Friday, October 30, 2009


I've just recieved a rash of these forwarded emails . . . I'm boycotting them, but will post my deepest and darkest here:

*What is your salad dressing of choice? Ken's Light Caesar
*What is your favorite sit down restaurant? Ai Sushi
*What is your favorite fast food restaurant? Culvers . . . or Subway
*What food could you eat every day for two weeks and not get sick of? Salad
*What are your pizza toppings of choice? Double Mushroom, cheese, no sauce
*How many televisions are in your house? 2
*What color cell phone do you have? Black

*Are you right-handed or left-handed? Right
*Have you ever had anything removed from your body? plantars warts, pre-cancerous moles, excess gum tissue & breasts
*What is the last heavy item you lifted? Mimi. She's really heavy.
*Have you ever been knocked unconscious? No
*Have you ever fainted? No

*If it were possible, would you want to know the day you were going to die? Nope
*If you could change your name, what would you change it to? Suzi
*How many pairs of flip-flops do you own? 3
*Last person you talked to? Big

*Season? When it's fall, fall . . . but in the spring, I sure like spring.
*Holiday? My half-birthday and birthday eve
*Day of the week? Thursday
*Month? September
*Color? Blue
*Drink? Water with no ice

*Missing someone? Yes
*What are you listening to? Middle racing around the house, Big tinkering on the piano, Little karate chopping everything and Mimi chasing everyone bigger than she is.
*Watching? Days go by
*Worrying about? Adopting the right dog
*What's the last movie you saw? Ghosts of Girlfriends Past
*Do you smile often? Absolutely
*If you could change your eye color what would it be? They'd be hazel
*What's on your wish list for your birthday? Strength & serenity
*Can you do push-ups? Yes ma'am!
*Can you do a chin up? Yep.
*Does the future make you more nervous or excited? Excited.
*Have you been in a Car wreck? Yes
*Have you caused a Car wreck? No
*Do you have an accent? Only when I'm making french toast.
*Last time you cried? Last night watching Private Practice.
*Plans tonight? Carving pumpkins with the youngins, reading stories & going to bed.
*Have you ever felt like you hit rock bottom? No.
*Name 3 things you bought yesterday? We were snowed in yesterday. Good for the pocketbook.
*Have you ever been given roses? Yes
*Met someone who changed your life? Yes
*For the better or worse?? Both.
*How did you bring in the New Year? Sleeping.
*Would you go back in time if you were given the chance? Only if I could know then what I know now.
*Have you ever dated someone longer than a year? Yup
*What songs do you sing in the shower? None.
*Do you like to cuddle? Yes, especially babies and dogs.
*Have you held hands with someone today? Definately
*Who was the last person you took a picture of? Mimi.
*Are most of the friends in your life new or old? Old.
*Do you like pulpy orange juice? Yes
*What is something your friends make fun of you for? Being organized
*Last time you ate peanut butter and jelly? Ooh, the late 1980's ??
*What were you doing 12 AM last night? Snoozing.
*What was the first thing you thought of when you woke up? I should be working on payroll while everyone else is sleeping.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Why blog, I mean. Why?

Catherine Newman authors a couple of mommy-time blogs. Her writings appear in wondertime and something else that I can't remember right now. She says (and I am loosely quoting) . . . that blogging is narcissistic. And time consuming. And it gives complete strangers, not to mention your in laws ammunition to pummel your parenting style. It gives them permission to judge and to speak out.

But I do it anyway. Personally, I'm long past fearing my inlaws. Anyone else can go ahead and judge, too. Now's the time I should bust out some infamous one liner about rocks and glass houses. Whatever.

External processing. That's part of it. Thinking. That's another part of it, at least, for me. Not everything I put into courier new sytle type is profound. Or even interesting, to some. Most of what I post is perfectly safe. There is some anonymity. Some things really are about ME. See, blogging is also selfish. I'm not doing my nails or soaking in a jetted tub full of calgon. I'm not picking through the halloween candy and stashing all of the kit kats for my personal use later. I'm not ragging on my husband, smacking my kids or gabbing on the phone bitching. I'm externally processing. I'm certain some of my posts will horrify my children later. But once they pick their jaws up off the ground, they'll see that my typing was done with forethought and love. Lots of love.

Without getting too zen & pre-menstrual, blogging helps me remember that I'm a part of a bigger puzzle. It keeps me connected with a few people that I really, really, really love. Homestead, 3J's, F-mother-of-flower-child. I hardly EVER see you ladies, but I peek into your lives every day or two, and you into mine. It helps to have a voice of reason . . . words to compare, letters to share, stories to swap. It's like facebook, but naked. Blogging exposes you, highlights strengths and amplifies flaws, and reminds us mommy-types that we are all in the same boat.

We have all veered off a path, however temporary, in order to raise our youngins. We all wonder what the hell we will put on the table for dinner. We all just want to make it to bedtime and avoid having sex. And everyone I know, really just wants to watch good 9 o'clock television with a cup of tea, slippers, pjs and ponytails.

And that, I think, is why we blog.
Last night, Big was boo-hooing over homework. Some complicated 4th grade stuff (actually, that I can't remember until middle school . . but that's beside the point.)

I was helping her. Explaining. Showing. Being patient.

Little was coloring a pumpkin next to her. Tears started to come. He got up and brought her a box of kleenex. More tears came. He was silent but put his arm around her back and started rubbing her back. It was so cute . . . he never looked up from coloring, just rubbed her back and let his presence be there.

When finally, she said thank you to him, he put on his dad's preachy face, and said, "Well, ya know, in vegggie tales we learn to persevere. And that means to keep on keepin' on . . . even when things are hard or you really don't want to."

And with that, we all busted up laughing.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Ribbons and Trophies . . Smiles and Cheers

She scored big at her first official gymnastics meet. Four ribbons, one for each event . . . and a trophy! Yeah! We're beaming with pride, but she's still our little girl. She holds the trophy and says, "momma, you can feel her little nose."

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The perfect cupcake

Can anyone help me? What's the secret?

How many gazillion batches of cupcakes have I made in my mothering career? Countless. Yet, suddenly, the are sad specimens with a dippy hole in the middle. Box mix. Same results. Scratch cupcakes. Same.

I want the perfect cupcake. Round top that barely pops out. Perfectly frostable. Something frosting is proud to perch on . . . not the dippy hole where frosting is the camoflauge to a bad baker!! I want a heavy batter with a thick sponge.

Help, help, help . . .

A note for Homestead: why? I bet Homestead is asking 'why'. RIP cupcakes. I'll post a picture. I'm not sure why my children like to do this at Halloween. They just do . . . but we're also making witch hat cookies & lady's fingers from pumpkin biscotti.

Friday, October 23, 2009

A big decision . . .

I warned you I was thinking about adopting another dog.

I warned you.

We submitted an application to a local rescue.

We've been assigned a case worker.

We conference called with our vet.

We shopped PetCo, PetsMart & some online places for food, big ass kennels & elevated dishes. I've done a butt-load of research on common ailments: hip dysplasias, arthritis, life span, bloat. I'm not one to enter into a decision like this lightly. These are big animals and it is my absolute heart's desire to provide a forever home. Not a temporary landing pad. That's not enough for me.

My conversation with our vet (who happens to be a personal friend of mine, too) went like this:

"We have an application out to adopt from RMGDRI."
"Really?", she said, "are you planning on coming into a truckload of money?"
"Break it down for me," I said.
She pulled charts from two of her recent surgical patients. One Beagle. One Dane. Both uncomplicated surgeries. In surgical time, anesthesia, and IV fluid alone, the Dane surgery was $3000. More. $3K More. She talked about kennel care, ailments, arthritis, x rays (did you know that xrays are NOT part of the annual care plan for ANY other breed??)


Then, we reviewed our application, provided references. Conferenced called again. Next step is review of our application and references by the Board. Then a home visit.

But my next step, as a money planning person . . . is to tweak our family budget. My best estimate, even for wellness care & food alone, is that we need to have an EXTRA $60-$100 in our budget, MONTHLY.


Still, I'm really loving the look of this sweetheart:

Christmas Prep Week #4

Call me anal. I know I am. I like organizing. It floats my boat. It's not to hurt YOUR feelings, it's my sanity line. And control. And before you get all psycho-babbly on me, let me just say. At least I'm not in denial. It really is WHO I AM . . . .

Christmas Prep Week #4

Yes, I'm thinking about Christmas.
Yes, I'm getting excited.
Yes, I'm doing research on great gifts for the chillin's.

And this week, I'm preparing to be prepared. So that I can be prepared. Or something like that.

We need: baking supplies, tape, wrapping paper & boxes

We need: cookie decorating party invitations & provisions

We need: batteries. Every size is safest.

We need: scavenger hunt gifts & clues. So fun. My kids LOVE Chrismas scavenger hunts!!

There's my shopping list for today. Woo-hoo! Let the reindeer games begin!!

Stuffed Chicken Rolls

You're gonna need:

1 pkg, 6 oz, of chicken or turkey stove top stuffing
2 eggs
4-6 chicken breasts
1 can of cream of chicken or cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup milk
paprika, salt, pepper

Thaw chicken breasts. Pound them as thin as possible (aim for about 1/4 inch thickness).

In large bowl, add 6 oz package of stuffing mix, both eggs & 1 cup of warm water. Let stand for 5 minutes. Then, spread the stuffing mix over the flat chicken breasts. (It's really yummy to add a slice of provolone or swiss between the chicken & the stuffing). Roll the chicken from short end to long end to enclose the stuffing (& cheese) mixture.

Place the chicken rolls in a baking dish, seam side down. Mix soup and milk. Pour over the rolls. Sprinkle with paprika & pepper.

Bake at 400 until chicken is cooked through. 30 minutes for super thin chicken -- up to an hour if it's still thick.

Finish with steamed asparagus or a green salad . . . YUM!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


I'm not sure why eating veggies in fun shapes makes a meal different . . . but this is fun . . .

You need:
fettuccine pasta
carrots, peeled
zucchini or some kind of squash
chicken breast, thawed and rolled super flat
pesto or butter & sea salt
tomatoes, black olives, peas or whatever is on hand

Cook the pasta per package directions. Once the chicken is rolled skinny, slice in super thin lengths. Cook in EVOO. Use a vegetable peeler to peel thin lengthwise strips of the zucchini & carrots (don't use the core); add them to the noodles for 3-4 minutes of cook time. Drain the noodles & veggies all together. Transfer it all to a bowl, toss it all together & serve it up. My little people are not big pesto fans, but butter & sea salt is also just right on this. Use cherry tomato halves, black olives or peas as a colorful last minute garnish. We sometimes omit the chicken for a yummy vegetarian creation. Saves well . . . . Great as cold leftovers or warmed. Mmmm!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Son of a gun. I spoke too soon. Last night, I posted that all was well, kids on the mend. Apparently, I blog-jinxed myself. The fever came first. The vomiting started at 2 am. Little's miserable A-G-A-I-N!!

Shit, shit, shit.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Ahhh . . . .

That's a heavy exhalation of relief . . . .

The kids are all well, again.
My sore throat is bearable.
MOTH's sore throat is bearable.
We had a good weekend. Busy. Lost both soccer games, but played well.
I'm just about out of things to paint.
That means I have to just about be done thinking and getting lost in thought.
Back pain is (sort of) controlled again. Another injection. Menapausal symptoms are here in full force . . . but at least I'm walking.

I'm trying not to get my heart stuck on this guy:

More to come on this one . . . .
I'm in pantry-clean out mode, again.

Sharing recipes with Homestead, again. It's an annual event. Her recipes have changed. Mine haven't. But, I'm posting some tried & true kid friendly hits this week. Share with me, PLEASE!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

My Son is a Good Boy

My son is a good boy. He's a well behaved child with firm boundaries and nice manners. His behavior is good far beyond general pleasantries. Sure, he says 'please' and 'thank you', but he's also a caring little guy. He's respectful of authority. He's tender hearted. He's good at most things he tries, isn't easily discouraged and loves with all his heart.

Can kindergarten spoil him?

This kindergarten year, there were four little fellas in his class that started hanging together. A, E, J and my guy, Little, as you know him. They kind of look alike. They seem like good little dudes. Little calls them his "bra-thas" . . spoken like a tiny little mobster. Two weeks ago, E's parents pulled him out of kindergarten and shunted him back to preschool for another year. Tough decision but I absolutely applaud it. He wasn't ready. In lots of trouble. W-I-L-D. Not naughty . . . just not ready. And then there were 3.

This week, Little came home and told me that J bit him. "What?" I said, nearly dropping the dish in my hand. Yea, J double jaw locked into his trapezius and left teeth marks. "Did you tell?", I asked. And Little said to me, in a moment of true childhood honesty, "no, because I want him to still be my friend."

Sometimes moments of childhood honest take your breath away. Because one part of me knows what to do, and the other part understands why that's so wrong FOR HIM.

This morning over english muffins & hot chocolate, Little said, "what does this mean, mom?" And as I turned to look at him, the little dude was flipping me off. My little man is now solely responsible for two near broken polish pottery dishes. So, as I began to explain to a five year old why a gesture for "fuck off" is inappropriate, the true story unraveled. Apparently, when Middle passed A (the friend of Little) at school, he flips her off. "What?", I said. Middle admits it's true. She doesn't know what this finger in the air means. Darling girl thought he was waving, were it not for the evil scowl on his face.

Ah, a rough breakfast. Lots of talk about the difference between telling and tattling. And when to do each, or what, and to whom. Lots of talk today at breakfast about 'special' kids. Some got stuck in the birth canal and their brains fire a little slow. Some look and appear fine, but might have trouble in their brains, too. But what's the explanation for "just plain rotten!"

And in my mind, I just want to shout, "Take the high road, Guys! You'll be successful people with six figure careers. Heck, maybe you'll be their therapists when they are inmates."

I can't wait for parent teacher conferences. I'm making a list.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Heeding your own advice.

It was almost 3 weeks ago. One of my very bestest friends got "in trouble." Not child porn. Not sexual misconduct. Nothing felony. But, to her, t-r-o-u-b-l-e. With her boss. At work.

And in the days that followed her being busted, she cried and cried and cried on my shoulder. And down my front, and in my hair. And in my coffee . . and, well, just about everywhere. It was the kind of crying that made me question what kind of a friend I am. Because, in the midst of all the crying and the recaps and repeat conversations about how she was FEELING, these words came out of my mouth.

They mean something to me now, because they came out so firey and suddenly that even I stopped to listen.

I said, "Maybe you should stop feeling for a little while. Maybe you should be a woman of action. Maybe you should make some proactive moves to make yourself look good and prove to your bosses that you give a shit."

Now, for almost three weeks, those words have been ringing in my head. Not because they came out of my mouth. Not because they came out of my mouth TO HER. But because I should do that, too. I should be (more) of a woman of action. I should take some proactive steps. Alright, my steps aren't to prove to my boss that I give a shit. Mine are to create happiness. Choose happy.

I've been pondering while I paint. Painting is what I do to think.

Tomorrow is Monday. I'm taking proactive steps. They start tomorrow morning (after I chaperone the field trip to the pumpkin patch in 40 degree weather.)

Monday, October 05, 2009

Consider this a warning.

I might get another dog.

Consider this a warning. In the last several months, I've had several people say, "I didn't know you were going to do that." "When did you decide on that?" "How come you never tell me anything?"

So, it's official. Puppy prozac is not working. Not noticably, anyway. Tana remains lonely and crazy. Except for last Saturday, when Charlie came to play. And she was happy. And she didn't howl and she didn't bark & whine. She played and played and chased and ran. And then she slept well. The next day, she woke up sad.

Do this math. $142 for pre-medication blood work. $49 for one month of puppy prozac. And after one month, another $128 of liver function study to make sure she's tolerating the meds.

That's an adoption fee, folks. And if what she needs is a playmate, why have her on meds? So, consider yourself informed. I might be adopting a dog.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

My Secret Stash.

I have a secret stash of great chocolate. Not your everyday chocolate. Swiss chocolate. Some ghiradelli. Good chocolate.

Usually, I splurge on a piece late in the afternoon or for dessert after the kids are tucked in for the night. A piece. It's my rule. Sometimes it's a guilty pleasure surrounding a celebration. Completing a tough phone call. Holding my ground. Obtaining a goal.

But the stress of sick kids is catching up with me. Today I celebrating waking up, making it through soccer with assorted fans on the sideline and finding a scooby costume. I just celebrated getting Mimi down for a much needed sick-kid nap . . . by eating dark chocolate with creamy mint filling.

This has to stop. Seriously.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

It's done, it's done!!

Hearing about other people's dying children makes me want to hold mine close.

Having one, okay, now two sick children in my arms makes me never want to let them go. I've spent the whole watching Spiderman, coloring, playing jenga, stacking blocks & playing finger puppets. Mr. Potato Head has been brought back out. We've made cookies, collected leaves & used up all the glue. We have cut, pasted, painted and then cut some more.

I've renamed Tinky. Her new name is Mimi. Think Me! Me! It's what she says & it fits perfectly. She's adorable with her big brother. He has tremendous coughing fits where he doubles over like he's a college football player that's been hit in the nuts. She puts her hand on his back, doubles over with him & musters the biggest, most fake cough ever . . . "ka-huh-ka-huh".

Mimi is into underwear now. Other people's. Underwear, that it. And she loves to wear big brother's pajamas to bed. She wears alot of batman. And she thinks his boxer briefs are her everyday shorts. In the spirit of parenting by the path of least resistance, I'm letting her. It's adorable. In this picture, she's actually wearing Little's boxer briefs AND Big's bikini's. This will make a fantastic high school year book picture, don't you think?