Friday, September 28, 2007

Darling Fi

Once upon a time in a land far away lived two beautiful Princesses and the Evil Queen. More than anything in the world, the Princesses wanted a puppy. They would feed it, and brush it, and walk it and teach it tricks. If they got this puppy they would never.ever.ever ask for anything else again. But the Evil Queen said “No”. For the Evil Queen knew that the Princesses were lying. The Evil Queen would end up, walking, feeding, brushing, and training the puppy and have to pick up dog shit poo too!.. And she wisely said "Oh, hell no" “No, thank you”.

But as beautiful Princesses are wont to do they wore the Evil Queen down. So in her infinite wisdom the Evil Queen did some research. And lo she found a breed of dog that was clever, did not shed, and was small enough that the giant piles of dog shit poo would be manageable. So the Evil Queen set forth a decree: If the Princesses were to get a puppy it would be a Cairn Terrier.

And so it came to pass that a conniving bitch dog breeder had a mommy cairn terrier that had a litter of five puppies; three boys and two girls. The royal family traveled a great distance to see the new puppies, and on the long journey it was decided that the puppy they chose would be a girl. And there was Joy. And lo the puppies were cute, darling, precious to behold. The two girl puppies were inspected carefully. One sister was quiet, shy, a bit withdrawn. One sister was lively, animated, a bit of a spit fire. Both were cute beyond reason; the decision rested with the Queen. In her infinite wisdom enormous stupidity the Queen decreed that the lively sister should return with them to the palace forthwith.

Fiona the Brave, Protector of the Realm was indeed lively, animated and a bit of a spit fire. And as the Queen had predicted she did indeed end up with the care, feeding and training of the dog. And it sucketh mightily. For the puppy had an attitude; the stupid damn dog Fiona thought she was in charge. And so it came to pass that the Queen realized they did not live with a cairn terrier, but a cairn terrorist. And a shadow covered the earth.

And lo these many years later the Queen is still heard to mutter under her breath from time to time “Why? Why didn’t I pick the QUIET sister? Why?”

The End

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Don't call your mother Dude!

Mother. Mom. Mommy. These are just a few of the names I will answer to. Why then, does Precious Youngest begin most of her remarks directed to me (especially when she is aggravated by some particularly egregious comment I’ve made; e.g. “Is you homework finished?’, “Is your laundry done?”, “Is your room clean?”, “If I go up there will I think your room is clean?”) with “DUDE……”? Really, should you address your mother as "dude"?

When I express to her that I would prefer she not call me “dude” she gets all huffy. Her excuse is that the use of the word “dude” is simply “part of her teenage vernacular”. (Um, yeah, my kids are big ole’ debating, forensicating, AP English taking geeks. They can and do use words like “vernacular” in a sentence correctly.) Nevertheless, I find the practice less than charming and have not figured out a way to break the habit.

Has anyone else had this problem and discovered a cure? Please advise!!!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Who are you calling bird brain?

You know when your kids are trying to sneak something forbidden and they hope you won't notice? How they walk very nonchalantly to the forbidden snack/cake/ice cream/car keys? And when they attain said forbidden item, they run like hell? Well watch this seagull.

It supposedly resides in Aberdeen, Scotland and has started stealing snack-size bags of chips from a neighborhood store. The seagull waits until no one is looking, and then walks into the store and grabs a bag of cheese Doritos. Evidently this has been going on for some weeks and now customers are paying for this seagull's purloined bags of chips because they think it's so funny.

What I think is so funny is that this bird walks OUT of the store a whole lot faster than it walks IN! And I would SO pay for his chips!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I Call Pots!

We have a time honored tradition in my family: He who cooks does NOT do the dishes. It began simply enough when The Saint and I were first married; just a way to divide up household chores. Over time however, a pattern was established that I cooked and he washed up. The Saint is many things but a cook is not one of them. I on the other hand, enjoy cooking. So for better or worse, I prepared the meals and he did the dishes.

I also inherited the grocery shopping. Not something I particularly enjoy, but when planning meals it tends to be the cook who needs to shop. In our case it HAS to be. The Saint is a terrible grocery shopper. I can send a list, but if I don’t give him original packaging to match? Useless.

[Here is just ONE example. You know the potato casserole recipe that is a heart attack waiting to happen, but is a great pot-luck dish? The one with hash browns, butter, cheese, sour cream and canned soup? OK, let’s just say there was a funeral at our church and my Altar and Rosary Circle was assigned potatoes. And let’s say the aforementioned casserole was what I decided to make. And let’s just say I was busy, oh I don’t know RAISING HIS CHILDREN and sent The Saint to the store for the one ingredient I didn’t have on hand – the hash browns.

Me: "I need you to go to the store for ONE thing so I can cook for this funeral."

Saint: "Sure, what for?"

Me: "Hash browns; they’re for a casserole. I need the cubed kind."

Saint: ………?

Me: "You know, little squares?"

Saint: "Where, by the milk?" (I shit you not)

Me: SIGH "No, in the freezer section, right across from the ice cream"

Saint: "Go it."

Fifteen minutes later…

Saint: (Eyes shinning, so pleased with himself) "Here you go."

Me: (opening grocery bag and finding hash brown PATTIES) WTF?

Saint: "What, they’re square?"]

Anywhoo, I digress. For the last ten or so years the girls have done the dishes. As they got older they got really good at it. The bone of contention however was always pots. Much jockeying for position as to whose turn it was. As in, “I call pots” whenever there was one or none. Actual physical harm occasionally resulted from disagreements over whose turn it was to do pots. (I was never harmed of course as this is the portion of the evening where I sit at the dinner table and pour another glass of wine.)

Now that Precious Youngest is Precious ONLY she has declared it onerous that she has to clear and clean for three WAAHH! She is developing ingenious methods for trying to get out of this chore. My personal favorite? Sliding out of her chair, flipping over on her back, scooting out of the kitchen into the dinning room and backstroking across the dinning room floor.

Funny? Hell yes. Working out for her? Not so much.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Weekend Update

What a weekend people, I’m pooped! It was one of those weekends that was fun but with no time to recover before Monday comes again. Here are the highlights:

  • We bought a “new” car.
  • We went to visit Precious Oldest at school and her dorm room was clean!!!!
  • On the drive out I got to do the Crossword, Jumble and Cryptoquip! I LOVE these puzzles, but never have time to do them anymore.
  • We spent many hours, and had several meals, with Precious Oldest and her friends and it was FUN! It is strange and delightful to find yourself carrying on interesting conversations with these “kids” who seem to have grown up overnight.
  • We made it back to watch Precious Youngest’s volleyball team win three straight games to take their match; they are 3-0 for the season. (Her serve is awesome!)
  • Although it wasn’t pretty, our NFL team FINALLY won a game.

    Add: laundry, grocery shopping, fixing dinner, more laundry......what the? It's Monday? GAAHH!
  • Friday, September 21, 2007

    Meanest Mother Award # 362

    Several weeks ago Precious Youngest was invited by boy #1 to Homecoming at the all boys school in these parts. Out we went to find a dress. This is not a simple thing. So many considerations. Long or Short? Black or Color? Throw in that Precious Youngest remembers every dress she’s ever worn, and does not want to wear anything remotely similar… GAAHH!! And yet? Many miles later …success!

    Yesterday boy # 2 who attends her school asked her to their Homecoming, still a month away. And I'm thinking to myself; two different schools, two different boys, little overlap between the two groups. Can you guess the first comment out of my mouth? “Oh, you are SO wearing the same dress to both dances!”

    Thursday, September 20, 2007

    What the...?

    Riddle me this: If you mention that it might be time to get a new mattress (preferably one of these) why would the love of your life point to a Bass Pro Shop ad in the morning paper and say "Wow, look at this - CAMMO!"???

    Tuesday, September 18, 2007

    Sending out an S.O.S.

    During varied leadership training courses in my professional and volunteer careers, I have taken a gazillion personality profile tests. They rarely change. I’m an ESTJ in "Myers-Briggs", Orange in "True Colors", D in "DISC" and High Red (though drifting Green with age and experience) in "Birkman". If you are familiar with these types of tests and designations, ummm....yes, I tend to fall somewhere between bitch and bossy.

    When my children were young I bought a book called Nurture By Naturewhich helped you to assess you children’s personality (based on the Myers-Briggs model) . Truth be told I found it helpful as it gave some good advice on how to deal with different temperaments as you kids moved form toddler,to pre-schooler, to grade-schooler, to young adolescent.

    Precious Oldest is an ESTJ. No ifs, ands or buts about it. There is nothing of her father in that child. This made for some awesome fireworks in those fab years between 15 and 18; she knew exactly how to push my buttons and did so with fair frequency. In fact; that I am not snatched bald-headed and she is still alive is a testament to my restraint and self control.

    However, like me, the blow ups may be huge but they are short lived. The occasional rebellion was spectacular, but over as soon as the consequences outweighed the action. In the last sixty days? She has apologized to me THREE times for having been “a bad teenager”. We have moved past those years to what I believe will be a truly wonderful adult relationship.

    What I’m grappling with now is my Precious Youngest. I just don’t understand her. I look at her and wonder how she came to be. She is the only introvert in the family. She warms slowly and has difficulty trying anything new. Something attempted and not perfected? Good luck getting her to try again. TRUST is huge. Once gained? Loyal to the end. Lost? You will NEVER gain it back. (If fact that is one of the only characteristics she shares with me and Precious Oldest.)

    I have been struggling with her these past weeks. Now forced into the spotlight of Precious ONLY, it is not a pretty picture for Precious Youngest or for me. Her rebellion is quiet, almost invisible. And it looks like it will last a LONG time. Her silence hurts my feelings even though I know she does not intend to hurt me. High School is hard people! I want to help her, but I seem to be making things worse. The things that worked with Precious Oldest are not working for her.

    If there are any ISFJ’s out there who remember their teenage years? HELP!

    Sunday, September 16, 2007

    Second Saturday

    We have a wonderful tradition in our neighborhood called” Second Saturday”. Every month a theme is chosen by the host family and anywhere from five to fifteen families gather for a pot-luck dinner on the second Saturday off the month. There is much laughter, stories, adult beverages and just plain FUN.

    Last night’s “Second Saturday” was actually the third Saturday, because of a conflict the prior week. (It happens on occasion, go figure.) Anywhoo, last night’s theme was “Diner Food” and the hosts made chicken fried steak and cream gravy. Here are the rest of the offerings:
    Mashed Potatoes
    Meat Loaf
    Macaroni and Cheese
    Creamed Corn
    Green Beans (with bacon and onion of course)
    Desserts Galore

    The Mac and Cheese was mine and I make the best in the world. (I should mention that I LOVE cooking and despise baking. Baking has all that ridiculous direction following and measuring. GAAHH!! If anyone in my family comes into the kitchen and I’m baking? They ask “Who died”, assuming there is a funeral in the near future.) My Mac and Cheese gets sent out with fair frequency because it is such a great comfort food. If you’re sick or had surgery or just had a baby? It is most likely what I will bring to you. (My other specialty for the infirm is chicken soup; I’ll post about that some other time.) It is something that even finicky eaters will consume and so is great to send to families.

    Of all the things I make I think my Mac and Cheese might be my most requested recipe. I can never understand why I get asked, it has to be one of the easiest things to make. Oddly enough, it might be the only thing I actually have a recipe for. I LOVE cookbooks and the Food Network, but recipes to me are a jumping off point. Every page in every book, every recipe card in my collection is marked up with changes I’ve made. Even things I invented my own self have suggested improvements. But my Mac and Cheese? Has not changed in twenty plus years.

    Fannie's Mac & Cheese
    1 ½ C. Elbow Macaroni
    ¼ C. Butter
    ¼ C. Flour
    1 ¾ C. Milk
    ¼ C. Diced Onion (Precious Youngest objects to the texture of onions so I do finely grate the onion if she’s going to be eating this)
    8 oz. Shredded Cheese (Colby Jack is great, but have used many combination of cheeses here. I almost always have various left over bags in the fridge and have been known to throw three different kinds in, doesn’t seem to matter.)
    Salt and Pepper to taste

    Cook macaroni according to package. Melt butter and sauté onion. Add flour and stir. Add milk, whisking until the sauce thickens. Stir in cheese. Season. Combine cooked pasta with cheese sauce. (Can be refrigerated at this point and baked later) Bake uncovered in a greased baking dish at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.

    It is cooling off in my part of the world. If it doing the same where you are? I suggest you whip up a batch of M& C. Enjoy!

    Thursday, September 13, 2007

    In which I'd rather be set on fire

    The Saint and I have spent the last several evenings doing one of the most heinous, distasteful activities on the face of the earth. Shopping for a car. Not just any car, a USED car. We are not used car people. We generally buy a new vehicle because we keep them for eight to ten years. In fact the girls are driving a 1996 Honda that belonged to the Saint himself once upon a time. But my big honking SUV, that we need to haul the boat, that guzzles gas and has the third seat that was essential seven plus years ago when I still drove hordes of kids all over town current vehicle needs some expensive work done, so we decided it is time to unload it.

    Since college is not free, and we’re trying to be sensible, it’s off to the used car lot. Of all the sales people in all the world, my hand to God, car salesmen have to be the worst. And it’s not the female thing for me either. I don’t get talked down to, or honeyed, or sweetied. The look I perfected as a mom? That can stop a kid 25 yards away dead in their tracks? Also works on car salesmen.

    It is the whole “What will it take for you to buy this car today”, and “Let me talk to my manager” business. It is a competition to see how long they can get you to stay on the lot, and the longer you stay? Means they win. WTF? Then when it’s a USED car you’ve got mileage to consider and no way to know what KIND of miles. And every one of the salesmen is telling you how HONEST they are. How they’re trying to HELP you. How they can get you a better DEAL than anyone else. After every encounter I feel like I need to shower or drink heavily, maybe both.

    So people of the Internet: Nissan Pathfinder or Chevy Trailblazer?

    In a stroke of genius we decided to take my big honking SUV, that we need to haul the boat, that guzzles gas and has the third seat that was essential seven plus years ago when I still drove hordes of kids all over town car to a different shop for a "second opinion". $189 !!!!! Now if we can get this thing to run a few more years I'll be VERY happy!

    Update # 2
    They lie, they all lie!!! Still not fixed GAAHH!!

    Monday, September 10, 2007

    I Am Not A Morning Person

    5:30 a.m., alarm goes off. Get up; pee, brush teeth, floss. Get on scale. (Shit) Walk out to hallway, pause and listen for sound and smell of coffee brewing with clever use of timer? (Yay!) Cross fingers, peer out front window, newspaper is here? (Yay!) Retrieve paper, let dog out. Pour cup of coffee. Let dog back in. Scan front page. (Possibility remains of two children missing since 2004 have been found. Say a prayer for their mother.) Change into gym clothes; grab paper and coffee, head to gym.

    Workout. Return home. Pour second cup of coffee. Go to take shower. Bedroom door still closed (GAAAHHH!), Saint has over slept again. Try to quietly remove gym clothes. No dice, Saint awakens and dashes into shower first. (GAAAHHH!) Wait turn and shower. Run down to start load of laundry. Run back up and fix hair. Precious Youngest is up and around, looks peeved and distracted (??!!) Go to kitchen to pack lunch. Try to distract Precious Youngest with discussion of shopping for Homecoming dress. Lackluster response. (Crap, high school drama must be in full swing.) Back to bathroom to spackle put on face. Peer in magnifying mirror. (Fuck, is mustache already growing back? GAAAHHH!) Stand in closet and realize there is nothing to wear. Keep standing there until Precious Youngest comes in to say goodbye. Hug her, tell her you love her and to have a good day. (Again with the lackluster? Something definitely going on there, but how to get her to spill?)

    Throw on stupid outfit have worn four hundred times. Clean bathrooms. Run downstairs and switch laundry from washer to dryer. Back to kitchen. Put dinner in crock-pot, dishes in dishwasher, cell phone in purse, lunch in bag. Where's the dog? Grab cereal to eat in car on way to office. 8:00 a.m. pull out of driveway.

    Monday Morning 8 – Me 2

    Tuesday, September 4, 2007

    They'll never understand

    My brother and SIL live in New York. My SIL has a very good job with a glossy, high fashion magazine. Previous to her working there I did not buy this magazine because A) the “looks” are straight off the runway and I um live in the Midwest? B) it would take three house payments to buy even one frock and C) even if I did live in New York or L.A. and had truly ridiculous disposable income, I’m 5’3’’ and the last time I checked haute couture was not designed for short people.

    Anywhoo, I now subscribe to the glossy, high fashion magazine so I can pretend to possess extensive fashion knowledge when speaking with SIL. Plus there are pretty, pretty pictures of fabulous shoes and bags. With spiffy ideas for how to wear the latest fashion for the current decade of your life. So my girls and I have come to enjoy perusing the pages. And even though we may never be able to afford what’s in the magazine? When the permutation of the latest style trickles down to a store near us? We’ll recognize it and wear it with flair!

    But men? Just. Don’t. Get. It. Case in point. We were driving to the lake this weekend and Precious Oldest was flipping through the fall fashion edition of the glossy, high fashion magazine to check out the 140 BEST BAGS. Boyfriend was reading over her shoulder when the following conversation ensued:

    Boyfriend: “$3,000 for a purse?”

    Precious Oldest: “It’s not a purse it’s a clutch, it’s Chanel and it’s gorgeous.”

    Boyfriend “It’s so small. You couldn't even fit a wallet in it.”

    Precious Oldest: (Sigh) “It’s clearly an evening bag. I wouldn't need a wallet; just lip gloss, ID, and mad money.”

    Boyfriend: “I don’t get it.”

    Precious Oldest: “It’s pretty, it makes you feel good.”

    Boyfriend: “For $3,000?”

    Precious Oldest: (SIGH) “For God’s sake it’s CHANEL it’s a CLASSIC!”

    Boyfriend: “How will people know its Chanel?”

    Precious Oldest: “They don’t have to know, I’d know.”

    Boyfriend :“How about this, get a brown paper bag and put three thousand dollars in it and carry THAT around.”

    Precious Oldest: (Banging her head against the car window) “NO, NO, NO, you don’t get it. A paper bag? Is not cute and would not make me feel good!!”

    Boyfriend: “Well I’d feel just great; there would be room for my wallet, my car keys andI’d still have my three thousand dollars.”

    Precious Oldest: “GAAAAHHHH!!!”

    And no sweetheart, even when they grow up they still don’t get it.