Monday, May 30, 2011

A kitty, the Toothfairy and an ulcer

This weekend has been incredibly full and busy... a condition my type L (for Lazy) personality finds stressful.

My two oldest children had their last day of homeschool on Friday.  My youngest has been done for a couple of weeks and while I initially started her on the next years curriculum, I regained my senses and let the kid have the break she had earned.

So, yeah, I can rest my brain a little this summer.  I don't know if you all realize it, but homeschooling three kids takes a lot of brain power.  While I normally prefer to use my brain to read trashy novels and calculate the best way to eat a Reese's, this past year I have spent most weekdays using it for a higher purpose.  Maybe it will pay off one day when my kids choose my nursing home.

In other stressful news.  My son lost a tooth on Friday night.  The Toothfairy, being old and tired, fell asleep and when my son woke up he was disappointed.  Until, through some impressive slight of hand, I helped him find a dollar bill 'near' where he slept.

Did I mention that it was the last dollar in the Toothfairy's cash stash and she didn't think she needed to walk to an ATM, because what were the chances another kid in this house would lose a tooth this weekend?  Pretty damn good, come to find out.

Last night, my youngest lost a tooth.  Well, cuss!  So, last night, the Toothfairy bravely managed to stay up way past a normal bedtime, so that she could rifle through her old handbags for loose change.  It was touch and go- at one point it looked as if my youngest was going to receive 48 pennies wrapped in a paper towel (yes,  our Toothfairy is white trash).  However, upon scraping the gritty bottom of one large handbag 60 cents in 'good' silver coinage was found...and wrapped in a paper towel.

Why the paper towel?  Because the Toothfairy didn't have anything else and she wanted to save me from having to crawl under the bed to find change that had slipped all over during the night.

Very considerate, but I figure she is just butt kissing at this point, because she has overheard me swearing that I would never start my kids on the Santa, Easter Bunny, Toothfairy path if I had it to do again.  And, I wouldn't.  I know, I am a killjoy or whatever, but I have good reason, beyond my loss of money and sleep.  Like the fact that my oldest felt foolish and betrayed when she found out she was being lied to for all those years.  In hindsight, I think all those guys benefit us adults far more than the kids.

Once my duties were performed last night, I popped a Zantac to quell the fire in my gut and flopped gratefully into bed.  However, I was up much earlier than I like to be, because of the kitten.  She was ready to go and needed minding.

I have pretty much decided we are going to try to keep her.  I plan to get the necessary paperwork from the landlord this week (I shall be wearing my garlic necklace and carrying holy water when I beard her in her cheaply paneled ode to 80's mauve decorated den).

 I was pretty much a goner when she put her little paws on each side of my face and did some little kissy/pecking thing to my face- like a cute, furry baby kissing me.  Then she fell asleep, belly up in my arms with her paws wrapped around my hand.   C'mon, who can resist that?  I can't.  I felt my heart grow 3 sizes.

After completing a  covert attack on the vacuum, she wanted to suppress any uprising from the throw rug.

Can I have some more of that tuna gruel you make for me?

I have a princess blankie.

Stealth mode...hey, lady...I am trying to be covert here!

By the way, if anyone has any name suggestions, let me know.  I don't like the Fluffy, Princess, Poopsie type of names.  I actually like Sophie, but the kids are still trying to come up with something they like better.

Finally, have any of you ever made pancakes from scratch?  I never had made real pancakes like this before and oh, my, what was I missing?!  So much better than stuff from the box and super simple.  This is how I am making them from now on.


I got this recipe from Woman's Day magazine May 2011 issue.

To make 4 servings (12 pancakes), in a large bowl, whisk together 1 cup all-purpose flour, 2 T sugar, 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp baking soda, and a pinch of kosher salt.

 (I used 1/4 tsp of regular table salt, cause I used all my kosher salt on the ice on the steps this winter- what can I say?  My ass hitting the pavement does not make for a good day...)

In a seperate bowl, whisk 3/4 C of whole milk (I used skim, I can't stand to drink whole and I certainly wasn't making a special trip to the store for it in 90+ heat or I would have been the pancake) and a large egg.  

Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and whisk until fully incorporated, small lumps are fine.

(The following are my directions, because when I ripped this recipe out of the magazine, I didn't bother with  the cooking instructions, because I have been making pancakes for over 25 years.  I got the cooking part down.)

Heat your lightly oiled skillet on med-high heat and when hot (a drop of water will sizzle and dance across the surface), add batter 2T per pancake (larger cakes are harder to cook through and flip and kids love several small cakes in a stack compared to one monster that is doughy in the middle).  Flip when bubbles form and sides begin to set.  After about 1 minute remove from pan.  If you are cooking a lot of pancakes and want to serve all at once, you can keep them warm in a greased pan in a warm (200 degree) oven.

I would love to know what you all have made from scratch recently.  I know Linda from The Squashed Tomato recently had a great experience working in a professional kitchen.  You all should check out her yummy blog and read about the fun she had while doing the chef thing.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Look what we found in the back yard now...

Nope, not a vampire child.

Regular readers are by now aware of the fact that I am like a magnet for lost animals.  It seems I can't go a month without finding a creature that needs TLC and for me to find it a  home.  So, it surely will come as no surprise that this was in the backyard, by the honeysuckle, last night:

It is a female and about 5 or 6 weeks from what I can tell.

She looks fierce, right?  Well, actually she isn't hissing, she is mid-meow.

She is such a cutie and, of course, the kids are clamoring to keep her.  But, as you all are aware, I have a contentious relationship with my landlord.  I mean, that for some inexplicable reason, she hates me.  So, I am not sure if the kitten can stay long.  But, she is here for now.

Could you resist that little face?  

She is up here on my desk as I type and she is fascinated with the computer, the screen, the fingers.  Kitten claws- little needles of love.

Tomorrow we are going to walk uptown to get some litter ( a neighbor gave me some for now) and a real litter box (we are using a cardboard box) and more food.  Let's hope all goes smooth and there is nothing to blog about.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

If I don't watch it, someone might drop a house on me.

Today has been a beautiful day, but we have been under a tornado watch all day and we are supposed to be getting some severe storms tonight.  It is the same system that just hit OK and KS.  If we do end up getting hit, it will be another one of those long sleepless nights. Again.

I have spent most of the day outside and that went fine until about 5 minutes ago when I had to screech at some neighbor's teen age sons.

See these 16 or 17 year old boys had my daughter's little purple ball playing four square.  My kids went to play and as soon as they made a mistake they were 'out',  but when the large bully boys made a mistake they told my kids that they were having a 'tournament' and they just kept playing, so my kids never got a turn after the first time-  WITH THEIR OWN BALL.  

Yes, my 6 and 10 year old were standing watching these two play and never getting a turn because basically they were being conned.  Even worse, one of them kept taking my son's ball cap and slapping it on his own head and getting my son all upset.  We have worked for years with his therapist to teach him about 'personal space' and here this 6 foot tall, 250 lb teenager was violating it.  

So, I initially said that they needed to give my kids their ball back because they weren't playing fair.  Yes, I actually was managing to keep from kicking anyone in the groin and behaving like an adult.  That is until one of the boys starts to argue with me and has the gall to tell me that my kids were 'happy' with the way things were.  

Really, assface?  Cause they didn't seem happy when they came to me about it.  They seemed positively weepy, ya know, the opposite of happy.

Still, I didn't run for a butcher knife or a baseball bat.  I just told them to give the ball up and that they should be ashamed of themselves for trying to bully little kids out of a playground game.  AND the shits had the nerve to continue to yell and argue and act obnoxious.  

Then... then I lost my cool.  I thought my left eye was going to pop out on to my cheek and dangle from the pressure in my head.  I do know I was shrieking 'You are WRONG!!  WRONG!!  Cheating little kids with their own ball when you are frigging grown!  You should be so ashamed!'  One of them did the usual rude and disrespectful rolling of the eyes and stupid cocky look teenagers like to do and the other still is trying to argue his point.  Like I would ever agree that it was OK to pull such stupid crap on little kids, but most especially mine!  My parting words were "I'm an adult.  You are a punk.  I am right.  You are wrong and don't even think of doing this again"  Yes, I realize now that I sounded like Mr.  Wormwood from Matilda, but I was irate.  The fact that I felt stabby and no one was bleeding is the best outcome I can manage.

So, tonight, when the winds are howling, I will be especially watchful for small Kansas farmhouses to land on my witchy ass.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Guess the 'pocalypse missed us...

I have to confess to one of my many parenting failures.  I allowed my kids to watch the end of the world movies The Knowing and 2012 a couple years ago.  Since then, my son especially, has been unusually concerned with the world exploding or shifting out of orbit or flooding.

I have felt lousy about it and I get exasperated, because he obsesses and I try to reason with him, but he persists in his fear.

I am sure you all heard about the nut-bait loser that was forecasting doomsday would occur yesterday.  Well, if I could have gotten my hands on him, I could have ensured his meeting with the Lord.  Every kid I knew was a nervous wreck over this crap.

Some of them pretended they didn't believe it or care, but when a storm moved in yesterday evening, they all freaked.  Seriously, I could shake that chicken-necked bastard until he shat himself.

Once the storm passed we experienced a very surreal sepia-toned sky that washed everything with a mellow light and a rainbow.  Then, the sky lightened just before the sun set to show beautiful foamy clouds that reminded me of waves on a beach.  My kids, the neighbor kids and I all stood outside admiring the sky.  I did not get a decent picture of the rainbow,  my camera just isn't good for that, but I did manage to get some other shots to show the yellow-tint and beautiful clouds.

My daughter doesn't want me to take her pic, but that isn't the interesting thing about this photo.  The impending ninja showdown behind her is.

My backyard under a yellow sky.

Clouds, clouds and more clouds.

After everyone realized that they were not in fact going to die, they went back to being kids and playing until dark.

Did you notice how many kids are in my immediate vicinity?  Maybe that explains these interesting finds in the flower patch:

Everything appears OK from this view.  

Oh, look!  My very expensive frigging mop!!

This one amuses me.  I imagine the twiddlebugs had 
an off-roading accident.
Remember these guys?

And I like how pretty the rain drops on the leaves are.

C'mon kids, really?!

Finally, I wanted to share the pictures my youngest made for me.  See if you can figure out what she drew?

I love how the guy on the left is on a 'hill'.

It is Curious George and the Man in the Yellow Hat.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Basic Training

My neighbor's son is going to Basic Training in a few days and she is understandably worried and reluctant to see her 'baby' go.  Basic is hard, but it isn't nearly as bad as people think it will be.

Except the second week- you have been there long enough to get really tired and think 'what have I gotten into?', but you still have what seems an interminable amount of time before you are done.  Yeah, the second weeks sucks.

Many of you all may not know that I was in the Air Force.  I originally signed up to work in public affairs but ended up as a photographer- a fantastic job.  I was stationed in S. California (which I hated) and Alaska (which I loved).
Pictured: Me in 1992 the day I left basic with the douchebag I married.

Today, I will share one of my truly hysterical experiences from my time at Basic with you all.

I don't think anyone likes Basic Training, but it is a worthwhile experience.  Mostly unpleasant and definitely exhausting, I learned skills that I still use today.

The first day, we were transported by a big ugly green bus to Lackland AFB near San Antonio, Texas (side note: I hate Texas, too.)  Just like in the movies, the drill instructors start yelling at you and ordering you around before you even disembark from the bus.  I was mentally rolling my eyes at their 'show', but I did as I was told.

Once outside, we were put in formation and made to stand holding our luggage for about 15 minutes whilst they worked on elevating their blood pressure and laryngitis.  One of the main objectives of basic is to weed out people with weak minds and constitutions and toughen up the rest.

This is done, as you might imagine, with a lot of mind games and exhausting tasks.  Though, I have heard that now, they are not allowed to do things like wake you in the middle of the night for surprise inspections.  In case anyone is wondering, this was the part where I felt most murderous.

I don't remember how exactly I caught the attention of the drill instructor from our 'brother flight' (the male group that was going to complete basic with our female group), because I already knew to keep my head down and my mouth shut.  A very important skill in these situations is to make yourself as invisible and average as possible.  This crucial knowledge was passed to me from my father and all of his friends who were  drill instructors.

Under no circumstances do you want to draw attention to yourself and dear God, DO NOT volunteer for anything.

Brown-nosing was not rewarded.   They will assign you something, but if you stay off their radar, it will be a much less rotten task.

Anyhoo, Sgt.  Red-Face-With-Bulging-Blood-Vessels gets in my face and is bellowing a bunch of stuff that I am not really supposed to respond to.  So I don't.  Then, he orders me to put my suitcases down.  Then pick them up.  Then put them down. And then he tells me to keep doing it until I am ordered to stop.

I didn't much care.  Even after about 20 minutes. I used to be in really good shape and I was raised by a former soldier who thought his  children were recruits, anyway.  So far, this was an average Tuesday.

Now, in my right hand was a cheap gym bag filled with toiletries and jeans.    In my left hand was a horrific monstrosity made by Samsonite, circa 1970.  It was that special 70's shade of orange and hard plastic.

During my whole luggage lifting routine, the instructors are screaming rules and procedures at us about things like meals and wake up times and the ever important never do anything without express permission, including have a bowel movement.  They like to say shocking things.

 About the same time they wind down, some 30 odd minutes later, my gym bag is falling open and stuff is flopping out.

I foolishly thought  to fix it, but was immediately screamed at for stopping the whole lift and lower routine.  I was a bit peeved, but still pretty unfazed.  That is until one particularly good slam of the big orange suitcase on the concrete (my arms were getting  tired) and the whole thing popped open.

Now, the wind can be pretty strong in Texas and the way they designed the buildings we trained in, it funneled between them  in huge gusts.

So, there I am, lifting and lowering two open, flapping pieces of luggage and my best Victoria's Secret (yep, back before kids I could not only afford it, but I could fit it!) articles are blowing all over.  There were snickers and giggles, even from me.  This only led to more time lifting and lowering the suitcases while everyone else went to claim their beds.

Finally, Sgt. Red-Face comes back and tells me to go pick up all my stuff.  I end up chasing panties, bras and t-shirts all over the area and even have to suffer the embarrassment of having some  well-meaning male soldiers return items to me that they had picked up.

I had a huge laugh that first night with some girls from my unit about what had happened and to this day, this story always tickles me when I picture my unmentionables blowing all around everyone's ankles as we all tried to keep our composure.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A funny/ not funny story from 13 years ago...

I will get to the story in a moment.

First, I would like to reassure anyone that was concerned about the horrifying state of my house/ children after my last post.  I have cleaned up.  I have cooked.  The very next day, in fact.  I have proof:

This is how we homeschool.  No, my son usually can't keep his eyes open for a flash photo.

I cleaned the kitchen.  Disregard the bulging cupboards.

I even baked.

Now, that you don't expect to watch me on 'Hoarders' this week, I can continue with my story.  I got the idea to share after reading another blogger's post about the kindness she receives when pregnant.  You can read it at Katydid & Kid. got me thinking about how nice people were to me when I was pregnant and how lovely it was.  But surely, I am not going to bore you with stories of people being kind to me.  Nope, I got a better one.

When I was 8 1/2 months pregnant with my first child (13 long years ago), I went to the grocery store  near my house one day.  I lived in Rome, NY (my hometown) at the time on the 'wrong' side of town. 

The trip went smoothly enough (as smoothly as it can in a dilapidated store with incredibly uneven floors, spotty lighting and visible filth).  I just needed a few essentials.

Once in the very long checkout line, I was penned in like cattle at a slaughterhouse.  On one side was the magazine rack on the other was a candy rack.  As I stood scanning the tabloid covers about Sinatra's death

I felt the cart behind me hit me in the back.  It pushed my big pregnant belly into my cart, shoving it into the old woman in front of me.  I gave an evil glance over my shoulder ( I could never have turned around in the tiny space I had), but figured it was just an accident.  

Until it happened again, with more force.  This time I managed not to nail the woman in front of me, but my back and belly both took the blow and it was uncomfortable to say the least.  

Turning slightly, I said, 'Hey, can you watch your cart?  You are ramming me and I am going to hit the lady in front of me, too.'

No response, but I figured I had solved the problem and began debating the merits of having a Mars bar. 



By this time, the lady in front of me was done checking out and it was my turn.  Because she was gone, I had room to move my cart and maneuver.  I looked at the cashier with a stupidly  shocked look, to see if she noticed what was happening.  If she did notice, her vacant expression and gum chomping did not show it.

I raised my voice a bit and said, "Why do you keep hitting me with your cart?  It hurts!"

The friggin jerk snickers and looks around and says, "Maybe if you weren't so fat..."

I felt all the blood in my body rush to my face and if I hadn't been hugely pregnant, I might now be wearing an orange jumpsuit as a guest of the Oneida County Correctional Facility.  What I did do was push my cart forward, pivot and face him and yell, "I am 9 months pregnant, you f-ing idiot!!"

You could hear the gasps.  Everyone was riveted and they were looking at him like he was something distasteful stuck on their shoe. You could actually feel their collective censure.  He mumbled a 'sorry' and left the store, but I couldn't calm down.

The thing that made me the most angry was not that he was assaulting my big pregnant ass with his cart, but that somehow people weren't at all concerned if he was assaulting a fat woman.  The message, don't touch a pregnant lady, but feel free to ram the hell out of every heifer with the audacity to breathe.  

I feel kind of wound up to this day when I think of it.

Why can't we, as humans, treat everyone like we do pregnant ladies?  With kindness, consideration and friendliness, instead of the usual rudeness we often spew at strangers.  It would certainly be a nicer world if we did.

Finally, I wonder if that guy ever showed his face at that grocery store again.  I am fairly certain he didn't ram anymore 'fat' chicks.


Monday, May 16, 2011

Danger Zone

I have felt funky this weekend (brewing cold, visit from evil women's curse, more rain and gloom) so I haven't done much.  My house was clean on Friday.  I swear.  Totally clean.  I even scrubbed the whole bathroom and made my bed- you would have thought royalty was visiting.

I did throw food at the kids on a regular basis all weekend and I started work on my youngest daughter's room/closet.  I needed to get rid of outgrown clothes and separate the winter from summer clothes.  Otherwise, my daughter would go searching for something and toss EVERYTHING.  Infuriating?  Yes.  However, when she would then announce she couldn't find anything to wear and I had to wade through shin high piles of clothing, part of my soul shriveled.

Since I have a smashing headache, I decided to be true to form (lazy) and mostly post photos.

The weather sucked all weekend, so the kids played indoors.
Because I lacked 'scream' power, they left their toys cussin' everywhere!
Yes, toys in front of the sink.  Perfect excuse not to wash a dish for 2 days.
Yes, this table looks like crap.  However, count the frigging cups and you will note that either I doubled my family size or they are all terrified of their own backwash and germs.  
I didn't just sit around all weekend.  I did manage some work.  4 hours of work and I got a pile of winter clothes (top right) and several toy bins organized.
Just some of the clothes to be donated.  One pile was already given.
This is how her room looks this morning.  I pooped out before finishing.  Can you infer how horrifying this space was before intervention?
Since I am icky feeling, I did not jump into school work.  Yet.
I asked them to read their books for their book reports.  This is what I saw when I checked on them.
It isn't like we lack in books.
There are still more books in boxes waiting to be donated.
I thought I would get a bit of air while it wasn't raining.  I had hoped it would 'wake me up'.  Here is one of my sunflowers.
Found this in the flower bed.  Yes.  It is a sock.  I am not kidding when I say that weeds are the least annoying things found in my yard.
Upon returning to the house I sat to write this post and noticed this under the table.
It is a cussin' piece of shriveled pizza from when I ordered some on Saturday!!
If I were the type to drink, I might start a bender, if only I could find a clean glass.
What my 6 year old ate cereal out of this morning, because I just didn't have the gumption to dismantle the dinosaur train in the kitchen and do dishes.

To add to all this misery, I have given up my last vice- diet soda and all that wonderful caffeine.

Those of you that read regularly will remember how I discovered that I was getting fatter.  It is so sad really, because I had given up most sweets and I only eat baked goods if I bake them (hoping the effort somehow reduces the sin).  But, I clung to my Diet Dr. Pepper like Whitney Houston to a crack pipe and denial.  I even suffered through an occasional kidney stone, just to keep sucking down my fizzy goodness.

Of course, I have heard for several years reports that link diet soda and artificial sweetners to increased obesity, but I treated them like urban legends.  

But, I was GETTING FATTER!!  Even after realizing I was getting fatter and I made a conscious effort to watch my total intake and I increased my physical activity.  I even sat doing bicep curls and leg lifts when I watched NCIS.

Then, I read some articles and while I still think it is a cosmic case of BS (not as in a fallacy, but as in, this totally cussin' sucks), it does seem that diet soda was not helping my ever increasing mass problem.  I linked to just a couple of the articles that make a compelling case.

So, I thought, why not try it.  It will only suck one of the few remaining joys in your life away like a harpy.  AND... I feel like a total ass!!  I have drank diet soda for over 20 years.  I shunned regular soda, because I was so used to the way diet tasted and I thought that surely it was better to not consume all those calories.  I am an idiot!!

In the past 3 weeks I have had a total of two diet and 4 regular sodas.  The rest of the time it has been water, milk and the occasional juice.  Guess what?  I have lost a size.  A whole freaking size in 3 weeks from giving up my 6 pack of diet soda a day habit.  

Do I miss it?  Not as much as I thought.  The first week I didn't drink any soda and the next time I tried some, it seemed too bubbly and strangely burny to my throat and just kind of 'off'.  Funny.  

I guess from now on soda will be the occasional treat- like the Coke I had with that pizza on Saturday.  Kinda wish I had done this years ago.  I would have saved loads of money, maybe not had my own gravitational pull and even probably had a few more teeth.

Now, if only I could change myself into one of those cleaning freaks.  I just might be the person I want to be...for the second half of my life.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Spring time!!

I have my front door open to get some fresh air.  Of course, this means that I also get to listen to the 8 kids on my porch.  Hmmmm....

I finished up the kids' school work early and started on a pan of yeast rolls for dinner.  They finished about 30 minutes ago and they were absolutly the best rolls I have ever eaten!!
I have eaten 3 of these already.  My tummy is way too full, but I would do it again.

My son is a fan!

I forced my daughter to let me take this picture.  She apparently is embarrassed that people might realize she eats.  Frigging skinny girl media.

In other boring and self-involved news: my little wildflower/sunflower patch up front is making progress. 
Note the cheap, ghetto fence in front.  I thought it would deter the kids from walking right in my flowers.  It works for feet, but they still throw balls, garbage and most recently a chair in there.  No,  my kids aren't doing it, so I can't rip their arms off.

This patch had a gas can and some juice pouches in here this morning.  But, the flowers are still coming along.

We have a big patch of honeysuckle that grows wild out back and it has started blooming.  I love the wonderful smell and the kids love to suck the nectar from the flowers.

My youngest with her 'treat'.

I thought I would take a pic to show you the area where the honeysuckle grows.

This is the left side of my back yard.  But wait...

What is this abomination lying in my yard?!

OH! HELL! NO!  Some neighbor kid left his creepy thing on my lawn!!

I think the only thing that will calm me down is another yeast roll...and shutting the front door!