Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Five Liberating Facts

1. I hate peas. Please stop trying to make me eat them. No matter how hard you try, I just don't like green, smooshy things. Not now, not ever. Even as a baby I spit them back, and I am not that much different now.

2. I don't like her. There, it is out to the universe. I know she is smart, quirky, and funny, but she betrayed me. Her actions hurt not only me but also my children. I can forgive, but that doesn't mean I have to like her. No soul searching on this one and nothing profound to say. I don't think I hate her because that emotion is just too powerful to throw around wildly, but yeah, I am heavy on the dislike.

3. I don't want a pet. I love kittens and puppies. I love to play with kittens and puppies, and I seem to be running a half-way house for strays, but I don't want to be a full time pet owner. I don't want the smells, messes, and responsibilities that come with fur or scale. I just don't have time for it. Maybe one day but not now.

4. I really do try to eat healthy. I want to live by example. I drink water. I watch for sugar and hidden chemicals. I buy organic milks and cheeses, but deep down, the only thing I want is a cheeseburger. No, not a turkey or veggie burger with cheese. I do that 90% of the time. I am talking about a heart attack between two buns with lettuce, tomato, ketchup, and mayo...real mayo. Sometimes I just want REAL bacon and not turkey or tofu. Sometimes I just want REAL white bread with the bacon or grilled cheese. Oh, and please get the real cheese and not cheese product.

5. I thought I didn't but I do.

Friday, January 15, 2010

I Hope They Stay True

Shakespeare once wrote "to thy own self be true", and I quote it often in my classroom. I do not want students parroting my thoughts and fancies. I want them to discover the world for themselves. Think outside the box and dare to be different. I have marched to my own drummer, and I have found that my most unhappy moments in life have been from trying to "fit" into some preconceived concept of what I should be. So many times I have tried to be "more" of what I thought people wanted. I am ashamed to admit this, but I have even tried to change myself for a man. I know. How stupid was that! It didn't result in the hilarity of The Ugly Truth; instead, I lost a bit of my soul as well as my heart. That was a moment of pure, ugly truth, and I vowed never again. Life should be experienced as an original and not a poor, blurred copy of what may be.

Thing One's stepmother, grandmother, and I have been making a collective effort to show her that it is okay to just be Thing One. She plays soccer because she loves it. She loves being strong. She loves being smart. She loves being herself, and I hope and pray every day she stays on this path. She is more self-aware than most adults I know, and it would be a tragedy for her to ever mistrust her instincts. Women are often afraid to be themselves in a world of quick fixes and plastics. Nothing scarier than removing our masks and revealing our true selves, flaws and all. We have all fallen victim to the propaganda of it at some point, but it is up to us to either sink or swim. As of right now, Thing One is swimming. This leads me to another of my favorite quotes, "keep on swimming" from Finding Nemo.

Oh, and here are two statements from my kids this week:

1. Thing One stayed up with me one night to watch a movie, and a "Girls Gone Wild" commercial came on, and she became incensed. She couldn't believe that women would act that way for attention. Her exact words were, "Can't they see how demeaning this is to women? If an eleven year can figure it out why can't college kids?"

Excellent point, Grasshopper, and I hope you remember this when you are nineteen.

2. Thing Two cannot be left out. He just got out of bed and ran in while I was typing and began to rant about how stupid Romeo and Juliet are, and that Shakespeare got it wrong. He said, "Suicide isn't romantic."
He watched The Suite Life of Zach and Cody before bed, and they mentioned the play, and the poor thing was bothered by it. After he had his say, he gave me another kiss and went straight to bed. I am impressed, and maybe this week we will read Hamlet for a bedtime story.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Reality My Aunt Fanny

I am not to gossip, but...

Okay, this link is one reason The Bachelor gets on my nerves, and I can never make it through a full season. First of all, the women always come across as desperate, and that reminds me too much of high school. Second, it just seems gross. Finally, the hubris of the chosen one is a turn off. This is just me though. Considering I am basically a twelve year old boy trapped in the body of a thirty-cough year old woman, this doesn't appeal to me. I really don't want to appear condescending, I just prefer Ghost Hunters. My girlfriends usually love the drama, and even my grandmother is a huge fan. She very rarely misses a season. I think though the latest scandal may be too much for her.

A contestant developed a relationship with a producer. She was sent home, and he was fired. Then according to, the man who is dating fifteen women complains "being cheated on sucks". Uh, do you think? Try it when you are actually vested into the relationship. No picnic. The best part is according to RealitySteve, the whole scandal was created by the show to get rid of the contestant because she was unhappy with some unfulfilled promises given to her by the production team. Now, this is getting interesting. Do you mean that sometimes thoughts and actions are manipulated on reality television? Who-hoo, but I think the drama behind the scenes may be more interesting than the show itself. Somebody pop the corn.

Monday, January 11, 2010

More of the Same

My hillside is completely covered. The main highway looks clear, my hollow looks icy, but my hill is horrid. My neighbor's SUV is firmly planted at the bottom, and they are walking up and down. I am hoping that my landlord plows it again before Wednesday, but they are expecting several more inches tonight. Okay, I know some you Northerners are shaking your heads. This is spring time in Minnesota, but my community doesn't handle snow well at all, and we are not use to the constant snow and cold. I live in rural Appalachia, and our hills and hollows isolate us not only from the rest of the world but also each other. Oh, well. It isn't all bad. After the hustle and bustle of the holidays, we are just vegging. Imaginations are being used. Games are being played, and books are being read. I think I could really be a hermit.

At least I can catch up on my reading. I am going further into the Southern Vampire Mysteries. I love True Blood, but I really do enjoy the books more. Two completely different entities, and perfect escapism. My daughter can keep the shimmer. I will take the Viking.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Another Snow Day Update

1. Julie and Julia is a delightful film. I wonder if my generation still says "delightful". Well, the movie is good, and it is cute, but it fails to grab the complexities of the novel. No, it isn't the most profound biography, but the movie doesn't really grasp her insecurities and desires and messes. Plus, it doesn't really show the deliciousness of it all. Julie is far, far, far from perfect, and that is why I loved the book. The movie just makes her imperfections look cute and perky. Even with that, I still liked it. Perfect to watch under a blanket with a hot cup of coffee.

2. After watching a movie about food, I was hungry. I had the ingredients for pizza, but that seemed boring after watching Julie work her way through French cuisine. What I really wanted was a greasy pizza roll from the local BP. Yep, gas station food is the best. Instead I took Pillsbury pizza crust and lined it with mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, ham, and a few spoon fills of pizza sauce. I folded it like a pumpkin roll, brushed it with butter, and sprinkled it with garlic powder. It wasn't a BP miracle, but it was soooooo good. Junk food sometimes makes the best meals.

3. I live close to nature. Last February, I heard a knock on my bedroom window and saw five deer in my yard with one being a little two personal. I never knew Bambi was a voyeur. I have also seen opossum, bob cat, raccoon, snakes, field mice, and yes, we had bear tracks last summer. My grandmother's favorite part of nature are birds. She loves them, and ever knick knack in her house concerns something with feathers. I often stand in her dining room mesmerized by the collection of birds that now reside in her trees because of her various feeders. Well, I will never garden like her. I will never cook like her, so I went and bought my first feeder. How have I lived these many years without a bird feeder? My son and I are now officially in love with bird watching. We have a lovely (do we still use that word) variety of birds outside our kitchen window. Cardinals are our favorite, but even though Blue Jays are the most gorgeous of all, they are evil, mean birds. Pretty creatures get by with more.

Enjoy your day, and please stay warm.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

My Latest Cooking Obsession

I began to keep house thirteen years ago, and I became a functional cook. I made okay meals for survival. After a few years, I became what I call a frantic cook. My ex worked 5 AM to 2 PM, and then I worked 3 PM to 1 AM, and there was a one hour window for a family meal. I basically cooked glorified lunches. Nothing complex but once again the food was functional and practical. The ironic thing was I collect cookbooks, and I had them at my fingertips, but I never went outside my comfort zone until about four years ago. I dated a man who is an excellent, professional cook, and he gave me a desire to create. Well, then came along Food Network, and an obsession was born. Do I now cook every day? Heck, no. My mother keeps my children until I get off work, and I love it when I go to her house, and dinner is on the table just waiting for me. Do I always pick complex, flavor rich meals? Nope. Do you? Sometimes function and speed is better than anything. I also have an eight year boy who doesn't like to think outside the box. He prefers chicken and well, chicken. No matter what happens at my house, I have yet to see anything as bad as this:

This show fascinates me to no end, and I sat spellbound with the first episode. My children sat spellbound. People who cannot even open a can of soup are expected to become restaurant chefs. I really feel for them because most of them just have a strong desire to please. The professional chefs come across as rather arrogant and superior but yeah, this is "reality" television, and that is part of it; however, It makes me want to pull for Team Red. Chef Beau MacMillan looked like the bigger jerk of the two, and it seemed he would rather belittle instead of actual teaching.

My personal favorite didn't even make it to the final cut. Sauvion boiled an entire chicken and topped it with cheese. I have to say it was the most creative meal I have ever seen, and I also found his bald burliness strangely attractive. Here is his video response to it all:

If you want a better chicken, try the Engagement Chicken from Glamour magazine. It is legendary because men seem to pop the question after eating it. I have yet to use its powers for evil, but it is wonderful and worth a try.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Snow Day Rememberance

The last year of my marriage I lived in a cute little Cape Cod. It was old, but it had and old world charm, and I miss the drafty, smelly thing. It even had it's own little courtyard coming off the kitchen. That January, we had a few snow days that shut down our entire town. I couldn't go to work. He couldn't go to work. My mom was visiting and was trapped with us. It was marvelous. Thing One was three and had never seen so much snow in her life. She was amazed and viewed the world in wide eyed astonishment. Our yard was a sloping hillside of various levels, and it was perfect for her to sleigh ride. The world was a marshmallow dream come true.
The next day we made it back to work, and my mom was keeping the preschooler and infant, and as she prepared lunch, the preschooler came in and asked to go out in the snow. My mom said she could, but she had to go get dressed. She came back in with Capri pants, cloth tennis shoes, and a sun hat. I think she was only big enough to reach her summer items. My mom being a practical woman quickly told the preschooler she had to change clothes, but Thing One is a stubborn child. She immediately threw one of her Katie Kaboom (Tiny Toons Reference)fits. My mother didn't lose her cool or yell. She just opened the kitchen door and put Thing One in the snow and closed the door. In about fifteen seconds, there was a knock. Thing One came in and went to her bedroom to find more appropriate clothing. After that, a good time was had by all.
Funny, I would love to say she has grown out of that stubbornness, but alas that would be a lie. To be honest, I love her ability to hold true to herself, and I love the strength that she possesses. She is one of the coolest people I have ever met, and I know life with her will be one heck of an adventure. Even better than a snow day.

Monday, January 4, 2010

First Official Snow Day

Okay, kiddos, what should I do to celebrate the beauty of a snow day? Here is what I have so far:

1. Clean out laundry area. Well, I had to put up something like this because my mom reads my blog, and this will make her so proud. Hi, Mom!

2. I have board games and hot chocolate ready to go.

3. Maybe I can lock the kids in their rooms and watch True Blood.

4. Email my friends at work and rub it in.

5. Home Shopping Network Vs. Food Network. I wonder who will win.

6. Facebook

7. Writing silly blog entries

8. Read all those parenting ideas in magazines about what to do on a snow day

9. Take plenty of headache pills to handle the pain that comes with #8. You are to use the duct tape to make an indoor hop scotch board, not to pin your brother to the wall.

10. Go back to bed

I think I now have my winner. Bed it is. For lunch though, I do have a special treat. I found snowflake pasta at Homegoods (love that store). I bought it some time ago specifically for the first snow day. Yeah, I know, but I am all about the cheese factor. Wait...cheese! Homemade snowflake mac and cheese. Oh, yeah, this will be the best snow day EVER!

Perfect Crockpot Chicken Noodle Soup

Today was a very busy but lovely beginning to our Halloween Festivities.  My husband and I went to a Farmers' Market that was featuring ...