Monday, December 31, 2007

The deed is done

After spending the better part of Saturday and Sunday clearing, storing, swearing, and complaining; all traces of Christmas have been removed. I did take pity on the Saint though; the outside lights are still up. It is too cold and snowy to make him tackle that chore just yet.

It is cold here. The ice and snow have taken their toll, and I am DONE.



But on a sunny day our sun room is very pleasant.


This couch is perfect for napping if you're short like me small of stature.




And I love this lamp.


It's a great room to display pieces that don't necessarily fit the decor in the rest of the house.

I bought this in Sausalito.



You know what's truly amazing though? A mere forty eight hours ago the room looked like this!:



Saturday, December 29, 2007

Where's the damn Christmas Spirit now?

THIS is the time of year I want to crawl back in bed and pull the covers up over my head. I bitch and moan with the best about too much to do in too little time leading up to Christmas. But in reality, if my end goal was to sit with my feet up on the evening of December 23rd drinking a glass of champagne in front of the fire? I had FOUR weeks between Thanksgiving weekend and Christmas Eve Eve to get most everything done. And with a few tiny exceptions everything was done.

Oh the cooking can't be helped. There is simply only so much that can be done ahead. But overall? I had a pretty relaxing holiday. AND I had the Saint's family staying here. And I cooked Christmas Eve Dinner (but only for seven this year), Christmas Breakfast AND Christmas Dinner (now for thirteen). And we throw a small birthday party Christmas afternoon. So yeah, the afternoon of December 26th finds me a wee bit tired.

But now everything has to come down, get washed/cleaned and stored for another year. It is not fun, there is no anticipatory excitement helping spur things along. And who wants to drag the process out for four days let alone four weeks? So here I sit trying to figure out a way to motivate myself to undo Christmas.

If anyone has a thought as to how to make this less painful? I'll be right here waiting for suggestions. No, seriously, I'll wait.

Friday, December 28, 2007

A re-cap in pictures

Christmas Eve: 12:00 PM

Precious Youngest and Precious Oldest are back from the airport with Uncle Spud. The Saint is at the grocery for the second time today because in all my meal prep and planning? I had nothing for lunch. So I waited for him to return and pondered my very tall fourth week* advent candle (*technically only two days long this year).




Christmas Eve - 2:45 PM

Should be getting ready for the imminent arrival of more house guests and dressing for 4:00 Mass, but instead am talking to my sister.



Dinner is over and all are sated. The annual opening of the Christmas PJ's is complete.

Cookies for Santa &
Carrots for the Reindeer


Christmas Morning 8:00 AM
Santa came, but where are the children?



OK, OK already. I'm up, but I didn't say you could start taking pictures!



Presents for Fiona!



Precious Youngest realizes that good things (like iPods) do come in small packages!



Precious Oldest has been begging for a pony for YEARS!



Wait, what was that in the bottom of the box?



Car keys?!?! (Ten years old, but one owner and only 80,000 miles!)



Oh my gawd! She dropped the car keys!



They slid all the way under the stove!



Not our best angle to be sure!

Oh that mom, she is a clever one!

The Precious Daughters got me theses cannisters I had been coveting.


The Saint got me an iPod Nanno. Which I am sure he now regrets as I can't figure out how to load music by myself.


And this DVD, one of my favorites.



We ended the day with birthday cake.


There is more to tell, but I have to put some time in at work. How was your Christmas?

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Happy Birthday Precious Oldest

Nineteen years ago today Precious Oldest came into our lives. Oh yes, the Christmas baby. I’ve always told her that any December birthday sucketh mightily, if you have to share your day, it might as well be with the Baby Jesus!

The pregnancy had been long and difficult. The labor had been long and difficult. The birth, oh my gawd the birth, I won’t even speak of today. But the pure unadulterated joy when out she came! “It’s a girl!” said the nurses. “She’s perfect!” they proclaimed. And here is the EXACT conversation that transpired between me and the Saint:

Fannie: sobbing “It’s a girl? Everybody was wrong, everybody was wrong!”

Saint: shocked “I can’t believe it’s a girl!”

Worried glances among the gathered medical staff – WTF? So it’s not a boy, big deal!

Fannie: making frantic gimmee, gimmee motions “I didn’t want to say it, but I really, really wanted a daughter!”

Saint: with delight “I’ll never have to go to The Nutcracker* again!”

* and he hasn’t!

True story folks. Everyone, I do NOT exaggerate, EVERYONE, complete STRANGERS, told me I was having a boy. They were never wrong they said. I was carrying low they said. They carried just that way with ALL FOUR SONS they said. I was resigned content. In my heart of hearts I wanted a daughter, but I did not speak of this. Just let the baby be whole and healthy.

And so she was. Ten fingers, ten toes, and only small dents and bruises from the use of giant salad spoons to haul her melon head coax her out of my womb. Coal black hair covering her entire head. (Which, by the way, all fell out to be replaced by downy blond. I smacked the cat for several days thinking she was climbing in the baby’s crib before I realized there were giant bald patches on the back of Precious Oldest’s head!)

She is one of the smartest people I know.



She sings like an angel.



She has beautiful green eyes - we don't know where she got them.



For the first year of her life she didn't nap for more than twenty minutes at a time.



In elementary school her teachers would leave notes for the substitutes, "If you don't know what to do, ask Precious Oldest."



She graduated high school in the top ten in her class.



She won an Ursaline Award; given for four years of scholarship, leadership and community service.



She sometimes infuriates me.



She makes me laugh out out.



When we're alone she lies with her head in my lap and lets me stroke her hair.



She is and will always be the best Christmas present EVER.



Happy birthday baby girl, I love you!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Peace On Earth

I wish you and yours a joyous and blessed Christmas!!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Happy Winter Solstice

For a person who loathes winter I really dig the Winter Solstice. Because from here on out? The days will start getting LONGER!! I don't mind the cold and the snow too much during the Christmas season. It seems fitting and I'm not yet overly weary of boots, slush, wet dog paws, gritty floors, filthy vehicles, and rugs that have to be washed every other day. However, once Epiphany rolls around? I am DONE.

We had our office Christmas lunch at 1:00 and I'm done until December 27th. We even got a Christmas bonus this year, which let me tell ya in the non-profit world? Is almost unheard of.

I'm home to start wrapping, of which I've done exactly zero. That leaves Saturday and Sunday to make lists and do grocery runs. I'm still fleshing out the menu but here is what's shaping up:

Christmas Eve
Chicken in a Rosemary Cream Sauce
Wild Mushroom Risotto
Green Beans
?????

Christmas Day
Prime Rib of Beef
White Potatoes
Sweet Potatoes
Green Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette
??????

I'm sure after a glass of wine inspirations will strike. Until then, Happy Solstice!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

It's just a spark

Things are a bit brighter in Whoville. Many thanks to you all for your kind thoughts and prayers. SIL remains in the hospital, but is holding on (in?) and at this point no news is good news. My brother takes his last finals tomorrow, so that should relieve some tension.

Last night the Saint and I met some friends to listen to a local band. They interspersed the sets with Christmas carols, and do you know? It made me feel just a teensy bit Christmassy.

My flicker of Christmas spirit may also have to do with the fact that we have reached some sort of d├ętente on the home front. Some weeks back Precious Oldest had asked if a couple of her new college friends could come and stay with us during Christmas break. (Oh, wait. She attends a public University. They probably call it “Winter Break” or some other “PC” designation.) I was thrilled and said "YES, YES, YES!" One of the harder things, for me, about this whole separation has been not knowing her friends. That has never been the case before and it has been peculiar to hear her talk about “friends” who I’d never met and knew nothing about.

Anyhoodle, despite my misgivings (due to Precious Oldest’s recent bad attitude) in to our fair city they came. Tuesday evening all three girls joined us for dinner along with another new friend who lives in our metropolitan area. It was delightful. Evidently my sighing, moaning and gnashing of teeth excellent parenting skills caused Precious Oldest to declare a truce. We had a wonderful time and sat at the table for a good hour and a half enjoying easy conversation with some truly lovely young women. I have observed before that seeing the Precious Daughters through the eyes of their friends gives me a new appreciation for them. I think it’s quite possible the reverse can be true; if your friends think your parental units are pretty OK? Then maybe you’ll cut them some slack already! For my part, I am grateful to have peeked through a window to catch a glimpse of her new life.

So it's there. This faint glimmer of Christmas spirit. I'm going to try to enjoy it.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Where were you at 2 AM?

I am moping about today people. The Christmas spirit I had gamely mustered and tried to keep alive? Is gone. I'm tired. Our power went off and on, and off and on, and finally just off in the middle of the night. So I had the distinct pleasure of lying in the dark thinking black thoughts.

My SIL is back in the hospital trying to keep her twin boys in her uterus WHERE THEY BELONG RIGHT NOW!. She's only twenty seven weeks along and the doctors don't think either baby weighs over two pounds. My poor brother is in his last year of law school and is trying to study for finals. He sounded so stressed last night. All I can do is pray, but it doesn't seem like enough.

Precious Oldest is home and after the first twenty four hours? The bloom was most definitely off the rose. I was so looking forward to her being home. And to meeting some of her college friends. Now I'm walking on egg shells. Disdain. Everything I do, everything I say, is met with disdain. And yes, I'm quite certain that it does BLOW to come home to a PARENT, with EXPECTATIONS, after months of FREEDOM. But you know what? The attitude hurts all the same. Being wrong all the time is sucking the joy out of me.

I think I'll stop by church on my way home and light a candle. Maybe two.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Breaking News and Holiday Update

Too much going on. Too much left to do. Resorting to bullets.

  • Ass intact, whiplash much improved. Thanks to you all for your outpouring of concern.
  • Excellent Board meeting last week, am beloved by all for providing Omelet bar for holiday breakfast.
  • Precious Oldest is home from college. Is having new friends from the Princeton on the Prairie to visit us this week.
  • Met this awesome woman for a drink last week. Great fun, we had much in common.

    On my mind today:

  • Baking 75% complete!
  • Shopping 80% complete!
  • Decorating 95% complete!
  • Holiday Cards 0% complete. This is not looking good.
  • Menu planning for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day 0% complete. GAAHH!
  • Making Red Beans and Rice with Andouille Sausage for dinner.
  • Will make meatballs to feed hungry visiting college students today too.
  • Kitchen floor needs a good hands and knees scrubbing.


Geez, what am I doing talking you people, I need to get my ass in gear.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

The weather outside is frightful


Inside looks more delightful



Behold.....Paco!


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I got my snow day!

Well technically an ice day, but who cares! First off, let me begin by saying that yesterday I was still in a great deal of discomfort. Enough so that I took the heating pad in to work. And USED it. My boss was so shocked by my little display of weakness that she sent me home in the early afternoon, after having extracted a promise that if the roads were bad in the morning I would NOT risk further injury by tying to be brave and come in to the office. (Hee!)

So I did what any sensible person asshat would do. Went home and decided to bake the gingerbread dough chilling in the wine cooler downstairs refrigerator into appealing holiday cookies. To say this was not a good idea is an understatement. I’m pretty sure there is a baking god somewhere in this world, and when I find him? I’m going to kick his ass. I had tried a new recipe (Why? WHY?) and the dough was a disaster. Sticky beyond belief. I struggled for about twenty minutes before dumping the whole lot in the trash and making a new batch from the OLD recipe. By then the kitchen was an unmitigated disaster and I was in PAIN people! Then I took some advice from the Drawer Queen and made the Saint take me out to dinner. A few glasses of wine, a few hours with the heating pad and off I went into the arms of Morpheus.

And it turns out I CAN PREDICT THE FUCKING FUTURE PEOPLE!!! In the wee hours of the morning? The power went out! So my alarm did not go off! But the power came the fuck back on, so I had heat and lights and coffee when I finally got up! And I read the paper! In my PJ’s! And watched two episodes of “Project Runway”! And I had french bread with brie and a glass of wine for lunch! And then I finished a book! And now the Internets are back up and I can post about it! And now I’m tired and ready for a nap……

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Dudes, my kids were right!

OK, I need for you to get a mental picture firmly in place. Are you ready? Seriously, close your eyes and concentrate. You know that look that teenagers get from time to time? The one where they look at you like you are the stupidest human being on the face of the earth? A complete and total moron? Yeah, THAT one. I personally have always felt it was undeserved. But guess what? They were right! I AM a moron. I managed to give myself whiplash getting the newspaper.

Seriously, I am in pain. Worse today than yesterday. I can't turn my head. Plus I pulled something in my right hip and so am seriously gimping along. I'm taking Aleve and using the heating pad. Which helps. But only for an hour or so. I seriously think I'm going to have to haul the heating pad to the office if I still feel like this tomorrow.

There is, however, good news. For weeks I have torn through closets trying to find my special Christmas shirt. This is what I wear to decorate, cook, or bake anything related to Christmas. I've had it probably eight years. It's lightweight and has a nice half zip at the top, lined with red corduroy. But I COULD NOT FIND IT. Now ordinary I would blame the children for having pilfered my closet yet again. Except in this case? I knew they'd rather die than be caught wearing this particular beauty of a clothing item. Ahem, so I mentioned to the Saint this week that I COULD NOT FIND IT ANYWHERE and guess what? He produced it in a matter of minutes!!


I know, you are all SUPER jealous right now. I can hear you thinking to yourselves, "If only I had Fannie's sense of style!" If Tim Gunn shows up on my doorstep I am so putting this on the "keep" rack, I don't care WHAT he says. Nothing says "Happy Holidays" quite like this shirt. Well except maybe this apron:


I want pictures of YOUR favorite holiday outfit!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Oh what a beautiful morning

Well my day is off to a spectacular start. I let the dog out, started a pot of coffee, and went out to get the paper. In my nightie and robe. My pea brain DID register wet pavement. But we had some snow two days ago. Snow melts. This phenomenon causes pavement to appear wet. When in fact night time temperatures have dipped and the perceived moisture is a thin coat of ice.

I'm sure it looked like a scene straight out of the "Three Stooges". Feet flying up in the air, arms waving wildly for non-existent support, the thud of one's bottom then head hitting the ground. Me laying there dazed and dizzy and trying to figure how in the hell I was going to get up. Good times!

Fortunately the Saint heard the girly shrieking thud and came to my rescue. I've had coffee and Alleve. I think I'll be OK. No doubt the bruise on my ass will be enormous, and my neck is feeling very stiff. But Paco is still shivering in the cold and those cookies are not going to bake themselves, so I shall press on. But I might need a Hot Toddy first!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Sing us a song, you're the Piano Man

OK, seriously. Billy Joel ROCKED! But I have to tell you the dude is OLD. When he first came on stage the Saint and I looked at each other like WTF? I mean we look exactly the same as we did when “Uptown Girl” was a hit song! So what the hell happened to him? (Oh yeah, I think he's a teenage daughter survivor - that could explain a thing or two) Then he looks out and says. “Hi, I’m Billy’s dad. Billy can’t make it tonight!” It was great! He threw in a few Christmas tunes and I got to sing “Angels We Have Heard On High” with Billy Joel! (Well, me and 1,000’s of my closest friends.) Much fun, but I will admit to moving slowly this morning and muttering under my breath “Dude, I am too old to go to concerts on school nights.”

Thursday, December 6, 2007

The Other Daughters

It appears I have confused my legion of fans two readers with the sudden appearance of additional daughters. Their first names both happen to start with a “J”. I thought the clever use of "parenthesis" around their "names" would alleviate confusion. I was wrong. Anyhoo, I promised their stories, and so it shall be.

Each of my girls has a best friend; these girls are like sisters. I consider them part of the family. They feel the same. Precious Oldest met "Precious Eldest" in a computer class the summer before their Freshman year. It was BFFs at first sight. She is a few months older than Precious Oldest, so I'm calling her "Precious Eldest". We have known “Precious Middle” all of her life. She was Precious Youngest's first friend. (If you call babies playing on blankets next to each other friends.) She was born nine months before Precious Youngest, so I'm calling her “Precious Middle”.

They all attend(ed) the same Catholic high school. About a week before graduation, the Senior class has a retreat. Each parent writes a letter to their child and the child receives the letter(s) at the retreat. I wrote a letter to "Precious Eldest" too. I will do the same for "Precious Middle". Because I can not imagine our family without them.

They've eaten here, showered here, slept here, stayed up all damn night here, cried here, laughed here. They've spent countless days at the lake with us, gone on vacation with us, gone to church with us, gone to concerts with us. Through them I see my daughters with different eyes. And whoo boy, sometimes I need that.

********
In other new, it snowed a bit here today so I "had to leave the office early because the roads are bad". This will not however, stop me from going to the Billy Joel concert with the Saint tonight! Wheee!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree

We went to get our Christmas Tree last night. I remember last year realizing that it was likely the last time Precious Oldest would be with us to celebrate that tradition. (In fact, I recall getting a bit misty!) So this year to fill the void we had "Precious Middle"* come for dinner and to help pick out the tree. She's come with us before; it felt right, less forlorn. (* Editor's Note -I will post soon about my other daughters, "Precious Middle" and "Precious Eldest")

We used to do the whole Christmas Tree farm, hay ride, cut down your own tree shebang. But when the Precious Daughters got to a certain point in school what with the recitals, choirs, programs, sports, homework, and a Partridge in a Pear Tree? We gave up that particular tradition. I mean really? Who has that kind of time? So for intervening ten or so years we have supported a local Boy Scout troop that runs a Christmas Tree lot as a fundraiser. (My grandfather was an Eagle Scout, my father is an Eagle Scout, my brothers are Eagle Scouts, I married an Eagle Scout - are you getting the picture?) We always get a Fraser Fir. It is always about the same size. I don't know if it is the species or the stellar quality of this particular tree lot, but the trunk is always straight and the branches nicely spaced.

With all this lead in I'm sure you're wondering what glorious thrills make up this tradition. Erm, well, there aren't any. The whole thing takes about three minutes. No, really, go ahead and time us. On very cold years, by the time the Saint finds us on the lot after parking the car (because girls are too delicate to walk very far in the cold – SNORT), we’ll have already picked out tree out and some hapless Scout will be dragging it to be trimmed and bagged. And we pride ourselves on our speed. As in we take note of the time as we leap from the car and try to beat last year's record.

The only real hemming and hawing comes in with the naming. (What? You don't name your Christmas Trees?) I'm not sure how this tradition got started, but the girls name the tree. Something Spanish; alternating male and female. (Don't look at me, I think they get this from their father!) This year Precious Oldest had to be consulted by phone. Much discussion ensued. The verdict was in before I had written the check: Paco. Lovely, no?

SIGH. So anyhoo, Paco is still outside soaking his newly shorn trunk in a bucket of water. Some night this week we will commence with the annual throw down putting the tree in the fucking stand; immediately followed by grounds for divorce stringing up the lights. Why do we do it? It's tradition damn it!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

A Trail of Tears... and Towels

OK so not so much the Trail of Tears, as the trail of tears and towels. (And no, I am not making light of a sad chapter in our nation's history. In fact if you want some interesting reading I recommend 1,000 White Women by Jim Fergus. It is the fictional journal of a woman and her life among the Cheyenne Indians. I read it several years ago and COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN. ) But I digress.

OK remember the bathroom project? I'm attempting some finishing touches. Not artwork for god's sake - that will be forever and a day. Just a rug and some towels. For the time being it is not critical. It is after all Christmas and I have a .....well a..... sort of a ....problem. I decorate for Christmas. In every room.


But again, I digress. It is a small bathroom, so just a small rug. And some hand towels. How hard can that be? If you are me? VERY DAMN HARD! I started on Sunday at Kohl's. Moving merrily though "linens" I found some delightful Laura Ashley towels and a rug in "Patina"


But I thought it was too much a "blue" green. So I went to Macy's. And bought just a hand towel. In "Green Tea".


Piff. No good. Undaunted, back to Macy's after work on Monday to purchase every green towel that might be remotely acceptable. On the left is "Eucalyptus" and on the right, "Basil".



I liked "Eucalyptus" and " Basil". But I loved "Eucalyptus", so I got on line to place an order. Guess what? The rug? Only comes in "Ivy". Not "Eucalyptus", not "Basil", fucking "IVY". So today at lunch I ran out to Dillard's and brought home "Clove".

Not so much. So now I think I'm back to "Patina". No matter what I decide? Three days, five sets of towels, multiple merchandise returns to multiple stores. As the Saint would say, "Merry F%@#ing Christmas"!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Whoo Hoo! Day 30!

So I'm thinking this NaBloPoMo thingy is a little like child birth; just when you think you can't go on for ONE MORE SECOND it's over, and six months from now I'll remember every painful detail, but none of the pain. Thanks for playing along!

***************


Today is Sib #2's birthday. We had a very nice lunch. Some day soon I'll tell you her story. Happy Birthday #2!

***************


Yesterday the Saint played a little hooky from work. This is what he did with his time:

1. Washed the windows I had been moaning about.
2. Bought the rest of the goodies for Precious Oldest’s “Finals Care Package”.
3. Bought me a present which I still haven’t opened.
4. Took me out to dinner.

This is not atypical behavior. At all. So what the hell is wrong with me?

***************
I'm too tired to go into all the details right now (yeah, awake at 3 a.m. sucketh mightily!) but there is some weird shit going on with Blogger comments and I'm thinking of making a switch. Problem is ALL PAST comments will disappear from the site. And let me tell you, sometimes your comments make better reading than my posts! And so I deliberate. Thoughts?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

1985

* Editor's Note: I am phoning this in. Read at your own risk.

In 1985 Ronald Reagan was President. A first class stamp cost 22 cents. The Royals won the World Series. Amadeus won an Oscar for best picture. "What's Love Got to Do With It" by Tina Turner won a Grammy. I tricked the Saint into marrying me on June 22nd, 1985.

Let's recount the first time I met the Saint shall we? It was spring break of my junior year of college (1983). I had broken up with a guy I'd been seeing for a little over a year. For me, that was a very long time. I was not looking. I took off with my dad and Sib#2 for a ski trip. We went back home and I had a few days before I returned to college. I had only maintained one friendship from high school (not that I put heart and soul into the experience or anything). That friend was going to a local college and she wanted to get together while I was in town. It was St. Patrick's Day and we hit one of the local watering holes. (Don't bother doing the math - I was underage) She had started dating this great guy who had a roommate (the Saint) and the real agenda was that the Saint and I should meet.

Just as I was pleading that it really was time to go, who should show up but the boyfriend and the Saint. The Saint had on a green plastic derby and a large button that said "Kiss Me I'm Irish". And he preceded to kiss just about every girl in the place. Except ME. Later he admitted that I scared the shit out of him, but at the time I just remember being largely unimpressed.

Nonetheless, part B of the plan was underway. "The First Date." Sheesh. Tried to go to a restaurant that had a gazillion hour wait, so we went to some dive Chinese buffet. We followed that up with a super little movie called High Road To China. Never heard of it? There's a reason. Then back to bar where we met the night before. (Yeah, still with the underage drinking.) So we're having the first real conversation and he asks the inevitable:

Saint: "So, what's your major?" (I know, VERY smooth.)


Me: "English and Art History."


Saint: Snorting and with semi-derisive laughter "Who are YOU going to marry?"

Hee! I guess the joke's on him!

** Editor's Note Note: If I was not a pussy? And posted our actual names? You would realize that the true gold of this story is when young dewy eyed couple , after learning we've been married.....well....longer than they've been alive, asks "So, how did you two meet?" And I get to say "in a bar on St. Patrick's day?" PRICELESS!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Maybe if I swear less?

cash advance



OK, OK I'll try to step up the vocab. Maybe throw in some algebra or something. Or maybe just swear less. *Editor's note: I swiped this from Will Write For Chocolate.


Home Improvement for $500, part two

Nope, still not ALL done. But the walls are "Sprout".




This has been replaced.





By some lovely bead board.





But now I have to put things on the walls.



They may be empty for a while.

*********************************

In other news, my sleep cycle, which has a freaking hair trigger, has been screwed over by Thanksgiving travel. I was up again last night, and I'll let you in on a little something, there is a REASON they use sleep deprivation as a form of torture. At this rate I expect full on psychosis by New Year's.


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I want a snow day

I’m working on about three and a half hours of sleep. Three and a half hours not at a stretch. My mind is muddled and even simple tasks seem insurmountable.

I want a snow day. On a week day. I want to wake up late because the power blinks off in the night so my alarm can’t go off. (But blinks right the fuck back on because I like heat and electricity.) I want to see blankets of snow so high that even in my bad ass, four-wheel drive SUV I will be unable to get to the office. I want to ignore everything that needs to be done at the house. (And I don’t want Catholic guilt fucking it up either.) I want to drink cups of coffee and read the newspaper. I want to watch DVR’d television shows I haven’t had time to watch. In my pajamas. I want to have bread and cheese and wine for lunch. I want to take a nap. I want to soak in the tub. I want to finish the book I started three weeks ago.

I want a snow day damn it; and I want it before I go bat shit.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Catch and Release

I used to say that my girls had an awesome catch and release program. Boys would come into their lives, hover about for a bit, and then be released to move on. Is it not only fair they be rotated back into the cosmic line-up after all?

The problem is that for the most part? The boys never actually LEAVE. Hell, I have "couch sitters" from three and four years ago that still circle around. Remember this sad story? The dude drove Precious Oldest back to school on Sunday! Seriously! The kid who was heartbroken! And when he came to the door? Can you say "awkward"? Do I give him a hug? Acknowledge the, ahem, "new" relationship? What?

Precious Youngest "went out with" a boy in eighth grade. (You do know they don't go anywhere? Or do anything? Except occasionally in mass numbers? Find a different name for it if all you do is sit on my couch and eat my snacks!) This boy is still around; a friend. Last year he dated a girl from a different high school. When they broke up? Precious Youngest kept the ex-girlfriend too. ( A good enough friend to lend Precious Youngest a dress when I was too mean to buy her one.)

This is not the silly break up, get back together, break up, rinse, lather, repeat either. I mean these boys come over to hang out. Have a burger. Watch the game.

So here's the question: Is this typical teen behavior or do my daughters need therapy?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Random Life Lessons

One should not go to a bar to watch THE GAME, drink several beers, leave at half time because you realized "OMG! I still need to post" (why am I still doing this?) , come home and try to post. Drinking and writing do not mix.

____________________



Being on the cover of "Sports Illustrated" before THE GAME truly is a curse.

R.I.P


_______________________

You might think you've raised your teenager to make good decisions. And then they will spend the night at a friends and come home the next morning (having gone to Target with said friend to purchase, with her hard earned cash) wearing these:



_______________________

The people at NaBloPoMo may have a sadistic streak. For those of us who travel over the Thanksgiving holiday it is bitch. Trying to post on a blog that no one is supposed to know about is a whole lot harder with a gazillion people milling about. Particularly when the In Laws have one computer. With dial up. No hiding in the bedroom posting on the laptop for you girlie girl!!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

I can't spell during football

I? Am not a beastly football fan. Much more with the basketball. But my Alma Mater is in a battle right now so I'm trying to cheer,post and comment at the same time. I just looked at my comments from the last post and holy shit, I know I'm not much of a speller, but I'm going to blame that on too many Fat Tires and my team sucking donkey balls at the moment.

Precious Oldest is here talking smack so if I have strength I'll back.

Friday, November 23, 2007

1980

In 1980 Jimmy Carter was President. A first class stamp cost 15 cents. The Winter Olympics were held in Moscow. The United Sates did not participate. Kramer vs. Kramer won the Oscar for best picture. The Phillies beat the Royals in the World Series. 52nd Street by Billy Joel won album of the year at the Grammys. I turned eighteen.



I graduated from high school in 1980. I was seventeen years old. Guess what my summer job was?















I'll wait.....



















You'll never guess.....


















OK, I'll tell you.









I was a runner for the Sedgwick Group on the floor of Lloyd's of London. That's right folks. At the ripe old age of seventeen my parents put me on a plane, alone, to go live in London for two and a half months. In a rented room of a stranger's flat. Riding the tube to the office everyday. To collect placing and signing slips to be taken to the floor for signatures. Shit you not.



What was your favorite summer job?


Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

In the name of NaBlopomo I'm sneaking off to meet my minimum daily requirement. with a house full of people its harder to do than one might think!

The house of full of wonderful aromas and we've already cracked open the wine. Sib #4 and Sib #2 are here. We miss #3 and #5 but will percevere.

I hope you and yours have a wonderful day!!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Family Tradition

The menu has not altered for over thirty years. Set in stone. Unchangeable.
Turkey
Stuffing (Sausage/Onion/Celery, nothing fancy)
Mashed Potatoes
Gravy
Cranberry Sauce
White Shoe Peg Corn
Brussel Sprouts
Creamed Onions
Sweet Potatoes
Pillsbury Crescent Rolls (I know, right? It is the only time we ever eat them!)
Apple Pie
Pumpkin Pie

We've already started cooking. Sib#2 is in charge of pie. Thank God because my attempts at crust are more like shoe leather than pastry. I do the sweet potatoes and the cranberry sauce at home and bring it with me.

For years I labored under the impression that I didn't like sweet potatoes because I'd only had them coated in brown sugar and marshmallows. I had an epiphany about ten or so years ago and came up with this recipe:

Take about five pounds of sweet potatoes, wash, prick with fork. Fill a big ole pot with water and let them boil until fork tender. Dump them in an ice bath and the skins will slough right off. Put peeled potatoes back in pot and mash in two sticks of butter and two cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese. Add sour cream to desired consistency. Salt and pepper too. Place in greased 9 x 13 backing dish. (This can be done several days ahead, at this point cover and refrigerate.) Bake uncovered in a 350 oven for thirty to forty minutes.

My cranberry sauce is pretty awesome too if I do say so myself! I take three bags of cranberries, wash them and pick out any that are going soft. I zest five large juice oranges and set the zest aside. I juice the oranges and add more OJ if necessary to bring the liquid to two cups. Combine the berries and juice with two cups of sugar. Bring to a boil, turn down heat and simmer for ten minutes. Add the zest the last five minutes. I'm telling you people, good stuff.

Today my mother will take all the yucky turkey parts you don't eat and simmer them in chicken broth with carrots, onion, celery and a bay leaf or two. We'll use that stock for the stuffing and the gravy. Tonight we'll make the stuffing and the vinaigrette for the brussel sprouts.

First thing tomorrow the bird will get stuffed, coated in butter and put in the oven. We'll peel five pounds of potatoes. We'll make cream sauce for the onions. The brussel sprouts will get blanched, coated in vinaigrette, covered with grated Parmesan cheese and broiled.

Make the gravy, mash the potatoes, heat everything through and we're ready to eat. I'll be pouring Pinot Noir and a very nice German Riesling.

I love standing elbow to elbow in the kitchen with my mother and my sisters. Cooking, drinking wine, laughing. I have a lot to be thankful for.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I'm certain Emily Post would approve

When you go on a visit its nice to bring a "Hostess Gift". Something thoughtful that the host(ess) will enjoy. We will be spending time at my parents over the holiday, and I wanted to bring a little something.

We went to a wine tasting last weekend and with the two cases of wine we ordered, the Saint suggested adding something very special for my dad. A nice port. My mom and dad both enjoy a glass of port. So with all the graciousness in the world we will be presenting them with this:








I've been told its very tasty!

Monday, November 19, 2007

There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays

I owe Shelley “Holiday Fun with Extended Family”. With Thanksgiving days away and Christmas looming allow me a moment to vent.

I have a very uncomfortable relationship with my mother in law. Other than the fact that she gave birth to the Saint, we have little in common. The Saint has a brother a couple of years younger who is unmarried and has no children, so we are in possession of the only grandchildren. I do not use the word possession lightly.

She and I had minimal contact when the Saint and I were dating. I was still in college and lived several hours away. We were engaged shortly after I graduated and for two years we lived in the same city where both sets of parents reside to this day. During those two years there were occasions when I believe a smarter person would have seen the writing on the wall, but I just…. didn’t.

The year we were engaged my family went skiing for a week over Christmas. We’d been doing this for years because it was the longest break from school. I however, was newly employed and lacking vacation time, so I did not go along. A few days before Christmas I was informed by the Saint that we were to arrive at his parents at 7:00 on Christmas morning. To open presents. With his parents and brother. Who was twenty seven years old. Because one couldn’t start Christmas until everyone was there. And that was as long as one could bear to wait. Do you see where I’m going with this? 7:00 AM? On Christmas morning? With no small children whatsoever? WTF? I showed up at the appointed hour, but I remember feeling ill at ease.

Then there were the oh so fun two Thanksgiving Dinner years. Because if everyone lives in the same town, you’re expected to show up both places. We've moved, but when we go back? Still two families to deal with. But I can’t, convincingly, eat two Thanksgiving Dinners. Go ahead, check my shelves, you will find no golden statuettes for my acting abilities. And while I recognize that families all have their own food traditions? Ours are better. (Oh come now, get off your high horse Missy. I bet you defend your stuffing/sweet potato/pumpkin pie recipe to the death!)

My mother took pity on me, I think after Precious Oldest was born, and started inviting my husband’s family to their home for Thanksgiving Dinner. Cooking for 20+? What’s three more? Slick right? One would think. But it will.not.be.enough.

We will stay at the In Law's house. We will share meals. We will sit in their living room and visit. They will come and share Thanksgiving Dinner and attendant festivities at my parent’s. On Friday we will assemble their Christmas tree, we will string their lights, we will put up their decorations. But the clock will be ticking. Movie with the cousins? Lost time. Chinese food Friday night with Aunts and Uncles? Lost time. “SIGH, maybe next year…...”

Christmas, more of the same. They will stay in our home. They will have my children’s undivided attention Christmas Eve. And Christmas morning. But it will.not.be.enough.

I'm bringing a case of wine.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Debate 101

Below is the high school debate topic for 2007.

Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase its public health assistance to Sub-Saharan Africa.

It is the same topic for every high school in every state. Squads have multiple teams of two people. At tournaments each team alternates going Affirmative and Negative in multiple rounds. (If you "break" after five round you have enough wins to put you in quarters or semis.) When you are Affirmative you run a prepared case. It must be topical, demonstrate significant harms, have solvency, and no inherent barriers. When you are Negative you look for disadvantages in the Affirmatives plan. You look for weaknesses in their topicality, significance, solvency, funding. There are four Constructive speeches; two Affirmative and two Negative. Each Constructive speech is open to Cross-Examination by the opponent. There are four Rebuttal speeches; two Negative and two Affirmative.

Debate is an odd "sport" for us parents. It is not a spectator sport. You don't watch. It isn't that you can't, its just not done. I debated for three years. We went to State and won. My parents never saw me debate. The only time we've seen our own girls was when they debated for judges training. (Even then we snuck in and sat in the back of the room.) I had a few student observers yesterday, but for the most part it was me, the time keeper and the teams.

These are some of the flows I did during the rounds I judged yesterday.






Ours is a "Novice" tournament. This was the first year debating for every team I judged. Other tournaments are "Open"; anyone can participate. Our debaters do not participate in their own tournament. They RUN the tournament. They recruit time keepers and judges. They run the judges table, tabulation, hospitality, room monitors, runners. There were twenty two schools participating in our tournament, all with multiple teams. The management skills theses kids have? Are awesome.

Taking debate was not an option for our children. They were expected to take at least one year. The skill set attained is incredible; public speaking, research skills, time management, team work, on and on. Debate is an AP class on steroids. Precious Oldest did four years. Precious Youngest is in her third. We are very proud.