Saturday, December 27, 2008

So that was Christmas

Its over.
So, here's what happened. Christmas Eve, I let Leila watch five Christmas shows, totaling 6 hours of television, in her pajamas. She was in complete vapor-lock with the TV. I don't normally let her watch a lot of TV, usually one or two shows a week, so she was in hog heaven. As a special Christmas treat for Rob, I made banana oat bread which I wrapped in parchment with a red ribbon around it.
Now, for those of you who have been reading this blog since the beginning, you might remember that I mentioned the pink mildew in the shower grout on September 16, 2008. Well, put on your seat belts, because on Christmas Eve, I SCRUBBED THE SHOWER. I took vinegar and water and scrubbed the grout with a toothbrush, and followed that with a thick coating of scrubbing bubbles that I left on there for five minutes and then rinsed off. Can you believe it?
I did not scrub the bathtub because my foot still hurts and I can't kneel, but mostly because I was already so pleased with myself about the grout that I felt like I deserved a metal. The only disappointing thing about this is that it was a horrible grout job to begin with, and I can say this without feeling bad because Rob and I did it ourselves and had no idea what we were doing. Here and there, in the pristine white grout, mortar shows through, and if you don't know its mortar, it looks like dirt. But I know its clean, and I made Rob go in and admire it, too. He was not as flabbergasted and impressed as I wanted him to be. He was probably thinking "Its about freakin' time, lady." and I can't really find fault with that.
Rob macguivered Leila's fancy shoe with some string and scotch tape, but it only held until we got to my parents house, where he borrowed a black shoelace from my dad and wrapped it around her foot and tied it in a bow. It kept the shoe in place and everyone was happy. Dinner was delicious, although my mother started clearing my salad plate before I was done, and considering that is the healthiest thing I've eaten in days, it was kind of important for me to finish it. I don't know what the rush was. I then at my delicious crab, and I was sa - tis- fied.
Then, we opened presents. My family has a strange custom where we sometimes give each other odd food gifts. It just sort of happens. It started one year when my dad gave everyone some kind of meat: I got liverwurst, Rob got a ham, my brother's girlfriend got some canadian bacon. I don't know what he was thinking, but ever since, meat seems to be exchanged on Christmas Eve. Last year I gave my dad twenty jars of herring, and he loved it. This year, my dad got bockwurst, Rob got some obscure German cookies that no one likes, and, from my brother, three pounds of pineapple party sausages. My brother gave me some of those Lindt chocolate balls, which was terrific because I was trying to get my mom to open a box of Sees Candies nuts and chews she had in the cabinet, but she refused on the grounds that a) she was saving them for the next time she needed a hostess present, and b) that she had made me lovely almond crescent cookies that I supposedly love. Problem is, I don't like almonds, or anything almond flavored, so now that information will be filed away in the furthest reaches of her mind where she will never retrieve it, and it will continue with "I thought you liked tomatoes/red cabbage/kale!" Then she wanted one of my truffles and I told her, "no way, lady, since you're bogarting the Sees Candies!" Of course, now, I am so full and bloated from all the stuff I've been eating, she can have them all.
My brother gave Leila a bigwheel, which she is already a little to big for. She was really excited about it, though, so he put it together on the spot, and she went outside in the rain, in her fancy shoe-laced shoes and her rain coat and road it around the back yard. She was excited about everything she opened, and she put all the ribbons around her head, and, except for the shots of jaeger, it reminded me of my grandmother.
We got home, and set out cookies, carrots and milk for Santa and his reindeer, and went to bed. In the morning, I heard Leila get up, go to the bathroom, and go into the living room where Santa had left all the goodies, and eaten the cookies and milk. I expected her to come running into our room, but instead she just hung out in the living room, and I heard her making excited noises, like squeals and giggles, and I couldn't wait anymore. I whistled, she whistled back, and finally she came in to tell us that Santa had come, and he had eaten the cookies. She goes for this stuff 100%. She's about to be seven years old, so its one of the last years for total faith in Santa, and I am relishing it while it lasts. I totally use Santa to my advantage, too. In the weeks before Christmas, if she gets out of line, I always say, "Santa is watching, better shape up." and it works every time.
She loved everything we got, she loved everything she got, and she got a lot. The last two things she opened were tights, and two pair of socks, but she was happy. She got a keyboard from my mother-in-law, and is in her room right now plinking away. She's figured out how to play rudolph, rockin' around the Christmas tree, and is working on something else. Pretty awesome.
Then, we went to Rob's mom's house, and the most wonderful thing happened. There were tons of presents under the tree, but the three cousins, ages 7, 6, and 5, just played for half an hour or more, and didn't seem to notice the bounty that was awaiting them. Finally, the five year-old said "Can we open pwesents?" and it was about time! They all got a sack filled with the fifty state quarters and a map of the United States to put them all in. I thought it was a cool idea when I thought it was all bought together, but then I found out that Rob's mom's boyfriend had been collecting these quarters for years, presumably for the children, and that made it even cooler. Leila had to put all her quarters in the correct slots all at once (she hates to stop something in the middle) and the other kids just waited for her to finish before opening more presents.
My mother-in-law was a superstar this year. I got everything on my list, and I didn't even know she knew what was on my list. It was so fun, and it just kept on going. I would think I was done, and that there couldn't possibly be any more for me, and BAM! a roasting pan. BAM! a cardigan. Better than pineapple party sausages, and who knew there could be something better than that?
So now its over. All that food I bought? We hardly ate any of it. There are still boxes and bags all over the house, and now its time to plan Leila's seventh birthday party. I asked Leila what her favorite present was, and she listed twenty of them (what riches, really) and one of her favorites was "being all together." Now, maybe she's been prompted to say stuff like that by her teacher or one of the five Christmas shows she watched, but I loved hearing it nonetheless, and it really was the best gift. Except for the roasting pan, which I love, but after that, being together was the best gift of all.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Shots of Jaeger

The Christmas Spirit is sneaking up on me. I don't know anyone who's really into it this year, so now I don't feel so bad. I had to go to two Christmas parties yesterday, and I was completely dreading them. So much so, that Rob brought me breakfast in bed for the first time in a decade because he knew I wanted to hide under the covers and not deal with Christmas pleasantries. But, as it turns out, the parties were not that bad at all. That is the upside of dread; usually the deeper the dread, the more delightful it is when what you're dreading doesn't completely suck, or you make it through without wanting to kill yourself.
Today and tomorrow I'm making my final preparations for the big day. I have a friend's kid over here this morning, and later they will go to my friend's house so I can wrap the last presents and get them all organized. Tomorrow morning, I'll go to the grocery store and buy all the yummy goodies we'll eat. We always have cinnamon challah french toast on Christmas morning, with bacon and orange juice (and maybe a splash of champagne...) So delicious. Then, I have bowls of things to munch on throughout the day, like chexmix (out of the bag, good and salty) m&ms (delicious when you mix them with chexmix) clementines, cold cuts, yum yum yum. I'm feeling more and more Christmasy just by thinking about all the food. Typical me.
I grew up celebrating Christmas on Christmas Eve since my family is German, so Christmas Eve we'll go to my parent's house with all their gifts. My mom used to make a goose for dinner, and then we'd have to wait while she cleaned the kitchen to open presents. It was excruciating as kids. I guess it never occurred to us to help her clean the kitchen to speed things up... Now she makes rolladen, which is thinly sliced beef wrapped around a pickle and an onion braised and cooked to within an inch of its flavorful life. It is served with boiled potatoes, red cabbage and green beans. This is not a meal I relish. Starting in my late teens, I decided that I should have a meal I could really look forward to rather than suffering through German food that I can't stand, so I started getting myself take out chinese food, or pizza, and I was happy as a clam. This year, I'm going to get myself a crab, mix some mayonnaise and curry powder to dip the crab in, and eat up. I'm salivating just thinking about it. Again with the food. God, I'm predictable.
While the kitchen is being cleaned, Leila and I will cut up little pieces of paper and write numbers 1 -5 on them, fold them up, and the family will pick numbers out of my dad's santa hat, and this will decide in what order presents are opened. It is all very orderly and civilized; we are German, after all. Once the dishwasher is running, and we all have a drink in our hands (my dad cannot rest of someone doesn't have a glass in hand) we start opening presents. Leila usually bargains with whoever picked the number one out of the hat and gets to go first. The dogs get gifts too, and we all go in order, and my dad jumps up every ten minutes asking if anyone wants some port wine/acquavite/champagne/ and is disappointed when you ask for water. Also, whenever its his turn to open a gift, he picks at the scotch tape and the ribbon for an eternity, and then says, "Maybe I'll open this tomorrow." He thinks he's hilarious, and Leila goes for it every time.
I love Christmas Eve. I like it better than my birthday. My grandmother used to come from Germany over Christmas and she was such a kick. You could wrap up a dog turd for her, and she would think it was the best thing she ever got. She would put all the ribbon around her neck and on her head, and do Jaeger shots with my brother. Makes her sound like a lunatic, but she just loved to party. I don't remember the last time she had Christmas with us, but the last time she came to visit was in 1996 for my wedding. She was already old as the hills, and she didn't really know who was getting married, but she still loved to party. She died in February of this year, at 104. I hadn't seen her since my wedding, and she wouldn't have known me if I had, but I did think she'd live forever.
Then, on Christmas morning, we wait for Leila to wake us up. In past years, she has gotten up, walked right past the presents under the tree to the bathroom, and then gone back into her room and played with whatever she opened on Christmas Eve. I have decided to continue the tradition of torturing her by making her wait to open presents until we've eaten our delicious breakfast, but so far she hasn't minded. I think this year will be different though. She's already checking her stocking. I will put a bra on under my pajamas and throw a little make up on so I don't look like a total mutant in photos, and we will take turns opening stuff.
In the afternoon, we'll get dressed (or not) and drive over to my mother-in-law's and hang with her and my brother-in-law and the little cousins. I am inexplicably looking forward to this. We haven't hung out with the cousins on Christmas for five years, and I think it will be fun. We'll get chinese food (well, I'm getting chinese food, they can get whatever they want) and that then its all over but the thank you notes.
I'm more in the spirit after writing this, and I can't put off cleaning the kitchen and throwing a dark load in the washer any longer. Merry Merry!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Is it too early for a cocktail?

I started this day in a perfectly fine mood. Its the last day of school before winter break, it poured down rain over night, but its clear now, the kids are having a holiday party at one o'clock, all was right with the world. And then...
The other day, Leila went to the Nutcracker with my mom, and wore her fancy shoes. I bought her these shoes for a wedding she was in in the summer. Now, I don't know why, but it is so hard to find simple, classic patent leather maryjanes, like the ones I use to wear. They all have sequins, or lace, or a clunky heal, or velcro, and you just can't find them. So I went online and searched long and hard and found some: $42, more than I've ever paid for a pair of Leila shoes. I had to exchange them and get the right size, but finally she had the classiest pair of shoes a kid could have (according to her mother, and we all know no child has ever complained about how their parents dressed them...) So, she wore them the other day, and took them off in the living room. I told her, "Put your shoes in your room." and didn't think anything of it because they disappeared. Little did I know that rather than putting them away, she hid them under the Christmas tree. I guess the the ten foot walk into her room, where she was probably going anyway, was just more than she could bear.
So far, not a huge infraction. She's six, she's supposed to pull little things like this. Now add to this another ingredient: the dog. You know where I'm going with this, don't you? I finally spied her shoes under the tree and put them in her room, but later I found a little piece of patent leather, and I must have known deep down, but I refused to acknowledge the truth.
This morning, I was getting L out of bed, and we were excited for the last day of school, and its pajama day today, so we were extra celebratory, and on my way out of her room I picked up one of her fancy shoes, and the strap that goes across the foot, the very thing that makes it a maryjane was severed by dog teeth.
I hate starting the day with my blood boiling. I got out of bed at 7:03, and I was ready to yell and throw things by 7:07. So, shoes that were beautiful and fancy are now trash. It kills me that I will have to throw them away. I don't throw anything away if I can help it, I always try to find a second life for things, but no one can wear one good shoe. Mark my words, though: she will wear the broken shoe on Christmas Eve if I have to strap it to her shoe with duct tape.
I also feel like a heel (no pun intended) because I got really mad, not even at Leila directly, but just mad in general, and she started to whimper and say she wasn't going to have any fun at the class party now. She felt so bad, and I instantly felt like a turd because she didn't really do anything that bad, she just got caught in a perfect storm, and it looked like her day was going to be ruined. Luckily, she snaps back pretty quickly and was all smiles when she got to school, singing her weiner dog song. I, however, am sitting here craving a mimosa and a crack pipe.
I can't find the Christmas spirit this year. I really like being filled with Christmas spirit. The holidays are so fun when you're in the mood for them, and when you're not in the mood for them, its doubly bad because you have to do all the stuff anyway (I wrapped presents for three hours yesterday) and you feel sad and guilty that you're not enjoying yourself. I think its a combination of things: First, my stupid foot still hurts; four weeks, and it seems to be getting worse instead of better. Second, all you hear is about the doom and gloom in the economy, and every time Rob calls me from his cell phone in the middle of the day, I'm sure he's sitting on the steps of city hall (where he works) with a cardboard box of his stuff and his final paycheck. That is not likely to happen, but its hard not to be jumpy these days.
So, I have six days to start enjoying myself, or else. Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

No Wonder I Wear Elastic Waistbands!

I am such a pig. I was an eating machine today. I couldn't stop. How can something that feels so good and natural be soooooo bad?
Here is what I ate: I started the day with the cold second half of the shrimp, tomato, guacamole burrito I had for dinner last night. Then, I ate some scraps of home made caramel off its wax paper. Then, I was thirsty, so I had a coke (one of the small ones, but still) Then I went on errands and picked up a little grocery store sushi for lunch. Then, there was leftover cake in the fridge, about a third of a small cake, maybe more, and I powered that, one forkfull at a time until it was gone. Then, a friend called and said he was taking his kids to our local burger joint and did we want to join him, and of course we did! Rob said he wasn't that hungry and asked if I wanted to split something, but, inexplicably, I was hungry so I got my own cheeseburger with fries, and washed that down with 2/3 of a chocolate shake. I also had a cup of tea in there somewhere.
This is not a typical day. I usually don't have cake and sushi and cheeseburgers all in one day, and I don't know what got in to me. But it was all so good! And so easy! In my design of the after life, I am going to eat as much as I want of whatever I want, whenever I want, and it will all be free, delicious, and have no impact on my weight. I will look fabulous and never work out, and be completely sated all the time.
I'm full now. That last sip of chocolate milk shake did the trick. I will still have a little wine, though, because at this point, who cares?
It all started with hurting my foot. I stopped cooking, so we're not eating all the vegetables we were eating a few short weeks ago, and I couldn't do the eliptical anymore. I can do the bike, only hit hurts my butt after ten minutes. You'd think with all the padding I have back there I wouldn't feel a thing, but its excruciating. So, I'm up to my old tricks; buying myself little treats whenever I'm at the grocery store, not drinking water, not eating green things (although the frosting on the cake was green) and not exercising. I think I pretty much cover all the deadly sins by myself. "Why, oh why does living healthy have to be so hard??" she whimpered.
I was not a complete turd today, though. I have been having this problem lately where I do laundry, fold most of it, but don't put any of it away. It is all sorted neatly in various laundry baskets, so we just fish around in there for what we're looking for, but, frankly, my house is just too small for this kind of laziness. So today I did four loads of laundry, folded ALL of it, and put ALL of it away (except for Rob's, which I did fold and put on his pillow so he can file it away in his closet.) Not a total loss! I went to the post office, I walked the dog twice, I scanned the Newsweek, I obsessively checked my e-mail and now its time to watch a little garbage on TV, drink a little zinfandel, and hit the hay. Oh! I almost forgot! I almost took the most delicious nap! I was playing computer solitaire on the couch while Leila was playing with a friend in her room, and my eyes got heavy, so I put the computer down, rearranged the dog so we were spooning, and fell into the most wonderful sleep. Only to be awakened after ten minutes by a pair of six year olds demanding hot cocoa. It was perfect while it lasted...

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Secret is the Guacamole

This morning on the radio, the radio-guy read a report that said the courts are expecting a very busy day for divorce filings on January 12. Apparently, this happened last year, too, lots of divorce filings on the second or third Monday of the month. They discussed that maybe people make new year's resolutions to dump their spouses, or that they gave their marriage one more year to work out, they've slogged through the holidays for the kids, and now its over. One more possibility that I will add is the one spouse has just had to spend her holidays trapped in her in law's house and she just can't take it any more. Then the radio-people started talking about divorces where one of the partners thinks everything is ok, and the other spouse takes them completely by surprise. A couple of women called in and said that this had happened to them; that their husbands had just gotten up one day after 17, 18, 20 years of marriage and told their wives it was over and filed for divorce. Then, some contrary Mary called in to say that if a woman is completely blindsided by her husbands hasty exit, she hasn't been paying attention, and they haven't been checking in with each other, which kicked off the husband's boltage in the first place. Let's not go into why it is all the wife's responsibility to check in to see if her marriage is okay, because that's just BS.
So, I got to thinking about my marriage, and how I would totally hate to be married to me, and thought, "I'd better check in." I called Rob at work and told him about what I'd heard on the radio, and said, "So I'm just checking in to make sure you're not planning on filing for divorce on January 12th or any other day in 2009." First, he responded in his regular my-wife's-a-nutjob tone of voice, and told me that, no, he hadn't planned on divorcing me next month. Then he adopted his favored smart-ass tone of voice and said that even if he was planning on divorcing me in January, he'd want it to be a surprise.
So, phew! I'm not getting divorced any time soon. What a relief. In my case, "its cheaper to keep 'er" since we totally could not afford to get divorced anyway. Even if we wanted to gouge each other's eyes out, we'd have to stay together just to say solvent. Oh yeah, and for the kid, right?
I honestly don't know what this man sees in me, but I'm just glad he sees something. I felt like eating guacamole tonight, and he went out and got us some, and its, like, forty degrees outside! What a guy.
While I sit on the couch writing this, he is watching the Artistic Pool Championship on ESPN2. What do I see in him again? Oh yeah, the guacamole...

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Don't Bother

I am so thirsty, I could drink 5 cokes. I never think of water when I'm thirsty, just cokes, and if I drink water instead, my coke craving goes away. Mysterious, no? (no.)
We had a lovely dinner with my brother-in-law and his girlfriend. Pork loin, zucchini gratin and rice pilaf. Potato chips and onion dip for hors d'oeuvres (trashy, but always a crowd pleaser) and Katie and Mike brought the most tacky cake they could find at the super market. I am so full, and so thirsty! I just know I'm going to dream about waterfalls and flushing toilets all night long.
My house is decorated for the holidays, but I'm just not in the mood. I usually get in the mood when I'm decorating the tree, but this year it just seems like one long to-do list. Tomorrow, the dog goes to the vet to check out his limp, and when I get home I will finish packing up the candy I made, mail off the one box I need to mail, and by that time it will be time to pick up Leila from school and I will spend the afternoon farting around.
Tuesday, I will wrap presents, Thursday I will make cookies (or maybe Saturday, I'm not sure) and Friday is Leila's holiday party at school. Next Sunday, I have to go to my mother-in-law's for a little holiday wine and cheese that my parents are invited to, and which I find totally excruciating. She means well, but I dread it every year.
This is a good way to get my mind set for the week, so thanks for your patience during that description of my calendar of events.
I need to go have some experiences. This blog is getting a little dry, and I need to go do something so I will have something to write about. The vet is always good for a laugh. He is a lunatic, but he's thorough and he's reasonably priced, so there you go.
I've only gotten two Christmas cards so far. I'm wondering if people are cutting expenses by not sending cards. I only sent half of what I usually send, and I saved a lot of money.
I'm going to bed. I was hoping the act of typing would inspire something, but we're all out of luck. Nighty night.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Last Word on the Subject

     The following paragraph appeared in the Twin Cities Times police report section.  It should be noted here that the Twin Cities Times is about four pages long, and contains movie reviews written by children and profiles of actors in community theatre.  The police report is usually filled with things like "neighbor reported loud music" and "cell phone lost in mall parking lot." you know, the usual hard-hitting stuff.  But this time there was something that really sparked my interest: "We received a call reporting two stuffed wolverines on the field at Redwood High School.  It was determined the school is using them to scare away the geese."
     Someone called the police!  About the snarly dogs!  Is having stuffed wolverines a crime?  What were the police supposed to do, arrest the dogs?  What is wrong with the people in this town?  I know that I have been entirely too obsessed with the goose abatement programs around here, and this will be my last word on it, but, really?  Calling the police?  Our town just passed a bond to rebuild the police station, and it really needs to happen, but I wonder what they will use all this high tech police equipment for?  Stuffed wolverines?
     Well, now that we're done with that, I am off to make some buttermilk pancakes and then decorate the Christmas tree.  Rob just told Leila to not, under any circumstances, put socks or slippers on and it totally worked, she is now flaunting her socks.  Sucker.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Holiday Spirit

I'm sitting here in the living room while Leila is watching the original Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Its a classic, but its really bad. "She thinks I'm cuuuuuute!" That's the best part, and Rudolph's voice is really annoying. There were only, like, two or three Christmas specials when I was a kid. That's what we called them, specials. Remember on ABC the word "special" went around and around in a circle before the show started? I bet if I saw that right now, I would pee my pants. It was always so exciting. I looked through the Tivo Guide under the holiday category, and there are hundreds of Christmas shows. Lots of them are Nancy McKeon, Lifetime pieces of poo, but there are so many for kids, too. I picked out a few for Leila to watch, mostly the old ones. Clarice is now scamming on Rudolph at reindeer take off practice; what a little slut.
You know what else there wasn't when I was a kid? Prizes for walking to school. I say this because the other morning was the last Walk and Roll morning until 2009, and I actually had an experience that I never get to have: I had exactly the right come-back to a whiny mom who was griping at me. I was telling all the kids who were getting their cards stamped (long story, you don't want to know) that this was the last check in of the year and they should look for us in the spring. So, this mom says to me, "What about the kids who ride to school all winter?" and even though I wanted to ask her if anyone had ever given her a prize for getting herself to school, I said, totally politely, "I know, I walk to school rain or shine, too, so if you want to get here at 7:30 in the morning to stamp kids' cards, I'm all for it!" That shut her up. All those years of co-op preschool taught me a very valuable lesson: if I have a complaint about something volunteers are doing, or I have a great idea for something volunteers could do, I shut my pie hole. Unless I'm willing to do it, I keep it to myself. Or maybe kvetch about it with some friends.
I was thinking today about all the extra crap Leila's school does. Its kind of exhausting. It seems like every week there's an "opportunity" to volunteer or donate money or something. Here is an example of this week and last week: Walk and Roll, Cool the Earth, popcorn sales, PTA Staff appreciation luncheon, canned food drive, and holiday store. That does not include anything that is going on in the classroom; there was bulb planting and a walking field trip in Leila's class, and that was just today. Its too much, if you ask me, though no one is. What ever happened to just going to school, learning stuff, goofing around with your friends, and going home? Those days are long gone. All this stuff really gets in the way of all the important sitting-on-my-ass I have planned. And, of course, the kids hear about all the stuff, and they want to participate in everything, and there are prizes coming out of their ears. Do you know how many pencils Leila has? Hundreds! Okay, dozens, but all acquired from school programs and fire station open houses, and birthday parties etc. etc. There is no end to the crap that rolls in to this house.
And there you have the spirit of Christmas!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Why Make a Fuss?

I'm downloading a bunch of podcasts, so I thought I'd use this time to say hi. Rob is making sugared pecans for an office party, and it smells pretty good in here. For my part, I actually got my you-know-what together and made chicken enchiladas for dinner. Normally, I am a strict recipe follower, but lately I've been "going rogue" and making stuff up that seems good to me, or combining ideas from difference recipes. They were completely edible, if not a little heavy on the enchilada sauce. I can actually make enchilada sauce from scratch, and I've done it a couple of times. The stuff in the can tastes just as good, as it turns out, so screw that. Its like pie crust: I've proven to myself and those around me that I can make a good pie crust, so now I just go buy the pillsbury ones. Why make a fuss?
Today was the staff appreciation luncheon at school and the PTA board traditionally makes the desserts. I made an orange pound cake from one of the Barefoot Contessa cookbooks, and it was yummalish. Actually, I kind of effed it up. The list of ingredients calls for 3/4 cup of fresh orange juice, and 1/4 cut of buttermilk; I had already added all the juice and the buttermilk when I read on in the recipe that 1/2 a cup of the juice was meant for a simple syrup that you're supposed to pour over the cake when its done. I don't do the simple syrup; the cake is fine as it is. But mine had three times the amount of orange juice the recipe called for. I don't think anyone noticed, and my cake plate was empty when I took it home. I laid it all out with hydrangea leaves underneath, a la Barefoot Contessa, and then wondered how on earth I was going to get this raised cake stand with perfectly fanned out pieces of pound cake to the school. I put it on the floor of the car, drove really slowly, and all was well.
Is this the most boring thing you've ever read? I'm bored writing it, and that's bad.
Yesterday, I watched the Sex and the City movie for the fourth time. I love that thing. I could watch it again today. Not a bad moment in the movie. And I was not a super-fan of the show, in fact, I've only seen the edited-for-TV version, but I love the movie.
Alright, enough is enough.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Little Drunk

I've had a little wine. Okay, I've had a lot of wine. Let's see how this goes. Apologies in advance for typos and spelling mistakes, but... I've had some wine.
Rob went to a football game today (49ers, dude) and I do not get this at all. Forget about the fact that I have no understanding of football, despite my scant effort over the years to figure out what a "down" is. Rob has only a passing interest in football, and usually only when it has to do with the OSU Buckeyes, and most of his instinct to watch televised sporting events has been beaten out of him by his wife (its true, and I'm not ashamed) but when he has a chance at free tickets to a 49er game, he goes for it. This is fine with me. He needs to be a man and do manly things once in a while, so I'm all for it. But I don't get why its fun.
He went out last night and bought a sixpack of beer, a bag of Cheetos, and a box of Famous Amos chocolate chip cookies. My idea of culinary heaven, swapping the sixpack for a bottle of chardonnay. Rob and his football buddy drive our little Honda Civic fifty miles away to pick up the tickets, and then another fifty miles to the stadium where they pay a kings ransom to park. Then, they get out of the car and stand next to it eating Cheetos and chocolate chip cookies in the cold, wearing hats, and drink the whole sixpack. Then they throw a football around in the parking lot until its time to find their seats. If Rob ever wants to eat Cheetos and throw a ball around a parking lot, there's one at the grocery store I'm sure he could use.
They take their little Citibank stadium cushions that Rob borrowed from my dad so their tushies don't get cold, and they sit bundled up (its not, like, Michigan, but it was cold today) and watch the game. I'll have to plead ignorance on what might make football entertaining, but the 49ers won, and the game was good, so whatever. They didn't eat any of the junk food offerings or beer at the game since they had their fill of junk food and beer standing next to the car (before noon, I might add.) The promise of stadium food would be the only way you would get me to waste an afternoon freezing my ass off at a football game. Cheap dates.
Then they spend, I don't know how long, waiting to get out of the parking lot. What are they talking about in the car? The passes? The interceptions? The "downs?" They're not talking about what my girlfriends and I would be talking about at a time like that, of that much I'm sure, and I know I would have sprained my face rolling my eyes listening to them. So, he left at 9:30 this morning, and he got home 9 hours later. Really? I mean, I'm sure I have watched the Oscar telecast, including the red carpet and Barbara Walters' Special for nine hours, but that only happens once a year!
Well, he had fun, doing man things, and that's what's important. Whenever he has a chance to do man things, I encourage it since I probably emasculate him by watching him do dishes and color in coloring books with Leila most of the time. He is now taking a shower because, apparently, he worked up a sweat throwing a football around the parking lot near our Honda civic. So, I guess he wont smell like Cheetos, which is kind of too bad, since I'll take my junk food any way I can get it.
So, readers, how'd I do while on the sauce?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Sometimes its Hard to Live Inside my Head

My dog just dug another hole. Fantastic.
Here's what I've been thinking about for the last few days: When I was working, and decided to play hookie and call in sick (not often, but it happened) I had no qualms about it, and would call in, not even make the sick voice, and just do it. I would go to the mall, see a movie, or just stay home and hang out. When I was actually sick, however, I agonized over the decision to call in sick. At 6 a.m. you don't really know how you feel, or if you'll feel okay with just a few more hours of sleep, and unless I had a fever or was barfing, I would hem and haw before I decided to take a sick day. Now, I was thinking that when I played hookie, I would pick a day where I knew I had nothing important on the schedule; I wasn't missing any meetings and no one would miss me. And, honestly, I was an HR director for a second rate video game company, it wasn't like we were curing cancer or teaching inner city kids to read, so nothing I did there was all that important anyway.
So, here I am now, three, almost four years in to stay-at-home mom-dome, and I am experiencing the same thing. I talk a lot about how I sit on the sofa and watch Oprah, and read magazines and take naps, and don't even get me started on the solitaire game that runs my new ipod's batteries out every day. When I decide that this is how I'm going to spend an hour (or, say, a day) I am unapologetic about it. I feel like I deserve to put my feet up for a while, even if the bathroom isn't clean and we have frozen food again for dinner, and once I've made up my mind to sit on my ass, I feel mostly great about it, and only a little bit loserish.
But when I'm actually sick, or, like now, when my foot hurts and I need to put it up for a while, I feel like a total loser. I second guess myself about whether I'm really sick enough to justify taking a nap or watching TV, and I wonder if I'm faking it. So I get up and walk around, and, sure enough, my foot hurts, so I believe myself and sit back down.
And am I the only one who gets a little annoyed at how helpful my husband is being? My friend says that maybe I feel like I don't deserve the help, and I think she's right, since I'd have to be crazy to be annoyed at a man who does dishes, makes dinner and helps his daughter floss. Why is it that, when I'm feeling fine, I don't have any trouble channel surfing between Zs, but when I'm not feeling fine, its so hard for me to relax and accept the help that is offered?
One thing I always wanted to do while I was working, but never did, was say I had some meeting at a location outside the office, and go to a movie by myself. I totally should have done that, but I'm such a goodie-goodie. No one would have asked any questions, especially when you consider how much golf went on during office hours at that place. I could have seen a movie once a week and no one would have noticed. They might have wondered why I had popcorn breath and pieces of redvines stuck in my teeth all the time, but I doubt they would have made a connection. If only...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

All I need now is the laughing Monkey

Have you ever done the tearless sob? Kind of like the silent scream, but here you sob without tears, out of total frustration. It is often accompanied by the desire to get in your car and drive in any direction until you run out of gas, and just set up camp there and hope no one will ever find you.
I was feeling good today. My foot was feeling better, I was ready to put some clean dishes away, wash some dirty ones, maybe even make dinner for the first time since I hurt my foot. Leila was outside playing with the dog, and I knew she was also playing with the hose and sprayer. I had my misgivings; its not warm out, the sun was going down, but I thought, what the hell, a little hose action never hurt anyone. This is where the wheels came off the wagon.
I was just getting ready to put away my first dish, and I heard Leila saying, "No! NO!" to the dog, and normally I wouldn't rush to see what was going on because usually the dog is doing something perfectly acceptable, and Leila is just being bossy. But I went outside to find that there had somehow appeared a large hole in a bed that had been neatly covered with weed cloth and wood chips (this is what passes for "gardening" in our yard) and this hole was full of very wet dirt with a puddle at the bottom. One might even call it a mud puddle since that is exactly what it was. The dog was gleefully digging in the the mud and water without any regard for my sanity, and was covered, head to toes, in the stuff. Leila was standing over him with a look that seemed to combine disbelief, fear, jealousy, amusement and guilt. She was clean, which I found somewhat shocking, but Leila is much easier to bathe than the dog so I would have preferred that she dig in the mud and the dog regard her with awe.
I swore. I said the D word (dammit.) I said the SH word (shit) and I went back into the house and closed the door. In the kitchen, I took an innocent dish towel and beat it repeatedly and with as much force as I could muster, against the edge of the sink. In retrospect, I am actually surprised and a little proud that I managed to rally given that I wanted to kill myself. I turned the faucet in the bathtub to warm, got a few towels, and another really old one and went outside in my socks and picked up the mud soaked pain in the ass in the towel, thus saving my floor and walls from the mud (I learned from the first mud hole, I'm not stupid.) I put him in the tub and started to wash him.
It should be stated, at this point, that a) we have very poor water pressure and no hand-held sprayer in our tub or shower, and b) my foot is still hurt, and the injury is on the top of my foot so kneeling is not especially comfortable.
The tub was dark brown with mud, mud was getting on the shower tiles, and the dog really wasn't getting any cleaner. Meanwhile, Leila is behind me, wiggling in the way that children do every moment that they are not in deep sleep, and asking me inane questions. My back started to hurt and she offered me a massage. I told her to leave the room. It would have been easy if the dog had been rolling in the mud since his back is easy to wash, but the mud was on his belly and legs and chin, the three places that are the most difficult to wash when you don't have a sprayer. Mercifully, my dog does not mind getting bathed because I don't know what I would have done if he had been trying to jump out of the tub. He just hung out while I picked him up under the arm pits and tried to clean his little chest. This is when the tearless sobbing started. The word frustrated simply does not convey what I was feeling; try frustrated times a thousand, at least.
I did my best to rinse out the tub, I wrapped Perry up in a towel and sat down in the big chair in the living room and turned on Gilmore Girls. Once I was seated, it was too hard to make a cocktail or get the cyanide tablets, so I called Rob and told him a brief version of what happened, and warned him that I was a woman on the edge who would be needing a drink and a pizza, stat.
The dog was shivering, so I got up and blow dried him for a few minutes. This has to happen right next to the closed bathroom door since he doesn't much care for it. He is mostly clean now, and while he was in the the post bath catatonic state that seems to occur any time I wrap his little wet, pitiful self in a big towel, I trimmed the hair around his eyes, and then started cutting tufts of his hair at random. He is now curled up on my shins behind the computer on my lap, and I sort of like him again.
The hardest part here is that there's really no one to get mad at, and if I weren't already having so much trouble jump starting my life after spraining my foot, I might have been able to laugh at sight of a dog in mud heaven and a girl completely aghast. She didn't mean for anything bad to happen, and he is a dog. People think Perry is a girly foof dog, and they call him She, even though he's a boy, but he likes to play in the mud and hump things and bark like a bad-ass just like any frisby-catching, ball-chasing, head-out-the-window, macho dog you can think of.
I'm on my third drink (but who's counting?) and I've had my pizza (my husband is a saint) and I think I'll be able to move on with my life now.
But no guarantees.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Stupid Geese

Remember a few posts ago when I told you about the Canada geese in the park that were being scared off by a professional goose-scaring border collie, and I said that they go to the high school athletic fields? Well, I have an update. My town can't afford to release the hounds every week, so the border collie comes around every few weeks and that seems to keep the geese away for a couple of days, but then they slowly come back until the park is filled with them and their poop once again. I was driving near the high school today, and across from the athletic fields is another park with lots of grass and a creek, and the geese were all there, chillin', and I thought, "hm." So I shifted my gaze to the high school fields (all while driving, of course) and saw what looked like a very mad coyote-like animal, crouched and ready to pounce, only there was nothing to pounce at, and 20 yards or so behind him was his twin, another vicious animal, in the exact same position. They were fake angry goose-scaring dogs! They looked very real (from far away, in a moving car) and I almost pulled over to get a closer look, but there was no parking.
Geese must be really stupid. I can understand flying away from the border collie, as he could, if he were rabid and trained to attack, pose an actual threat. But don't they wonder what the fake dogs are snarling at? Its an empty field! And don't they think its weird that there are two identical snarling dogs in the same field? They're just not thinking critically.
I totally want to go back there and see what those dogs are made of. There must be a goose abatement factory somewhere, just churning out snarling dogs. In this economy, though, maybe they'll have to diversify their market. You could give a Snarling Dog to your elderly neighbor along with an accompanying CD of snarly sounds to scare away would be intruders. You could give a Snarly Dog to your kid instead of going through the hassle of a real dog (very lifelike!) You could use it as a centerpiece at a picnic and hope that bees are just as stupid as geese (not likely.) I could give one to my mom just to freak her out, and give her something else to judge. Now all we need is a jingle for Snarly Dog.
I went Christmas shopping this morning, after being amazed and delighted by the Snarly Dogs, and saw some cocktail napkins that had one of those fifties mom-like women on them with a caption that read, "Life's too short to cook for you people." I thought they made them just for me, and almost felt bad when I didn't buy them, but I realized the only time I might use them is when I have company, and I don't want to be rude. Now, a refrigerator magnet with the same slogan would be perfect. I already have tea towel that says "A clean house is a sign of a wasted life" and together they would make the perfect set.