses never changed, though the number of grandparents fluctuated as both of my parents worked their way through three marriages EACH.
I have stories you wouldn't believe, stories that would make you laugh, make you cry and some that would even make you cringe.
How about a funny one?
Now Grandaddy(my paternal grandfather) raised cattle in his retirement and had a rather large farm on which he did this. One section was called the Beasley Farm, I guess because he bought it from the Beasleys. This place had pastures, ponds, and a large pecan orchard-all of which were fenced off. Everything that is except the old homestead. Grandaddy, being a frugal man, saw no need to fence an area not often used for cattle grazing. However, being a frugal man, he saw no need to go through the trouble of occasionally mowing or bush hogging that old place since he had some perfectly good cows that would eat all the pesky brush growing up. A seeming conundrum wouldn't you think?
My Grandaddy, being the resourceful and frugal person he was, had a solution. Wait for it.
He had had many years in which to perfect his plan of attack. His cattle had been accustomed to the presence of electric fencing in their regular pastures. He was a firm believer in the use of BB guns to deter critters from trespassing in various locations on the farm. And slowly but surely over the years he had acquired many grandchildren, not to mention folding chairs.
So what was Grandaddy's plan?
Well first he strung one strand of electric fence across the Beasley homestead, bordering the dirt road. Not electrified mind you, just loosely stretched from one fence post to another at least 200 ft away.
Second he gathered up all of his folding chairs and set them up spaced evenly down the middle of the dirt road facing the new "fence".
Third, he gathered up all available grandchildren which at that time consisted of me and my five siblings ranging in age from about 14 on down to 8ish.
How does this plan come together?
We six kids were each given a BB gun and a small bucket of BBs and careful instructions on the proper usage of said gun in "The Art of Preventing Cows From Going Through the Fence" which can be summed up here by a simple "Shoot the cow in the butt if it touches the non-electrified single strand of fencing with any part of its body. Oh, and don't shoot each other."
My Grandaddy figured cows are so stupid they wouldn't know where the sting of the BB was coming from and assume it was the fence "biting" them.
So there we were, strung out like beads, sitting in our lawn chairs with guns in our laps and our only task to shoot cows butts- like Pavlov's bells, teaching cows just how far they could go in their task of clearing the Beasley place of unwanted growth.
Looking back on that long ago hot summer I remember how I hated sitting there with no shade, and the boredom of watching those cows- who it turns out learned pretty quick for being such dumb beasts. Even so, none of us used our BB gun inappropriately, on the cows or on each other. None of us abandoned our posts as the day dragged on and weariness set in.
I guess this story isn't a side splitter really, just a little picture of one or two days in my life that have taught me to be still, that a little sting now is better than getting hit by a truck later like you would if you don't learn your boundaries and that sometimes kids won't shoot their eye out when given a BB gun.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Day

Yes, you could call me lame for blogging on Christmas Day but I'll bet you are sitting there as I write, watching everyone playing with their new toys and wondering what's next. I figure while I am enjoying my new massage pillow which is f-bombing(thanks for an acceptable substituteTiff!)awesome I would tell you all about it.
First of all, when you use your phone as an appointment book turn off the reminder so it doesn't wake up the Baby at 7am.
Jump out of bed and stumble to the kitchen to finish making the gingerbread before everyone starts opening presents.
Try to get B out of bed at the ungodly hour of 7:30am.
Wonder what is taking the coffee so long.
Watch all the presents get opened and look at the clock.
It's only 8:30am
What now?
Eat delicious gingerbread, sausage links and drink more coffee.
Look on Facebook and wonder what the heck everyone else is doing since after all, I am there.
Realize that it is only 9:30am.
Wonder why the heck I got a craft project for Baby when I have the patience of whatever is opposite of a saint.
It's only 9:36am.
I think you can see where this is going.
I am not sure how I have filled the last 3 hours.
I am pretty sure drinking coffee was in there.
And now this.
And as excited and interested as you may be in what happens next I have to disappoint you.
FINALLY! It is time to go eat lunch at a friends.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Here is the little kitty that distracted me from the socks. I named her Amourette because she is a little love gift to me.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Well, the cleaning is not done, the wrapping is not done(ok-not started), the cooking is not done. And those pesky socks are not done either.
I am.
For the moment.
I am glad that we will be at home Christmas morning for sure but I must admit to being a little sad that we won't be going to Washington DC after all. My imagination had started its own flight of fancy and I was all prepared to follow when reality bopped me on the head.
Don't get me wrong, Reality is a friend of mine, but I gotta tell ya my opportunities to go with my imagination on an adventure are few and far between these days.
I'll get back in the holiday mood when I've plugged in the lights and had my Christmas cocoa.
Til then I believe I will savor a moment with Imagination and the possibilities ahead.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Sweetness is when Baby sneaks in your room and wiggles up on the bed and squirms her way across Big Daddy D to snuggle in beside you.
"uh Mommy?"sotto voice
"uh Mommy?"still sotto voice
"what Baby?"
"I need some pillow"
" here Baby" and slide some pillow her way.
She snuggles in still warm and soft from sleep and our feet tangle under the covers, our hair on the pillow.
"I love you Baby"
"I wuv you too Mommy."

Hilarious is when she has some pillow then turns her back to me and skootches away to settle in for extended snuggley cuddles with Big Daddy D, her first true love.
Maybe she'll start bugging the crap out of him all day since he's home for the holidays.

Monday, December 22, 2008

I am a flower with nothing interesting to say.
I haven't seen any cool things to share or thought of any scintillating ways to share the hohummness I am experiencing right now.
We found out yesterday that Christmas has been cancelled at Big Daddy D's family's place due to massive amounts of illness.
So now, here we sit, wondering what on earth we are going to do for the next 2 weeks with all this family time. In the past my Mom has come up over Christmas but she couldn't make it up here this year. My sister and her family took Amtrack to NYC for their Christmas.
I do like Christmas at home best and am really kind of glad that we will be here for that. But it's one day out of 16. So now we are thinking of going to Washington DC for a few days. I would love to be able to spend a few days by myself in the museums there. Dragging through on my own time, taking as long as I want at each exhibit, wallowing in the excited hush and emotion that grips me as I discover for myself the treasures of our past and my present.
I'm thinking that a crazy 4 yr old, semi-sulky 16 yr old and a hyperactive hubby might not want to experience our nation's capitol the way I would.
But it might be nice to try.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Kermit and Dorothy love me!

If any of you have ever wondered what is at the end of the rainbow, let me show you!

My House!

Is that the coolest thing or what? My heart was pounding by the time I finished taking the picture but I am so glad my neighbor kid scared the crap out of me when he came in the door(which was open-it's a balmy 65 degrees here) to share this beautiful sight!

ADD and me

I think I must have ADD or something. I said I was gonna finish knitting this pair of socks that I started back in the late fall of 2006. And I have worked on them. I got the heel turned and about half the instep. Then I got bored. I get bored a lot. I have a very hard time doing any project straight through. So here are the almost finished socks. As you can maybe see, there are a couple of hours of work left, less if I really focus. But I've made several pairs of socks, there is no challenge anymore and so I am not really interested any longer. Soooo, what do I do? Do I practice self control and get to work to get these done and over with?

Instead I spend who knows how much time cruising craft sites and Flickr pools and decide to make something else. So then I spend even more time looking for a free pattern because I'm frugal and shit (with everything but my time apparently) and I find this cute "little" bunny pattern. I honestly thought this would be about 4 inches tall. And take a couple of hours to finish. Nope, he's a rather huge 8 inches NOT including ears. And took the better part of a day-mostly because like I said earlier I think I have ADD and kept finding other stuff to do. I don't know what I did though since it sure wasn't laundry or making the bed. Which brings up another subject but I am trying to focus here! Stop distracting me with all your questions! LOL! So when I saw how big this bunny was turning out I decided he should be a present for Derek's 93+yr old grandmother who has Alzheimers and is now in a nursing home. I never knew this woman when she was well and therefor don't have the memory/affection base to truly, mmmmm, I can't really find the right words. I care about her and certainly wish she were better- on a care for your fellow man kind of way but I don't have a real personal connection with her and never really will. And I can't force myself to care more than I do and find it impossible to fake it or pretend- whatever- which can cause a bit of a strain in the family too as you can imagine though I do try practicing tact(difficult for me). So anyway, I started this bunny and it occured to me that since Baby was really digging this giant bunny that maybe Grandmother, who is on about the same level as Baby, might like the bright colors and something kinda soft to hold onto. So I crocheted it thinking of my wishes for her, to be happy, to be calm, to be pain free, to not be afraid and to be as kind as she is able to the people who care for her. So maybe I care more than I thought because now I'm crying. But I know that caring for someone, loving them even, is very different from liking them and maybe that is what I was talking about a moment ago.
Wow, that was a ramble through my mind. I'm ready to get out of those woods for now. I have miles to go before I sleep.
Without further ado......
The Bunny!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

So here's mine

Your result for Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz...

You Are a Marilyn!


You are a Marilyn -- "I am affectionate and skeptical."

Marilyns are responsible, trustworthy, and value loyalty to family, friends, groups, and causes. Their personalities range broadly from reserved and timid to outspoken and confrontative.

How to Get Along with Me
  • * Be direct and clear
  • * Listen to me carefully
  • * Don't judge me for my anxiety
  • * Work things through with me
  • * Reassure me that everything is OK between us
  • * Laugh and make jokes with me
  • * Gently push me toward new experiences
  • * Try not to overreact to my overreacting.

What I Like About Being a Marilyn
  • * being committed and faithful to family and friends
  • * being responsible and hardworking
  • * being compassionate toward others
  • * having intellect and wit
  • * being a nonconformist
  • * confronting danger bravely
  • * being direct and assertive

What's Hard About Being a Marilyn
  • * the constant push and pull involved in trying to make up my mind
  • * procrastinating because of fear of failure; having little confidence in myself
  • * fearing being abandoned or taken advantage of
  • * exhausting myself by worrying and scanning for danger
  • * wishing I had a rule book at work so I could do everything right
  • * being too critical of myself when I haven't lived up to my expectations

Marilyns as Children Often
  • * are friendly, likable, and dependable, and/or sarcastic, bossy, and stubborn
  • * are anxious and hypervigilant; anticipate danger
  • * form a team of "us against them" with a best friend or parent
  • * look to groups or authorities to protect them and/or question authority and rebel
  • * are neglected or abused, come from unpredictable or alcoholic families, and/or take on the fearfulness of an overly anxious parent

Marilyns as Parents
  • * are often loving, nurturing, and have a strong sense of duty
  • * are sometimes reluctant to give their children independence
  • * worry more than most that their children will get hurt
  • * sometimes have trouble saying no and setting boundaries

Take Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz

You show me yours and I'll show you mine!

Ok, now stop reading this and go take this quiz- even you guys-it will amaze and astound you! Please share your results!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I am sooo a giant!

It's official.
It is.
I am a Hobbit.
A tall, giant even, Hobbit (a full 5ft!)
Big Daddy D has pointed this out to me before.
I always denied it citing my aforementioned great height.
Now, however, I know it's true.
I am a Hobbit.
I just ate "second" breakfast at 9.
First breakfast was at 6:30.
I am thinking about 11sies.
And then lunch.
I better go glue some fake fur to my toesies!
And learn how to smoke a pipe I think.
Better go watch LOTR pronto.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Speaking of knitting...

So, here is Baby sporting a pair of overalls I knit for her when she was a newborn. Apparently kids grow a lot up before they grow out. She saw this in her newly visible closet and insisted upon wearing it. I think the pics are hilarious and now she is sleeping with these every night like a blankie. Kids!

So, without further ado, I present our Tree! Isn't it just lovely!

I have accumulated quite a collection of Dollar Tree ornaments and after Christmas sale lights over the years, perhaps too many according to Big Daddy D,and I absolutely love them! I know that perhaps for the environment we should get an artificial tree and use it for years and years, and we did, for years. Finally though, last year we broke down and bought a "live"tree and loved it. This year we downsized our tree to a more affordable 6 footer(notice the really tall spire the angel perches precariously upon)($20 at a hardware store)(the tree not the angel, she we picked out years ago at WalMart-since largely banned but I won't go there-with Maggie and we'll keep her forever) It finally feels like Christmas around here, and I am glad for it. Now to get on with everything else! And I don't mean decorating. Now that the tree is in place there is room in my brain for other pursuits, like finishing knitting a pair of socks that I started 2 years ago!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Birthdays and Christmas

Boy Howdy! I'm glad thats over.
You didn't know that we have 2 birthdays in December to celebrate before Christmas gets here? Well, now you do. Sometimes it is rather difficult to deal with and this year especially so. The past 2 years I have waited a little longer than most people to put up a tree so that Baby doesn't get confused about birthdays and Christmas and all that jazz though this year is the last that I'll worry about that. And the weekend I would normally start getting Christmas decorations out I decided to complete the overhaul of Baby's room. Then we decided to go to Big Daddy D's parents for the holiday and now I have no tree. I am kinda sad about it actually but not enough to put up a tree for 9 days and then take it down. I'd end up leaving the tree up til like March or something. I have done that. And even then I didn't so much take it down as we were moving and I gave it to a friend, decorations and all so that I wouldn't have to disassemble the darn thing and pack it up with all the other stuff. That is nothing compared to my Mom. One year she left her Christmas tree up and changed out the decorations for every holiday. UP TO THE FOLLOWING THANKSGIVING! Now that is funny. Anyway, I've done a little seasonal decorating but nothing specifically Christmas and it's almost enough.
I want a tree.
A beautiful tree covered with my favorite baubles and twinkling away. I want to smell it and smile every time I look at it and water it and talk to it (What, don't you tell your tree how nice it looks?) and, and....
That settles it, I am off to buy myself a Christmas tree!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Look what I can do!

So the job of Baby's room is complete! Organization has occurred! I still think there is way too much stuff, but she actually plays with everything that I left in here so thats something. I actually gathered up 4 big trash bags of stuff to donate to a local charity and 1 big bag of trash! This weeding out of her room was long overdue, obviously! I hope "Santa" doesn't bring her too much stuff for me to try to get crammed in here. Now to move on to B's room (she's gonna hate me!)

Monday, December 8, 2008

And if you were wondering

The mess has been diminished. (Takes a bow and urges B to the front) I did manage to clear out 3-yes count them-3 trashbags of stuff to donate and one of stuff to trash. Thanks largely to B who was able to follow direction as I became increasingly unable to move as the day progressed. She also offered invaluable disconnect services in the winnowing of treasure as she herself had gifted Baby with nothing and therefore had none of the emotional attatchment that I or Big Daddy D might have. Screw the grandparents. They don't live with this stuff.

And where is the tree? Only 16 days to Christmas and NO tree!

No presents wrapped as was brought to my attention earlier today.


I did however manage to make delicious broiled salmon and recreate another favorite dish from China- "beans and bacon" as it was called on the chinglish menu. Very misleading as the ingredients consist of snow peas, a famous chinese ham similar to "country ham" here in the States and cornstarch, broth and a smidge of soy sauce. Too bad Big daddy D had a Rotary dinner to attend and missed it! Oh well. He'll get some tomorrow in his lunch.
I have some back problems. Lower back to be exact. Many years ago I pulled/tore some muscles in my lower back. There were conflicting opinions about that at the time with the only agreement being given lots of pain medication and rest followed by sit-ups when I felt better. No, I didn't have insurance at the time so yes, my medical care was minimal. The lasting legacy of this long ago trauma(incurred while sorting laundry of all things) is near constant low level pain with occasional extremely painful flare-ups that literally incapacitate me. Over the years I have sought out various remedies/treatments for this ranging from aspirin and liquid pain relief(not together of course!), gym memberships and yoga, to x-rays and chiropractic. Aspirin helps a little of course but you can only take so much. Liquid pain relief- while it can be fun- is never the way to treat what ails you. Gym memberships led to more back pain and well, yoga can be a little too- umm-philosophical for me. X-rays proved that I had no fractures, indications of arthiritis, or ruptered discs. Chiropractic had some scary pops, a few nice massages and invitations to try this supplement and that meal replacement plan blah, blah, blah. Once again the critics can only agree that I have an exagerated curveature in my lower spine that will never change and should work on strengthening my core, oh and those large breasts don't help. Well, my back has always had that deep curve (I will never forget the dressmaker of one bridesmaid dress telling me I had a back more swayed than a camels!) and I can only thank my maternal predecessors for the uh hm "mongo boobs" and they're not going anywhere. The unfortunate asect of this is that I know what I need to do, but none of the aforementioned medical professionals have had much of a clue about how I can strengthen my core without hurting myself more- though all have been interested in offering me continued care in the pain management area of this. I don't want pain management. I want to be able to sit down without hurting, bend over to tie my shoes and load the dishwasher like a normal person. I don't want to be managed, I want to be treated effectively and proactively. Is that too much to ask?
My back hurts (T_T)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Making room for Christmas

Look at this mess! How does an almost 4yr old acquire 80 sq ft of toys in those few years? Well, let me tell you. You take three over-indulgent grandparents, add one spoil-her-rotten Daddy, and one Mommy who can't resist a bargian. Stir it all together with a generous helping of "I can't get rid of this!"(mostly me btw) and after 4 years you get this disaster! Now I need to tell you that everything is out like this because I decided to clear out a lot of it and make way for the new stuff heading in from her birthday and Christmas and to better organize what was left. And I thought putting it all in the middle of the floor would make it easier. WRONG! BAD IDEA! I had no idea what I was up against. I am stumped. I look at this and my brain just stutters to a stop. AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
Now to suck it up, get in my hazmat suit and wade back into the fray.
Deep breath..................................

Thursday, December 4, 2008

I am so proud of myself!

It is official. I am a full 20lbs lighter than I was 6 months ago. WoooHooo!
It all started with a pretty bad case of food poisoning.
I must confess that I was a food sample freak. If it was out there and free I took a bite-after confirming no msg of course(migraines suck!). For years I partook with impunity.
Then the "freshly prepared" chicken salad came along. It tasted very good I must say.
It did not taste good less than 6 hours later.
I could not eat for 5 days. Just looking at food could send me hurking to the bathroom.
Don't worry I kept hydrated but by the time I felt better I had lost 9lbs and the urge to overeat as well. By the way I did gain back most of those 9lbs. Starvation is no way to "lose" weight and I am not advocating it in any way. Ask anyone that knows me, I eat, all the time. I love food. Bacon, butter and chips are eagerly consumed by me. I simply reconnected with my actual physical appetite, which I had lost touch with in the fog that surrounds grief. Over time that neglect had added about 27 lbs to my frame.
If you do the math you will realise that I have averaged losing about a pound or less each week. Slow and steady wins the race. It also keeps you from developing poor eating habits or heaven forbid eating disorders. Really what ended up happening is this: I ate a little slower so that my tastebuds and stomach stayed on the same page and quit eating when my stomach was full. If something didn't hit the spot or taste very good I didn't eat it. Exceptions were made for politeness sake, but only just enough to not be rude. As the weight began to come off, I found I had more energy and the desire to be more active. I'm not talking going to the gym or walking for miles with weights in my hands. I mean just doing more stuff. Going to the store more, playing with the dog more, going to the park with Baby more, just moving around the house and in my life more. And here I am 6 months later, healthier and happier with nothing more complicated done than listening to my body and following its dictates. All of which I am still doing, gladly.
Now, don't get me wrong. Willpower is a crucial ingredient. The habits that I fell into through grief, pain, and a bit of laziness were difficult to overcome. But the rewards are incredibly worth it. I don't have any desire to look half starved for fashions sake and I doubt I will ever have my highschool figure again- though I am not far from it.
I think I am most glad that this whole process has taken me on a journey into myself, the self that I had been carefully burying without even realising it and that this slow excavation of me is revealing a person I can be proud of.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Deer and laundry

You read that right. Deer and laundry. I was looking on facebook a while ago and discovered a very disturbing trend. I have laundry issues. Now, I know already that laundry is not my favorite household chore. I put it off as long as possible and always have. That is not the issue though. What is, is that I must really think that everyone wants to know about my dirty laundry. Nearly every status update has the word laundry in it. Why is that? What do you or the rest of the world care about my whites and towels? Now if I had some real dirty laundry- that would be interesting. People might actually want to know that. If I dug deep enough I know I know I could come up with something. But wait. I do have something for you who are interested in the darker side of my life. We eat deer, venison, Bambi-we do. And we love it. It tastes good. And it's cheap because we get it from a family member who hunts. He's gonna shoot a wild boar for us if he sees one(we'll pay for the processing of course). My mouth waters at the thought. Tonight we are having stuffed bell peppers made with ground deer. It's going to be good. Delicious even. So don't hate me because I'm beautiful, hate me because I am a proponent of managing and using our natural resources wisely. By the way I do not agree with the cutting down of old growth forests or clearcutting, leasing national forests to loggers or the eradication of the North American Grey Wolf.
So there. I have more but I need to get off my soapbox and start cooking!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

and now Chuck

I like Chuck Norris facts. But Big Daddy D loves them the way I love The Chimp. He has been reading them to me for the past hour and I swear I am about to wet myself. Where do the proverbial they come up with these things? Nuns giving birth to the 1972 Dolphins football team, a knife fight and the knife lost, office supplies , the list goes on. I love to laugh. And laugh I have tonight. Deep in the belly laughter, the kind of laughter that shakes up all the sad and bad and breaks it up and chases it out. There he goes again. Cracking open chickens for eggs. Some of that just makes ya roll.
Whew, I needed that.
Baby and I have just had a day. A DAY. A day that makes me wonder what was I thinking deciding to be a stay at home mom. Yes, I do know how to take a shower by myself- I have been doing it lo these many years and no, no matter how loud you knock on the door I don't need a 3yr olds supervision. As hard as you worked making it I do not want any of your spit soup and no, I do not want to see another bugger-DON'T EAT IT! We don't eat candy for breakfast and we never have, stop looking at me that way. Just because you know how to operate the dvd player does not mean you can watch Tinkerbell 5 times in a row. Eat your lunch. No, I mean eat it. NO, eat it don't play with it. Robot Roooobot(r r r r noooobot)Don't feed the dog. Put you shirt back on, its freezing. Oh, your Jungle Evie, aren't you cold? No you can't go outside Jungle Evie, put your cloths back on. Good. She's not broken, you colored her with a red marker. I can't, permanent marker doesn't come off. You'll just have to love her the way she is. Daddy's at work. Mermaid juice? Say thank you to the mermaid in the refridgerator? Where is your father?
I need a drink.
And a good laugh.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Chimp

You have noticed by now the "Chimp-o-matic" . This nifty little gadget almost makes everything okay. I just had a moment of panic when it looked like it wasn't working. I need the Chimp. I only hope that even when Bush is outta there that the Chimp will go on, I mean he's not gonna quit talking is he? I admit I am a Chimpoholic. I'm like Christopher Walken and the cow bells for Pete's sake, or maybe that kid with the cereal-gotta have my Chimp. I sign on just to read it, I refresh the page every 5 seconds, I mean hit me again already. Where else can I get such sublime word usage and and impeccable flubbery. Uh-oh, maybe I should cut back on my drug. I think its catching! I could have a real problematically serious situation arousing, well, what I mean to say is, uh...... arising. Oh noooo..........I love the Chimp!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!

So, Baby wants to "borrow" a slice of bread, have a cookie or some blueberry pie. The kitchen is halfway cleaned up and B needs a ride home from her weekend get-a-way and Ashton Kutcher has a short neck. I apparently have no life because I have seen nearly 200 movies on someones list and I haven't done any laundry. And now I can add another movie to my list because TinkerBell is coming on and we will be watching that. While I don't fold laundry or wash dishes or straighten up. Not cause I'm a lazy bum, this time my back started spasming when I was loading the dishwasher and I decided to quit while I was ahead and be able to move on Monday. And maybe get back to work. We'll see!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Don't be afraid- it's easy really

Candy Sweet Potatoes
1 lb sweet potatoes,scrubbed peeled and cut into 2" chunks
vegetable oil for frying
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup
1 1/2 tsp soy sauce

Timing is everything here.
Heat oil to 350 degrees and start frying potatoes. Immediately start cooking your sugar syrup in a medium size pot to about 300 degrees(this can take 20 minutes +/- and seems like it will never happen and then you go from 280 degrees to burnt in a blink so use a candy thermometer and then look at it often) stirring occasionally.
Hopefully your potatoes will be ready when the syrup is done because the syrup is a one off, it won't wait on the potatoes- which by this time should be golden brown and puffed. Remove potatoes from the oil and drain on paper towels. If your syrup isn't ready- KEEP THE OIL HOT- and briefly reintroduce the potatoes before stirring them into the syrup which you will have just removed from the heat. Quickly stir them to coat and pour them onto a plate that you have lightly greased and seperate the chunks some. These are best served hot along side a small bowl of cold water into which you dip your hot sugar potato to make it "crack" before you bite into it-and cool it off a bit too of course. Or just let them cool off a bit on their own-they will still have the crunch though they will have hardened together and be harder to seperate.
This dish is one we ate often the year we were in China. We ate it "family style" with chopsticks and that's the way we like it best but of course you can do whatever you like at your house.

Friday, November 28, 2008


I wrote this earlier in the day and saved it without posting. I just reread it and decided to post it unchanged. It is a great picture to me(since I know how my mind works) of how a snarky for no reason thought, idea, or day segues into happiness and jollity and explains- at least for me- why most nights I go to bed happy.
Yeah, I'm thankful that it's over and that the in-laws brought plenty of wine. Everything was delicious and on time except the turkey. It is still delicious btw but I have discovered that I really do not like the convection feature of my bottom oven. Sure it roasted evenly but my small turkey(only 12lbs), brined and butterflied took about 45 minutes longer to cook than expected. That's a long time plus 20 minutes resting, for everything else to hold. So we ate all the fixin's then turkey and then pie. It worked out just fine but I really hate it when something like that happens. So I'll just have to go get another turkey and repeat the process with traditional baking feature to see what happened. We like turkey enough that it won't be a problem. I must say that brining the turkey overnight really improved the moisture/flavor of the breast meat. I mean the juices were coming out of the meat like they do with a super juicy steak and it was so tender you could just about cut it with a glance. And Derek and I were able to share for the first time one of our favorite dishes from China-candied sweet potatoes. Now I know you think you know about this but those ingenious Orientals have upped the ante on us poor Yanks. These sweet potatoes are cut into bite-size chunks that are deep fried to crispy golden perfection and then........dipped in a sugar syrup at hard crack stage so that you are basically eating something like a candy apple-not caramel mind you-crunching through that hard sugar crust into tender sweet potato still hot from the frying is a delight for the senses. I should add that this particular treat is not for the dentally challenged as biting into it can sometimes result in that "jolly rancher"-like fusion of molars that strikes fear in the heart of kids everywhere. The sweet was balanced by a delicious baked polenta chock full of caramelized onions that managed to be super crunchy(like fried cornbread for those of you familiar with that deep south delight) and remain creamy and delicious in the middle(like cheese grits ya'll!), add roasted red radishes-yes radishes, try it you'll love it- and brussel sprouts with fried out country ham chips and golden raisins, a super simple homemade cranberry sauce and turkey gravy and you have a well balanced meal in every way. Flavors, colors, textures, smells all complemented each other so well that the extra wait time for the turkey was hardley noticed(except by me of course). And lets not even go into the pies. Ok Ok, I'll tell you about the pies. Briana made her now famous pie, this year peach flavor and boy is it good, the ubiquitous pumpkin pie showed its scrumptious face- which was promptly eaten with cool-whip of course- though I am most thrilled with the pecan pie. Finally, after years of tinkering and some really good pies I have discovered, or maybe simply reinvented, the most wonderful of pecan pies and the true secret to pecan goodness and I am willing to share. Maybe. If you say please.

So now you know- if you didn't before- that my greatest pleasure in Thanksgiving is cooking. Some of the eating and a lot of the visiting but mostly the cooking. Having a dish come out better than ever and introducing new and delicious foods to friends and family, seeing the suprise and delight on their faces with that first tentative bite is what I am most thankful for.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Getting started

Cranberry sauce done, tea eggs done, pumkin pie done, pecan pie done, stuffed dates done, ambrosia done, herbed yogurt cheese done. Still need to get the onions caramelized, the turkey in the brine, and brussel sprouts and radishes cut and quartered, and a quick trip to the grocery for cool whip(how did I forget that?) and parmesan cheese and I'll be done for today, with very little to do tomorrow. Well, except for the housecleaning but I have people for that. Big Daddy D and B to be exact. I love Thanksgiving and I really wish my sister could have made it up. She and her family (of course they're her family, what-would she be with someone else's family? Sometimes the things we say don't make any sense ya know?) live in So. Florida and that's a long drive/expensive flight and it just didn't happen. Maybe they'll make it up to play in the snow at Christmas!

Monday, November 24, 2008

On a lighter note...

I have planned out my Thanksgiving dinner, obsessively made lists, modified recipes, written more lists, searched my pantry, made more lists, reread recipes, wrote another list, clipped coupons, wrote another list, read my lists and compiled the "master List". Let's just say I have some compulsion issues that are satisfied by all this list making. So......I just did my shopping for Thanksgiving and the following week and the grand total was, wait for it-$102!!!! Can you believe it? I couldn't. Occasional Compulsive Behavior can payoff! I am pleased as punch with myself and can't wait to get started on my timeline list! You know that's the one so you know when to start cooking everything so it's all ready at the same time....You guys do that right?
When you have a big company meal to prepare, you do that don't you?
Tell me you do that!
Just so you know I am only like this on special occasions-hence "Occasional Compulsive Behavior" moniker. So, I will be preparing 10 dishes, 5 of which I have never made before. I can do it, I have before , last year I had a 16 item menu that I prepared in someone elses kitchen some from recipes I had not even seen before.
Yeah, you read that right. 16.
And everything-I mean everything- was ready and on the table at 5. There's a story there but names would have to be changed including my own and well...I'll do my best to keep the peace. Anyway, you might think that's bragging and maybe it is a little but mostly it is venting and angst because though I have been preparing Thanksgiving meals or portions of them for 20+ years(I have been cooking full meals for a family of 8, including menu planning since I was 10, and started "helping when I was about 8) This will be only the second time that I will be preparing a Thanksgiving meal with my own menu, with my own stuff, in my own kitchen, and serving it when I want to. Finally! You will definitely think I am crazy now, but I only wish more people were coming to share my absolute favorite cooking holiday with me and my family. Wanna come?


Whoa! That smarted. Let me explain succintly about yesterday. 5 years less 7 weeks ago my third child, Maggie, died three days after her third birthday. Croup. No vaccine or antibiotic for it. We did take her to the doctor. He assured us that 99.99% of children survive and that we were doing everything right in taking care of her. That night she quit breathing. We were right there, did infant CPR and 911 responded within 12 minutes. They were able to resuscitate her body but she, our Maggie, was gone.

We found out the hard way not to count on percentages, to live every day as if it is your last and to let go so that you can go on.

So yesterday I was basking on the proverbial beach, soaking up the rays and enjoying the moment, when suddenly a tidal wave of grief broke over me.
It happens.
I just hold my breath, look for daylight and start swimming up.
I refuse to drown in grief, that does no honor to my Love.
I head for shore because I can't swim in grief, it does no honor to my Loves.
I walk in sunlight.
I love and laugh.
I live to honor my Loves.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

mice and men

We are sitting here, snuggling, watching "the Nutcracker". The Baby(the 3yr soon to be 4 but that takes too long to type so I hereby dub her The Baby, or Baby for short) and I. Not Big Daddy cause he's out with a friend watching "Quantum of Solace", and not with the B(the almost 16yr old) cause she is now playing her new Pokemon Emerald game. What's really great about this (and it is great!) is that we are watching the Pacific Northwest Ballet's production/movie with the sets done by Maurice Sendak of "Where the Wild Things Are" fame. It is stunning and intense-fraught with tension and the thrill of a girl on the cusp of young womanhood caught in a dream with only the vaguest ideas and notions of what lies ahead. Definitely not Disney or Barbie or some other diluted cartoon. Baby is watching, enthralled by the dancing, the costumes, the sets and maybe even the music. B is sneaking glances when whe thinks I am not looking, and together we watch as Clara defeats the Mouse King and takes off with the Nutcracker Prince to a magical land full of Delights. We(B and I) were lucky enough to get a VHS copy of this 14 years ago, second hand as the movie was filmed in 1985 I believe. She and I watched this movie often, sometimes 2 or 3 times in a row, usually with her snuggled in her "nest" as she liked to call my lap. Whoa!!! Baby and I just had an unpleasant moment when she put her head in my face and we had to decide who went where. But that's real life, not the soft fuzzy pink picture I am trying to paint here. Anyway, there is something wonderful about sharing this movie, this experience with both my girls, seeing their differences and their similarities. For example, Baby here does not want to sit in my lap, only beside me and she sure as heck has no stillness in her- unlike B who, like, me can sit for hours hardly moving except to go to the bathroom. And to be able to talk with B about her thoughts and feelings watching this movie now is wonderful, and looking forward to talking with Baby in 12 years about these very moments helps me keep on trucking along. Btw we seem to have embarked on a mini marathon of The Nutcracker since Fantasia has found its way into the player. B and I have watched this movie together many times during the past 14 years as well and had the pleasure of sharing this movie with our Maggie,now gone. Oh how I long for Maggie and ache to have her in my lap and....but more on that another day. I am suddenly a raw open wound and need a cuddle with Baby who is finally still and warm and sweet at my side.

Friday, November 21, 2008

I Love...

  1. Bacon!
  2. Red Hair!
  3. Snow Days!
  4. Autumn Leaves!
  5. Recipes!
  6. Size 6 Jeans!
  7. 34H Bras!
  8. Handknitted Slippers!
  9. Making My Chibi Onis!
  10. Homemade Truffles!
  11. Trying Every Mattress at the Store!
  12. Red Nail Polish!
  13. My Toes!
  14. Peep and the Big Wide World!
  15. Claymation!
  16. Girly Giggles!
  17. Laughing During Sex!
  18. Bologna Sandwiches with Mayo!
  19. Natural Opals!
  20. Big Daddy D!
  21. My Girls!
  22. Opal(My Shmoopsie)
  23. Wood Fires!
  24. Eating the Last Tomato!
  25. Peaches!
  26. Charlie & Lola!
  27. My Living Room Wall Color!
  28. Thrift Stores!
  29. Myself!
  30. Ballet! (Did You Think I Forgot?)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Gigolo-Meter: What're You Worth in Bed?

Gigolo-Meter: What're You Worth in Bed?

Saw this on a blog I unofficially follow and thought it was funny. Wait til Big Daddy D gets the bill! $1172 per hour, average 15 hrs per month for 10 years thats uhhh, $2,109,600! Maybe homemaker isn't my calling after all! Not that I ever thought it was, it's just what I do baby, it's just what I do.


I was getting worried for a minute there! I missed 2-count them-2 ballet classes and was thinking that maybe subconsciously I was bored or didn't love ballet as much as I thought I did(you know that circuitous logic that takes over rational thought at 4am!). As a kinda grown up person and a mom to boot, I have gotten used to plugging on and trudging through and all that jazz no matter how I actually feel and honestly, most of the stuff I do is horrid chore type crap that I hate and never feel like doing anyway, so when I didn't feel like going to ballet I assumed it(ballet) had been relegated to chore or- GASP-exercise level and I couldn't believe I had tricked myself so thoroughly that I(who have major schedule commitment issues)would sign up for not one, but two ballet classes per week! Sooo, anyway, determined to keep on keeping on but mostly not have to tell everyone that I was wrong about loving ballet or become a quitter, I set my alarm for 7:15 am so as not to miss yet another class. Am I ever glad I set that clock! My class was awesome, I felt so good and less silly ostrich in tutu(just watch Disney's first Fantasia to get my mental picture)than I ever have to date and had so much fun that I didn't want to stop! I just wanted to do ballet all day, I was sad to have to leave and I can't wait for my next class! What does it all mean you ask? What's the moral of this story? Did I have a semi psycho moment brought on by insomnia or what? As whats his face used to say "And now for the rest of the story". Remember that I was stricken recently with an evil stomach bug and a not so evil but well thrown lipstick case? Well, as it so happens, when you're sick and mildly concussed you actually don't want to do anything-even those things you really truly love to do- like cook or have sex or especially BALLET! I hate being sick. Well, sometimes being sick is good cause then someone else will clean the toilets. Okay okay! That never happens, but I don't feel so bad about not getting those toilets clean when I am under the weather. Back to ballet. I love ballet. I love that it is just for me. Let's face it, cooking is about fixing delicious food and getting a thrill from other peoples enjoyment and, well, sex- as much as I love that particular activity-is generally a 2 person party. I absolutely love ballet, and I am so glad that I have something that I love that is mine! So whew! I DO LOVE BALLET!

On a completely different note, as you might or might not know the 3yr old was a baby Munchkin in the ballet school's very professional production of Dorothy's Adventures in Oz and just now decided to paint herself with green toothpaste and become the "evil witch". What will she think of next?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

every day?

Did I say every day? I of course meant when I can get to it -which is apparently less than I thought. I have decided, though, that working with kids requires a brand of crazy that I just don't have. This is a good thing because if I had "it" I would have more sick days like the last three after I helped watch the little turds. They weren't turds- they were good actually- but one of them was secretly spreading stomach bugs all around and I was lucky enough to get a few! Top that off with the 3year old I call my own pegging me right between the eyes with her rather large, very hard plastic lipgloss case(think deck of cards size people) and giving me a goose egg, killer headache and maybe a concussion and you have the picture of my lovely weekend. In Big Daddy D's favor he immediately jumped to my rescue and visited retribution on my attacker- in her defense she apparently thought she and I were playing the game where we say "hey you! throw me that remote!" (or in her case lipgloss) and didn't know that both people should know what the heck is going on! D later said she had great technique, excellent form really and that she had an instinctual knowledge of how to put as much force in her throw as possible. I am still not impressed and have since explained to her the importance of making sure everyone is on the same page with gameplaying . Maybe it worked 'cause she hasn't tagged me since!

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Kids! Why do we have these again? I mean I like it when they enjoy the food I prepare and do all those niggly chores I don't want to do but then I have to turn around and pick 'em up from club, take them karate, dance, rehearsals, performances and indoor play facilities when it's raining. What about me? Who is gonna cart me around to all my fun stuff-oh wait! I don't have time for fun stuff(or the $$ either) cause it's all spent on them. I spend more time than I should asking myself these questions and then this happens blowing my annoyances out of the water and I find myself falling in love with my kids again!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


A venue for me! My story, my way, everyday! I just can't wait to learn to type so I can really bang this out. Happy reading!