Monday, October 31, 2011

Peanuts In A Jar

I buy a jar of lightly salted, dry roasted peanuts every time we do our big grocery shopping trip. It roughly works out to a jar every two weeks. I also buy some lightly salted cashews, plain almonds and if I'm feeling saucy, a jar of salted out the yin yang sunflower seeds.

But peanuts are by far the favorite go to snack of everyone in the family. No peanut allergies for us!

Last shopping trip, my husband was Horrified (with a capitol H) to see the glass jar of peanuts was now a plastic jar of peanuts. He ranted and raved, talking about if beer came in plastic bottles and how "They" tried that and people didn't like it because the beer just didn't taste right...

I finally said, "Alright, Old Man, that's enough ranting for one day. Save some for tomorrow," which of course earned me a look of exasperation and head shaking. The peanuts in the plastic jar are ruined, and that is the end of that. I did my own head shaking, because glass or plastic, who cares? It's the same exact brand, same exact lightly salted goodness, the same exact thing.

My son and his friends were also Horrified by the plastic bottle and when the old jar was empty, they emptied the plastic bottle peanuts into the empty glass jar and tossed the offending container in the recycling.

I really wish they hadn't done that.

Because my husband is right. Gasp! I know, but it's true. The peanuts that have been in the plastic bottle just don't taste right. They taste like, well, like plastic. So much so that if I had the original plastic bottle, I'd call the customer service number to say, "Hey, Mr Peanut, your peanuts in the plastic jar do not taste good. They taste bad. Please send me a coupon."

I will of course, use the coupon to buy more peanuts. Maybe something in a can if I can't get a glass jar.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Biscuits And Gravy

Sausage and I have a complicated relationship. I love bacon and sausage is so not bacon. Sausage is ground up whatevers, spiced up and rolled into a casing. Bacon is just a slap of fatty meat fried up to perfection.

I'd never tried biscuits with sausage gravy until I was a married woman, and my mother in law made it for us. I wasn't too sure I'd like it. Sausage in a cream gravy? No thanks. But I wasn't raised on church potlucks for nothing! I know how to take things you think you won't like and eat them even if it turns out you were right and you really don't like it.

Turned out, I did like biscuits and gravy. A lot! I never made it myself, though, because my mother in law knocks it out of the park and I have a less than stellar history with gravy making.

This year my in-laws moved out of the country. We miss them quite a bit, and never more so than yesterday. My husband woke up and I said, "Happy Birthday!" because he is finally the same age as me, and he grinned. After a moment he said, "I miss my Mom. Especially on my birthday."

I know. Usually we'd be heading out to their place for some fantastic biscuits and gravy and some good times with lots of laughter. And as a mom, I know. I don't think the age of my son will ever change how I feel on his birthday!

So I asked my son how he made biscuits and gravy (because he is that kind of adventurous cook, he'll make anything when the mood strikes and the mood has struck him for biscuits and gravy) and I made biscuits and gravy for my husband on his birthday.

It turned out great! In my opinion, not as great as my mother in laws, but it was pretty darn good. The boys scrapped the pan clean and only a half biscuit remained. I call that a success.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Hand Towel Troubles

Over the last 18 plus years of marriage, my over abundance of newlywed towels has dwindled to the dregs. I have heard tales of people who get a new towel every morning to use after bathing. If we tried to do that, I'd be washing towels every two days, and on that second day, everyone would have to use a towel that is frayed, ripped, threadbare, or a combination of all three.

We might even be reduced to using the "dog" towels.

I don't have a plethora of towels, that's for sure, but I have enough.

But I have discovered the bathroom hand towels are being used for things that I will not name out loud, but suffice to say, I would not ever, ever, EVER use those towels on my hands again. No amount of hot water washing with a dash of bleach would ever make those towels usable again in my opinion. It's bad enough that I am aware of all the studies that let us know what sprays out of the toilet when you flush, and since our bathroom is the size of a closet, everything is contaminated by that spray.

I choose not to think of that.

But once I knew my hand towel was being actively used for other things, I bought two new ones. I didn't buy lovely ones, I shopped the clearance, and I bought a color that we do not own already. I held up the two new brown towels to each member of my family and said, "These two brown towels are to be used for drying hands. I never want to see them anywhere but on the shelf waiting to be hung, or hanging on the hand towel rack."

I very clearly stated no standing on them after a shower, no using them to mop up an overflowing toilet, no wiping up any kind of spill what so ever.

Yesterday when I went to take the old towel off the rack and hang the new one, there was no new one. I knew without a doubt it was upstairs, and so it was, being used to clean up water.

"Just water," my son said. "No big deal."

This is why I can't have nice things. It's only water this time, next time it could be dog pee. Folks, when visiting my house, you might be better off just drying your hands on your jeans. Sorry!

Friday, October 28, 2011

To The Guy Who Disrespects Waffles

I've said it before and I'll probably say it lots more: I love waffles. I love watching butter melt into the perfect square divets, I love swirling syrup onto those golden lovelies, and the first bite, OMG. So good!

This morning after my husband and I returned from an hour long dog walking adventure, he suggested that waffles would make a lovely late morning breakfast. You don't have to twist my arm, I agree!

The kids and their friends that slept over were still sleeping (might have something to do with staying up till 3am) and it was just the two of us and three dogs who might have a love of waffles that rivals my own.

My husband brought out the first four squares, two for each, and I slathered the butter on, and drizzled the syrup and felt like throwing up a little when my husband went for the molasses.

Yes. Molasses on his waffles.

I was thankful I had finished eating before he got out the cinnamon sugar.

There is something so disrespectful about molasses and cinnamon sugar put on waffles. Maybe a little strawberry jam, but molasses and cinnamon sugar? No. Not cool.

However, to the same guy who is rude to waffles, I thank you. You made delicious waffles, and even if your choice of toppings is beyond my taste, I am thankful you made waffles in the first place! It was not a cold cereal kind of morning.

It was a waffle kind of morning, obviously!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

What Tennis Shoes Mean To My Dogs

Tying on my tennis shoes sends my three darling dogs into a frenzy of acrobatic leaps and spins. Every time. They are Pavlov's Dog in this: my tennis shoes equal a walk. It's not just my tennis shoes. It's my exercise pants too. And holy smokes, the crazy frenzy they get into if I put on my sweatshirt.

It's my fault. Every morning this summer I would change out of my pajamas and put on my yoga pants, my work out shirt, my tennis shoes and the four of us would venture out into the lovely early morning light and walk. So much of a routine, now the girls expect it will happen.

But with the season changes, the mornings are too dark for me to walk (there is something about early morning dark that freaks me out, while evening dark is totally cool). The girls have learned that I could walk them any time, and so they are on alert at all times. If I change into my comfy/exercise pants, if I put on my tennis shoes, if I slip into my sweatshirt, the girls think they are walking.

Sadly, with the season changing, sometimes me wearing a sweatshirt just means I am cold. And flip flops are no longer appropriate to wear so my faithful tennis shoes are the go to footwear option. And, well, I'd have thought my dogs would have learned by now that if I am hanging out at home, I am wearing my comfy pants....regardless of my plans to exercise or lie on the couch eating bon-bons.

Sometimes I wonder if they are using some sort of psychology on me. Sometimes, more often than I care to admit, I don't want to walk them. Sometimes I am feeling lazy and am looking for any excuse to not walk. But when I see how excited my dogs are, I feel so guilty for disappointing them, I usually gather up my gumption and we walk.

They are pretty smart dogs. It is entirely possibly they are using guilt to get me out there walking.

I'm okay with that. After all, I can lie on the couch and eat bon-bons after we get back. It's a win win situation!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A True Bookworm

I remember clearly the first book I read on my own. I was in first grade and as I sat in the backseat of the family car with my sisters, I was holding a thin book, looking at the pictures. I realized the words were just as interesting.

From that moment on, I have read. I've read and read and read. I have amassed a library collection that overflowed the shelves I owned, and I've done several purges through the years, trying to keep my books under control. If I finish a book and know I will never read it again, it can't stay on my shelf. I have had to be tough on myself in regards to book ownership because I have never been able to pass by a good looking book especially if it's priced right.

I always look over the Friends of the Library book sale and I could stand in the thrift store book section for far longer than my kids will tolerate.

But what makes me a true bookworm is that I will be late for work due to the fact that I read every morning. It's not a good start to my day unless, after my morning exercise, I get a cup of coffee and settle down with my current read.

And if I am so close to the end that I have to finish it with no regard to time? Well, so be it.

Bookworms tend to never be on time, don't you know? Or at least, this bookworm is. The call of the book I am reading is stronger than the call to be responsible! Dishes and dinner and work can all wait a little bit longer. I've only got 7 pages left!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Good Advice From Thumper's Mum

While Bambi is one of my least favorite movies (only outranked by ET and Pinocchio), it did give mothers around the world some of the best words of advice ever.

"If you can't say something nice, don't say nothing at all."

I have been guilty of saying this to my own children. It's so useful and true. If all that is coming out of your mouth is complaints and meanness, maybe try a turn at being silent. I know for sure, your silence would go a long way to making me feel better!

Lately it has struck me that I should not just dole out that advice, but I should take it too. If I can't say something nice, I should zip my lips.

Some days, that is shockingly hard and the zipper to my mouth doesn't work and before I know it, I've spent a huge portion of my lunch hour complaining and fussing. I do believe that sometimes you've just got to let off steam and let your complaints raise the rafters, but I realized upon closer introspection, that I was letting off steam all the time.

How rude of me! Especially if I complain about people who are spending all their time complaining! Pot and Kettle, I believe you two know each other.

I think I've fixed my zipper and have been trying so much harder to live by the advice I gave my kids. If I can't say anything nice, hmmph muhmp mmhph.

See? My lip zipper is working.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Chronicles Of A Sporadic Bread Baker

Years and years ago, when our first child was still a baby, and I was a young housewife with time on my hands and limited TV channels to surf, I would bake bread. I did not make boring loafs of white bread for sandwiches. I made french bread and dinner rolls and soft pretzels.

And I remember thinking at the time that this bread making thing wasn't so hard.

Then we moved back to our hometown, I was pregnant with our second child, living in a 800 square foot rental house with the tiniest room being the kitchen. Even if I hadn't been exhausted, there wasn't counter space to really knead a ball of dough. And if I'm being very honest, the kitchen was always a little skeevy, no matter how much sanitizing I did, and I really didn't want to roll food around on the counter.

Bread making fell to the wayside as my time became consumed with two kids and being a part time single mom due to my husbands job and owning a home of our own and throw in two turtles as "easy" pets and I never missed not making bread.

Until recently. I was cleaning out my baking cupboard and am ashamed to say I found packages of yeast that had an expiration date from 5 years ago. I wondered why I had purchased it, then wondered why I had never used it, and that led to the next time I was at the store I tossed a new package of yeast into the cart.

I had vague plans to make french bread when I made homemade spaghetti sauce on a Sunday afternoon, but my spaghetti making plans kept getting off track and weeks passed by, until yesterday arrived and called out to me that it was the perfect day to make spaghetti. And french bread.

I have never had a ball of dough rise so beautifully, nor the loafs look so darling with the slits in their top crust and cornmeal dusting their bottom crust. And the taste.....OMG. Heavenly. Smeared with a pat of butter or scooping up a bit of sauce, the bread was so much better than anything I could have bought at the store.

I'm not saying I'm going to bake bread every weekend, but I am positive I won't let 14 years go by again without breaking open the yeast and baking up some to die for bread!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Parenting Insight No-One Ever Told Me

With the birth of my first child, I had some pretty serious worries. Was he eating enough? Was he pooping enough? Should I trim his fingernails with baby clippers or just use my teeth? Should I let him cry it out? Should I have a nap schedule?

All the magazines and parenting books talked about an even bigger worry for me: being too tired to have adult conversation with my husband. They warn new parents to not get sucked into the conversational pit-trap of talking of nothing but the kids. They urged you to carve out "adult time," so you wouldn't forget that there was a time you didn't smell like spit up sour milk 24/7.

But that was never an issue when we had babies. Or toddlers. Or young kids. The kids napped or went to school or visited Grandma and we had time to see a movie or get a mocha and sit down by the river. I worried over that for no good reason.

What no one ever told me was that the bigger issue would be finding adult time when the kids are teenagers. When they don't nap, when they stay up later than you, when they like the same shows you like, when they watch the same movies you watch, when they have the freedom to pop in and out of the house anytime during the weekend...bringing friends with them to create a glorious, house shaking mixer, when they listen to what you say and what you aren't saying and they can spell better and faster than you.

They are always watching, always listening, always waiting.

It could just be our family. We could just be raising two wonderful kids who honestly enjoy hanging out as a family.

That's awesome!

But I've gone from forgetting I used to wear shirts without baby vomit, to forgetting I ever went to bed AFTER the kids. They can easily out last me, and when I lie down, I can hear them moving around like an elephant herd of two.....

I know I'm going to miss that noise so much in a few years when they move up and on and out. I will use some other advice so freely dispensed to new parents: enjoy the moment, they grow up so fast!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

What Defines A Party

Last night, my kids hosted a party. My daughter would like to tell me it was not a party but I say it was. All told, we had 7 extra kids that went in and out, partaking of our hospitality.

My daughter said it was just a group of friends hanging out. A gathering of like minded individuals who enjoy a good music video and cheering on a live wrestling match (which seems to be the boys' favorite way to spend the hours of 11pm until.....they don't have the strength to grapple). It was not a party.

I beg to differ. A gathering turns into a party when I change my menu plan to feed a large number of teenagers and accommodate the vegetarian in the circle of friends (homemade mac and cheese to the rescue). It turns into a party when it's midnight and Dad is woken up by the noise from upstairs, and goes upstairs to say, "Chill Out," which apparently is the 2011 Cool Father's Version of "Knock It Off Now Before I Have To Yell."

But the defining moment that turns a group of friends casually hanging out into a party is the addition of ice cream. Ice cream is what defines a party.

Did we serve ice cream? You betcha.

It was a party! Of course we served ice cream!

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Liberation Of Owning Your Dislikes

There is something very liberating when you own up to things you dislike.

I dislike onions and tomatoes. As a kid, a teenager, and now as an adult. I remember someone telling me that I didn't like them because I was child, when my taste buds matured, and I was grown up, I'd love them.

I don't.

But onions and tomatoes are an easy thing to own up to not liking. The harder things to say you don't enjoy are the things that everyone likes.

For example: root beer floats.

I am not a fan.

I partook of these not so yummy floats all through my growing up years because everyone loves them, so I should too. I kept trying it, hoping each time would be the magic time that I would taste it and think, "Oh, man, that's good stuff."

That never happened. I don't like root beer floats. I don't like root beer, and I'm not very fond of vanilla ice cream and lets not even think about that weird dirty foam the two combine to make.

I really do think I've enjoyed life so much more when I started to say I don't like root beer floats. I also don't like coconut, strawberry milk and lutefisk.

What? Most people don't like lutefisk? Huh. Well, coming from a very Swedish family, not liking lutefisk is akin to not liking root beer floats. Shockingly Un-American. Er, I mean Un-Swedish-American.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Things They Do

When I walked into the kitchen after all the kids left for school, I wrongly assumed that things were right and well and normal.

When I saw the salt shaker with it's toothpick porcupine quills, I just shook my head. Teenage boys. Why do they do the things they do?

What goes through their heads that says sticking toothpicks in the shaker is a good thing? Or a myriad of other ideas that I won't go into because while at the moment they happened I was none too pleased, all is forgiven, and I can see those adventures were just part of their youthful exuberance.

I took a picture of the salt shaker and sent it to my husband along with the query of "Why?" to which he replied "Boys," because that was all the answer that was needful.

Later, I asked my daughter if she had seen the salt shaker and she said yes.

She'd done it.

WHAT? It wasn't the boys? It was my daughter?

Hmm. This will change how I view these little oddities that I find around the house. Instead of thinking, "Those Boys," I will think instead, "Those Kids! Why do they do the things they do?!"

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Trials And Tribulations of Tights

I love to wear skirts. I wear them all year round: spring, summer, fall, winter. Around about October, I have to pull out the tights to keep my legs from freezing off, but it's worth it for the comfort of a well fitting skirt.

I like tights. I do! I even have a some of the thick, off white, cable knit ones of my childhood...but I have yet to figure out how to wear those with an outfit, and feel totally natural, and not like a 37 year old woman wearing little girlish tights.

But, tights don't last forever. I have better luck with them did I ever did with nylons, but they are still subject to runs, snags and holes.

Every spring, I launder the tights that have survived the winter and tuck them away for six months, without another thought for them, until one day I wake up and it's chilly and it suddenly seems less than classy to be walking around bare legged when people are pulling out scarfs and gloves.

Due to an increase in frugality on my part, I've been making due with my leftover tights, but yesterday I lost a third pair. I was at work when I got the hole in run, with no way to fix it, no nail polish to stop it up, no luck for keeping it hidden. Sigh. Sigh for my newest loss, sigh for the need of new tights, sigh for the fact that tights are expensive, sigh for the limited options of what to wear for today.

Because that is what this post is really all about today. I do not know what I'm going to wear to work and I have to 'make it work' with one of three tights options: black or gray argyle or brown with two runs in the toe and it's got to be the brown ones because my daughter is wearing my black shoes today.

Maybe this should actually be titled "The Trials And Tribulations Of Sharing Shoes With A Teenage Daughter" because the limited shoe option suddenly seems to be the bigger problem than a few old tights!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Trouble With Morning

The trouble with Morning is that it comes too early.

Maybe if Morning started later in the day, I'd like it more. As it is, when the alarm starts buzzing, I am filled with dread. Oh, no. That time again? Morning, I hate you.

Thanks to Jerry Seinfeld, I understand what the problem is. It is, in part, due to the fact that when it's Night, and Night Guy is in charge, I stay up late. I don't worry about Morning Guy being tired, or having to shuffle bleary eyed into the kitchen, too tired to do much more than pour a cup of coffee and sit.

Granted, Night Guy has had four nights in a row where he ruled the roost. Usually, I don't stay up so late night after night, but Friday was the homecoming game, then Saturday was the homecoming dance; both of which required me to be awake to ferry kids back home. Sunday night was the Walking Dead, and I did watch it, and did get freaked out, and after 11, I had to watch a bit of fluff TV to settle down and not think a Zombie was trying to get into my room. And last night we had company over, and a great, late, night was had by all.

So now it is Tuesday Morning, and oy. What on earth is Night Guy thinking? Morning Guy would start a rumble, but there isn't enough coffee in the house to get that kind of energy flowing.

Tonight, I swear, tonight Night Guy will be in bed close to 10. And Night Guy will not read in bed or flip through the channels to find something super interesting to start watching. Night Guy will pull up the covers and roll over into Sleeping Guy.

I think Morning Guy and Night Guy agree on this; Sleeping Guy needs to take a turn at being in charge.

Monday, October 17, 2011

I'm A Believer

I believe old books tell the best stories and all dogs go to heaven.

I believe buttered popcorn is the best kind of popcorn and summer days are meant to be spent in a hammock.

I believe that exercise is a necessary evil and the aroma of coffee is almost better than the actual taste.

I believe sisters can grow up to be BFFs and dust bunnies reproduce faster in relation to company coming over.

I believe crisp, fall mornings are perfect for dog walking and homemade spaghetti sauce is what to serve for Christmas Dinner.

I believe chocolate chip cookies could always use a few more chocolate chips and unanswered prayers are actually answered ones.

I believe buttercup is the most perfect word in the English language and that I don't have enough tattoos.

I believe my husband was meant for me and I for him. I believe having two teenagers is easier than having two toddlers. I believe owning three dogs is just this side of crazy and that is just right.

I believe that the twists and turns of my life have lead me to this good moment, and I believe in God, who made all this possible.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

How Much Zombie Is Too Much?

My husband and kids are fans of all things zombie and paranormal. Me, not so much.

When I was little, my sister and I accidentally saw a tiny portion of the movie Poltergeist and spent that night with our eyes on the window and our heads firmly in the glow of the night light.

I've never really gotten over it.

I do not understand how the rest of my family likes scary movies. I get freaked out by Ghost Hunters on TV, and the kids have been known to ask if something is too much for me. If they are asking, it probably is.

After the initial fright of Shawn Of The Dead and Zombieland, I came around and like those movies, but those are the only two zombie movies, and they both happen to be super funny.

But The Walking Dead....I watched the first season with the family, and was excited to see the second season premier tonight.....I just don't know now. Ten minutes in, and my heart is pounding and I'm about to jump out of my skin!

How much zombie is too much? Oh, I'd say the first time I think tactically when the characters on the show are not and I know a zombie horde is sneaking up on the group and why oh why are they not being more careful and where is that child's parents and OMG ZOMBIE RIGHT BEHIND YOU!!!, that is when it's too much.

That is when it is time for me to find my book and start thinking about how the heroine is going to solve the mystery and catch the hero. No zombies input needed.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

What's Wrong With Pass Or Fail?

What's wrong with pass or fail? Win or Lose?

That's life baby.

Not keeping score during a game doesn't mean there isn't a team that played better, harder, "winninger." Saying a paper that the entire first semester is devoted to, and must be done in order to graduate from high school, is not a pass or fail but rather "meets standards" or "does not meet standards," doesn't mean it's impossible to fail.

Because if you aren't going to graduate from high school without this paper meeting standards, then it really seems like it is a pass or fail situation.

I do not want my kids to fail, or to feel bad if they don't make the team, but I do not want them to miss those feelings....I'm a firm believer that those feelings help you strive to be better.

And it about makes me go crazy to have to listen to an hour long informational meeting with teachers and fellow parents on THE scholarly paper of our students junior year, and have the teachers consistently say pass or fail, but then correct themselves.

Oh, sorry. We don't mean pass or fail. We mean meets standards or does not meet standards. And if they don't meet standards, well, they have 4 times to try again. And this paper that most of the first semester of junior lit is based on is a must for the senior project, and like building blocks, it is essential for graduation. But it's not a pass or fail idea. And to make everyone feel better, we eliminated the "above standards" category.

Now there is nothing to work towards. My kids can "meet standards" in their sleep. And yes, that is me bragging. I may not have a starting quarterback (thank goodness because I am not a football fan), but I do have kids who can write a brilliant paper with ease.

It seems to me that if the paper is so important, that the semester grade, the senior project, and even graduation, hinge on it, there should be a better grading system than just meeting standards or not.

But, I've sort of promised not to make any more teachers cry, so I'm just going to suck it up, smile and nod. That's also part of life baby, and sometimes it's harder to deal with than losing.

Friday, October 14, 2011

What The Muppet Show Did For Me

The Muppet Show did several things for me: introduced me to some awesome music that was way outside my Bear Country Jamboree record, had me rolling with laughter at some of the funniest people of the time, and scared the bejesus out of me.

Where else could I hear greats like Roger Miller or Alice Cooper or Debbie Harry sing their hits when I was a kid being raised in a conservative household? I still laugh when I watch Johnny Cash with Rowlf the Dog sing "Dirty Old Egg-Sucking Dog". Every time I hear "Baby, Baby, Don't Get Hooked On Me" (and I hear it a lot since it's on my iPod in a favorite playlist) I see Mac Davis sitting on an oversize fishing hook.
The Muppet Show opened up the music world to my young ears, and I love that.

I also saw Gilda Radner tap dance her super glue troubles away; Ruth Buzzi wrestle some respect out of Sweetums; Steve Martin play a great dueling banjo; and Cloris Leachman ask if she was the cook or the dish......

But it also, unwittingly, gave me some fuel for my nightmares.

When Loretta Lynn (who I love and adore) sang "One's On The Way" with those little baby things crawling all over the place, with their beady little eyes and gaping mouths.....Shudder! If I ever say, "That baby looks like a Muppet Baby," I do not mean that cartoon with baby versions of Kermit and Miss Piggy and the gang. And I do not mean it as a compliment. Those "babies" were terrifying.
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Did that stop me from watching The Muppet Show, or being a huge fan of their movies? No way! I'll risk those horrifying babies every time, for a good old laugh with my dear friend Kermit.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Decorating For Fall, Really?

The only time you see my decor and nick nacks and furniture arrangement change is when it is Christmas. I don't pull out BOO signs or cornucopias to decorate for fall.

Carving pumpkins is different, and honestly, I'm just in it for the roasted seeds afterwards, and not the decor enhancing aspect of craved pumpkins gracing our porch steps.

Fall is lovely enough, I don't need to bring out garlands of fake leaves and black cats wearing witches hats. I don't need to string up orange lights or stage scarecrows on the porch.

I've been listening to people talk about getting their fall decorations up, and isn't it exciting, and I don't get it. Really? Decorating for fall?

I think I lack this gene.

And I can't say I'm missing it.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Late Night Literary Genius

I don't know how other people come up with ideas of what to write, but mine come to me at anytime. If I can get to the computer, I'll log on and write down the thoughts I had. If I'm at work, I will scribble fast and furious on a scrap of paper.

If it is nighttime, after bed time, I have two choices. I can try writing it down on a pad of paper, without the light on, and hope in the morning that the weird, scrawly words mean something to me. Or I can think the idea is so obvious and relevant to something in my life that of course I won't forget it. I will come up with a brilliant first line and go on to have the first paragraph all mapped out, certain that I will remember this fantastic piece of literary genius, because how could I not?

And of course, I can't. I don't remember it at all except for the knowledge that the topic was perfect and the paragraph flowed so smoothly I impressed myself.

Now, all of this is according to my sleep stupid brain, late in the night, when the house is dark and still, the only sound to be heard is the snores of my down for the count hubby, and I am on the edge of sleep. It seems so brilliant! But since I've tried talking to my husband when he is sleep stupid, and he's not so brilliant, I am trying to tell myself that the same is true of me.

My brilliant idea was probably along the lines of "See Spot Run," and it isn't really the great blog post that got away.

I can't be convinced. I will keep the pad by the bed and will string crazy words together so I wake up in the morning and do a Jerry Seinfeld..."I can't read this! Ful-hel-mo-nen-ter-val? I got up last night, I wrote this down, I thought I had this great bit. Wait a second, wait a second.... 'Fax me some halibut.' Is that funny? Is that a joke?"

I will study my sleep stupid writing and wonder. Is this a blog idea? Or the start of a grocery list?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

This Side Of White Trash

Raise your hand if you've every used a shoe lace to jerry rig the toilet after the handle broke off and you couldn't see sticking your hand in the tank of water every time you needed to flush.

Raise your hand if you've ever had vice grips instead of a gear shift in a pea green behemoth of a car or if you've ever had pliers sitting on the edge of the tub to use turn the cold water on.

Raise your hand if you have one car and three motorcycles in various stages of being rebuilt, with blue tarps covering any that aren't being worked on at this moment.

If you've raised your hand to any of these, you might be a little bit on this side of white trash. It's cool, that's where I live.

I finally have a legit reason to have pink flamingos in the yard. They class up the joint.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Reasons Why I Shouldn't Get A Mocha On My Way To Work

I can only think of two reasons why I shouldn't get a mocha on my way to work. One, it takes time away from money earned....and since I am always running late, I'm all ready doing that without adding a mocha trip. Two, it is not good for my hips, for which I've spent 30 plus minutes exercising this morning I really want to throw away those 30 minutes for a mocha?

The reason to get a mocha on my way to work is that my soul needs it.

For reals. It's a gray, wet, husband-less Monday, and I just need a bit of warm goodness to help me get through the morning. But it's not just about the mocha, it's about going to the same coffee stand for almost 20 years, it's the barista knowing not just my drink order, but also knowing my family and asking about my kids and my sisters, it's starting the work day with a friendly chat that is not work related.

I'd feel guilty if I had a mocha every day, or even every week, but I can't remember the last time I treated myself.

So. If I can get myself out of the house within 45 minutes, I will have time to get a mocha. It's a doable goal, if I get going right now.....

Mocha, here I come!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

A Lazy Day To Do List

It's a lazy kind of day, one in which I just want to recline on the couch, reading. But the reality of meandering dust bunnies tip toeing across the living room floor means I can't really relax.

So I will make short to do list, pick only the things that must be done so I can be right where I want to be: the couch.

1. wash dishes, clean kitchen

2. sweep and mop floors

3. one load of laundry mostly comprised of socks and underwear

4. kill this freaking fly that won't stay off of me!

First two things are done and done nicely. The third is just waiting for me to actually put into the washing machine. The fourth is not going as well. This fly is wily, quick, and a really good hider.

But 2.5 checked off is okay by me, and I think I'll just take a little reading break. With the fly swatter close by, just in case the fly doesn't understand that I will not abide it touching me any longer.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

All I Need Is This

Concerts and I have an uneasy relationship.

I love going to hear my favorite bands, but everything leading up to it makes me slightly crazy.

Picking out my outfit, is of course, the most stressful part of the evening. I need to have something with pockets, but it also needs to be super comfortable, since I've got to be able to move and groove freely!

The pockets are the most important part because I do not believe in bringing a purse to a concert (or a coat either, so I usually pray that it's okay weather or a close parking spot). Especially when we go to a concert where it's standing room only....I don't want to be standing there with my big purse dragging my shoulder down.....bumping it into people.....never aware if it's being burgled....

All I need is my chapstick. And my ID. And some money. But that's it. That's all I need. And my cell phone, but that's really all I need. With the right pair of pockets, I can securely stash all of my needs and not have to worry as I dance the concert away.

I do have one other need, but this one will require forcing someone to go with me to the concert....I want someone to go to a concert with me who has ZERO desire to stand right in front of the stage, so close to the performers that you can feel the sweat flinging off them, so close you can make eye contact in a crazy stalker kind of way, so close you can see their wrinkles (and they can see yours).

That's really all I need: a fellow concert goer who wants to stand farther back!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Looking For One Good Pencil

Twice a month, my husband sits down with bills and the checkbook, a calculator and a pen, to keep our finances on track. And twice a month I hear nothing but mutterings about how he's just looking for one good pencil, who is taking his pencil, where are all the pencils, why can he never find a pencil.....

The mutterings are endless, but focus on one thing: he wants a good pencil.

I have a mini stockpile of pencils and pens on the school supply shelf, but since I also have 5 other pencil/pen cups around the house, he looks in the other cups first. Just in case his pencil is there. It isn't a pencil that has his name on it, it's just one that has been sharpened and used and proven it's worth.

We have all had it happen to us. A pencil, sharpened to perfection, the point begging to be pressed against a clean sheet of paper, and with the first hint of a letter formed, the lead snaps off and the pencil is broken. My husband hates that. So when he has found a pencil that holds its lead, he understandably wants to keep it.

I've heard that the lead is very fragile, and if you are in the worst aisle in the world (school supply days before school starts) you might just throw the boxes of pencils into your cart and get out of there fast and that throw could be breaking the lead internally, so every time those pencils are sharpened and look good to use, they are actually just a useless wood tube holding broken lead together.

I've heard that. I'm not saying I've done it. Just that it's something I've heard could possibly happen.

Or maybe all I'm looking for is a kick ass pencil sharpener.....stop using tiny plastic school bag shavers or a sharp knife to whittle the lead out.....a real sharpener might make the chore of sharpening a pencil not so time consuming and hideous.

I could also start tagging my husband's pencil, so we all know that belongs to Dad and the bills. If he drops it on the floor and doesn't pick it up and Olive Badger takes it out and chews it to bits, well, that's a different story then. She can't read the tag that says "Dad's Pencil."

Or I could ignore the twice monthly mutterings, content to know that is all part of the process of bill paying!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Bug In The Glow

I see you, bug, flitting around in the glow of the TV, as I lie comfy and cozy in my bed, settled in nicely for the night. You bounce off the screen again and again, then disappear into the darkness of my unlit bedroom.

I am settled in for the night. The fan is on, the lights are off. The alarm is set, the water bottle is full. And I am so tired, my eyes are burning with the need to close.

But just as I'm ready to shut off the TV and pull the covers up to my ears, I see you, tiny harmless bug, and I am too tired to shoo you out of the room, but not too tired to obsess over whether or not you are a moth.

I sure hope you aren't a moth.

You probably are a moth.

Your wings seem to flutter very moth like as you throw yourself against the TV. Your intense attraction to the light is very moth like too.

Now for the momentous decision: am I too scared of what a moth will do to me as I sleep or am I too tired to get up?

I am too tired. Besides, if the covers pulled up to my ears protects me from the monsters in my closet, I'm sure it protects against marauding moths loose in the night.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

And Now Back To The Saga Of Dish Washing

My only woe of dish washing is that I am always splashing water on myself.

In fact, yesterday as I washed dishes and created a huge tidal wave that slopped over the rim of the sink and soaked my shirt, I wondered if there will ever be a time when I don't get wet while I do the dishes.

When I was a kid, I couldn't help but get wet. My sleeves would unroll and trail in the sudsy water, I didn't understand how much splash back would get me when I dropped silverware in, I would get sprinkled as I shook the excess water off tupperware.

But I am a grown up who has been washing dishes in my own home for 18 years....I'd have thought by now I'd know how to keep dry! Not so much.

I'm not too keen on getting as wet as I end up, but Olive Badger hates it more. I try to tell her she should not sit at my feet as I wash dishes. Water is going to land on her, she will get wet.

She still takes up position as soon as I do, and with the first splash of water, she looks at me with her brown puppy eyes full of accusations. The only thing stopping her from taking the rag and showing me how it's done properly is her lack of thumbs.

That, and I say she has to use a rag. Licking a plate clean is so not okay.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

My Secret DVR Show

DVR has changed my life. No joke. I no longer have to stand in front of the half broke VCR and force a VHS tape in over and over and over, hoping that this time it will stay in, the machine will stay on and when I press 'record' a red light will start to blink.

It's allowed us to watch our favorite shows as a family, even if on Monday night Dad is at a concert or Thursday night the kids are swamped with homework. We'll just save that show to watch when we can all watch it.

And don't get me started on the joy of SNL! I'd never actually watched a whole episode because of that whole, pesky, needing to sleep thing....but now I don't have to rely on the internet or clip shows to get my SNL fix. DVR has made my life funnier!

But it has also allowed me to set up a recording for a show that I am mortally embarrassed to not want to miss. It's a show that makes me cringe with embarrassment (it would be less cringe worthy if he'd just cut his hair....isn't bald the new beautiful?), sometimes I can't even look at the TV because the intensity on their faces makes me feel sickish, and yet I can't stop watching.

It's Sister Wives and it's a show I think about way too much.

For awhile I was just catching it on reruns, or On Demand. But when I realized I was in time to start watching with the new season....well, I put a series recording on that baby and on Monday mornings I am giddy to watch it.

There is something about the lifestyle, the decision to share one man, to share a family, that super fascinates me. It probably stems from the fact that I can barely share my hubby with his bike club and I don't think I was designed to live with other women (and since I grew up with two sisters, I have some idea of what I'm talking about), so watching four women choose that kind of life, raising their kids together and loving one guy is just so unbelievably interesting!

When I consider all the shows out there for me to be obsessed with, this one isn't bad.

I could still be in my Toddlers and Tiaras faze.

Monday, October 3, 2011

A Dish Washing Dilemma

Well, calling it a dilemma is overstating it. More like a slight curve on the rules of who washes what and my hubby asking me why I was washing dishes when it is for sure the job of our children.

To begin with I have some pretty unpleasant memories of washing dishes as a child. I never wanted my kids to do it until they were old enough to do it right, as in, the way I do it. I'd rather do most jobs myself and have them done to my satisfaction than to parcel out chores for them to do their best on but never quite met up to my requirements, but that's a whole different blog related to a streak of cleanly perfection I am a quarter embarrassed to possess.

But kids need an allowance, and they need to earn that allowance, and the first easy chore of childhood is really dish washing. After years of trying and failing to have the kids trade off weeks or setting up a schedule that meant one washed dishes Friday,Sunday, Tuesday, and the other washed Monday, Thursday, Saturday, I finally said we were going to simplify it even more.

They have to remember who washed dishes last, and trade off. Regardless of nights or weeks or what have you. This simple taking turns system has turned out to be great. Part of the reason behind the schedule change was our family tended to eat out on Friday nights, so one kid always had a dish free night.

And as I am the Queen Mother of Fairness, this was not fair and had to be fixed.

So now after dinner, one kid clears the table and one washes the dishes. By hand. We do not have a dishwasher (much to their strong conviction that a dishwasher would make their life a million times easier), I have a stronger conviction that our old house kitchen has no place for a dishwasher, and washing by hand is easy.

But my husband has recently asked why I wash dishes when I get home from's an added chore that I shouldn't be doing since it is our kids chore. Well, true. He's right. Dishes are dishes whether they belong to late night ice cream or a scrambled egg breakfast plate or an after school slice of cheese or dinner. I could leave them in the sink, but I can't.

I really can't!

In order for me to cook dinner (which I strongly dislike doing), I need a clean kitchen. I do. A clean kitchen makes it easier for me to chop and dice and rinse and boil....and what makes it easier also makes me feel not so crazed.

After hearing that, my husband gently pushed me to the side and took over the dish washing before dinner chore. I think he's 100% behind anything that helps me cook dinner without turning into a frazzled stressed out mess.

I really hate cooking dinner, but washing dishes, I don't mind so much!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Finding Time For Me

Finding time for me sounds selfish because as a Mom, you don't really have time for me stuff, but time for me is so crucial to a happy Mom, it should be a weekly scheduled event, given as much respect and consideration as a New Simpsons Episode.

But when I'm doing my time for me time, who's going to wash the clothes or iron the shirts or do the grocery shopping? Or dust, sweep, and mop?

Yesterday I said to myself, "Self, yes, do some laundry. You need clean socks too, but between that, sit at your desk and work on last summers vacation scrapbook." and myself replied, "That is too perfect. I deserve a day off."

And then I proceeded to get laundry going, take the kids for flu shots and haircuts, hit the bank since I was out, wash dishes and clean house.

And no scrapbooking.

Today, I am determined to scrapbook. I will clear the shirts to be ironed off my desk chair, I will put away the folded sheets and towels and find places for that stack of books. I will dust off my desk (for reals, that desk is a dust magnet) and I will put on a movie and I will do something just for me.

At least, until someone knocks on my door asking for help.....What can I say? My Momness runs deep!