Saturday, October 31, 2009
Friday, October 30, 2009
We humans seem to have the need to label things. Wrap them up in tight little boxes tagged with a judgment. We do it to ourselves, we do it to each other. I can't solve it, I know, but I can cut the string those neat little boxes are wrapped up with. I can look closer at my own label, the one I put on myself and the ones others put on me. And I can create a new one.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
We love Minnehaha Park. Sea Salt closes on October 25. We had to get in one more trip there for Po'Boys and a wander along the Mississippi.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Monday, October 19, 2009
Visit your local farmers market or grocery store and buy some of those weird looking veggies that end in 'ip. You know turnIPs and parsnIPs. Buy some big carrots, not the weird nubby ones in the bags. Buy the ones you actually have to peel. Really, it's not that hard, you can handle it. If you're really feeling brave, buy beets. Honestly, they're good. Try them. Then peel them all, chop into big pieces, toss with olive oil, seasalt, pepper, whole garlic cloves and your favorite herbs. I used rosemary this time and roast them until their tender. They'll get odd and wrinkled and unphotogenic, but that's ok, because what you're after is taste . And they taste divine. Young One still thinks the "white things are potatoes, right?" Sure they are.
Friday, October 16, 2009
You get this title, Mom, once you get pregnant. Nurses in your prenatal clinic call you that. The Target checkout guy calls you Mom when you're buying a stroller or car seat. Strangers who have personal space issues call you mommy and touch your stomach, despite the maternity shirt that says "Back away from the Belly Button".
The name tag doesn't really get tattooed on, though, until you're holding that little squirming bit of joy in the hospital. And it's cemented forever, once you realize in the car on the way home that people are actually entrusting you with another human being. "Wait, wait, do you realize we're clueless?" I shouted as we pulled away from the curb of the hospital.
I've been a mom now for twelve years. I've had every version of the name thrust upon me, from the first babbled "Ma Ma Ma Ma" to the whiny, eye-rolling "Muhhhhhuooooooooooooooooooom" of middle school. The other day, though, this name slammed into me so furiously that I got weak and nearly lost my breath completely. Tired after dealing with the flu and no sleep and while picking up Young One's homework at school, I introduced myself as, "Mom."
Thud. Stare. Blinking eyes.
And then, thankfully...laughter. Through laughter induced tears, I reintroduced myself to the school secretary, Keeper of the Gate, Knower of all Things Academic and Not, Lord of the Hall Pass, Protector or the Phone Lines, and Shield to the Inner Sanctum of Deans and Principals.
She's "Mom" too and totally understood. Thank God it wasn't Dr. Principal. She probably would have been obligated to call child protective services.
I think I'm a late bloomer when it comes to carving out me time. My neighbors, who have two delightful adult children, have been going out on dates every Friday night for 37 years. I have friends who knit (and actually like it), take classes, and schedule massages. I know people who fit in work outs, book clubs, and volunteer work that has nothing to do with a PTA. I know a couple of stay at home moms that have cleaning ladies--go girl!
I have the same twenty four hours that they do? Why can't I fit me in? Because, wearing this mom name tag, taking care of the house, and being selfless has a price. You don't get weekends (think about it, what jobs do you do on the weekends that you don't do during the week). You work mostly fourteen hour days with no overtime, no lunch break, and no pay. Most of what you do goes unnoticed. It's yawn inducing, repetitive, go postal kind of work many days.
Looking at some old pictures the other day, I saw me again for the first time in a long time. And it felt like a door opened. Screaming, demanding, or just taking, I'm going to get time for me somehow.
Want to join me?
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
1-3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Place trimmed Brussels sprouts, olive oil, kosher salt, and pepper in a large roasting pan. Toss to coat sprouts with oil, adding by teaspoonfuls to use the least amount of fat you can. Sprouts are ready for roasting when they are slightly coated with oil. Place on center oven rack.
Roast in the preheated oven for 30 to 45 minutes, shaking pan every 5 to 7 minutes for even browning. Reduce heat when necessary to prevent burning. Brussels sprouts should be darkest brown, almost black, when done. Adjust seasoning with kosher salt, if necessary. Serve immediately.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon-style prepared mustard
2 teaspoons honey
1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Monday, October 12, 2009
I love the fall colors. If we get a fall that's simply green leaves freezing off the trees, I'll be so sad.
We're supposed to get more snow as the week goes on. I think I've already got Cabin Fever.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
A peek of what's soon to come.
Yes, that's in Fahrenheit!
Warm and hearty breakfast helps to face a cold day!
Friday, October 9, 2009
Wed night, all night: Cough, cough, hack hack, "Mom, I don't feel good." Tylenol, no sleep, ugh.
Thursday Morning: Water in the basement due to husband malfunction (He was repairing the sump pump and left it off. It's been rainy). I told him that if he intended to go to work, leaving me with a mess that he created and a sick kid, that he should be careful what he eats. He took the day off.
Thursday Afternoon: I don't feel good. I'm not hungry. Fever. Fever. Cough. Cough. Fever. "I'm bored." "Do your homework." "I'm not that bored."
Thursday evening: TV. Iron Chef Garbanzo Bean Challenge. (I kid you not.) "Can I sleep in your room?" Slumber party! Kid on mattress on floor. I think I actually slept. Yes!
Friday Morning: Fever. Fever. Cough. Cough. Cough. Half a pot of coffee.
Thankfully, he's a very healthy kid and so, this is probably his "vaccination" for H1N1. I don't want to play into the media pig panic, but it's scary. The flu kills every year and we need to remember that to put all of this into perspective.
Vaccine is hard to come by here in Minnesota and by the time more is available, we all will have had the flu anyway. It's frustrating because there's so much information out there and so much of it is getting slightly skewed by the media just to get better ratings. Do you vaccinate or not? Should you ask for Thimerosal free vaccine if you do vaccinate? Do you need to vaccinate if you've had the disease? And how do you know if you've had the bug their vaccinating for if the doctor's offices are telling you to stay home if you have the symptoms and that they can't test for it anyway?
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Young One is back to school today. No fever, just a cough. He suggested it and was even cracking jokes on his way to the bus stop. So, I know he was ready.
I would have loved to tuck him back in under a blanket on the couch. Spend another day just lovin' on him.
Last night, he requested homemade chicken noodle soup. Homemade, with homemade noodles. I was so tired, I was practically cross-eyed. I just needed some inspiration.
I called my mom, the wisest woman I know. And her answer, "This is what he's going to remember. His mom stayed home and made him homemade chicken noodle soup, with big fat homemade noodles. And one day, he'll talk about it or call home requesting that you make it for him when he visits."
So, I'm not just making a home, I'm making memories. Guess I can handle that! So, I uncrossed my eyes and I made that boy some pretty darn good chicken noodle soup with some big fat homemade noodles.
Just what the doctor ordered. If this
Feel Better and Get Back to Life Chicken Noodle Soup
Start by making my chicken broth recipe found here.
Strain, add chicken meat and carrots back into the pan, along with the broth. Allow to simmer while you make the noodles. If you have a gravy separator, use it to remove the fat from the broth.
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 pinch salt
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon butter--I used Brummel and Brown margarine
In a large bowl, stir together the flour and salt. Add the beaten egg, milk, and butter. Knead dough until smooth, about 5 minutes. I just used my dough hook on my mixer. Let rest in a covered bowl for 10 minutes.
On a floured surface, roll out to 1/8 or 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into desired lengths and shapes. I just used a kitchen shears and cut into bite sized pieces.
Bring broth to a boil and drop noodles into boiling broth. Cook about 10 minutes, lower heat if liquid starts to boil over. Stir to keep noodles separated several times while cooking.
Monday, October 5, 2009
What child doesn't?
Young One is home sick today. Supposedly if he has a cough, sore throat, or fever of 100 or above, we're supposed to report it to the health office. Oh, and if he has "unspecific flu symptoms".
What the hell are those?
Sore throat? Check
Fever of 100? Nope, it's 99.9 So, technically, I don't have to report it, right?
Here's the deal. If they have those symptoms, they need a doctor's note to go back to school. If they have those symptoms, the doctor's office won't see them. They want you to just stay home. So, how do you get a doctor's note?
Talk to each other people.
He probably picked up whatever he has AT school. It's too late to try to contain whatever is going around. It's already there. The last time I talked to the school nurse, they were dropping like flies and her cots were full.
Video games, rest on the couch, juice, chicken soup, Popsicles, maybe a nap, read a little, cuddle with the dogs, Ibuprofen, warm blanket, cool wash cloth, hugs from mom, dumb movie, cartoons, and early to bed.
That's just what Dr. Mom ordered.
Look what $300 can get you at an arcade!
"Mom, they had these back when you were a kid?"
"I think they had them when Great-Grandma was a kid."
"Yes, even back in Biblical times, these glasses were a comedy main stay."
"They must have really needed it back then what with the flood, babies floating down rivers in baskets, and whales eating people."
You can't argue with genius.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Every year I repeat over and over again how much I love fall. I always say it's my favorite season. And it is, until the first snow. And winter is until the first hints of Spring come.
Our little family cabin in the woods is most enjoyed in the fall. I love the smell of the fall woods, especially the sugar maples. The crunch of the leaves as you walk is delightful. Geese are honking as they head South in perfect Vs.
The cabin is on a gravel country road. The walk in either direction is beautiful. We often see Bald Eagles hunting, perched in the woods watching over the open fields.
The next time I hear this, honestly, I'm going to bitch slap the speaker.
Life is about choices. I choose to drive a cheaper car, cut coupons so we can save for vacations, and make our home a happy one. Other moms may choose to work outside the home. I've done that too. Both are equally guilt ridden jobs. Seriously, though, gals, it's time to just let it go.
This fight. Well, it's over as far as I'm concerned. Every time a woman opens her mouth to bash another one, well we all lose.
I'm happy and content with my life and if you're not, then that's your problem, not mine. So, go fix it.
I heard the above quote in the grocery check out line. I must have been wearing my stay at home mom uniform for the speaker quickly summed me up and attempted to cut me off at the knees. I just laughed and said, my life is simpler and happier since I sold my business. I'm really happy just making our house a home. She didn't need to know that I'm not well enough to work. She didn't need to hear all the reasons that I don't. She didn't have to hear that just a few short years ago I worked twelve hour days and seven day weeks.
I did have some parting words for her. "Boy, I did the math when my son was young. I figured out that my salary would have gone for disposable diapers (as I noted in her cart), daycare, and convenience food (frozen lasagna peeking from a bag). Didn't seem worth it to me to be so tired and stressed out over so little."
OK, maybe I did contribute to the fight a little. I guess maybe I did verbally bitch slap her. Forgive me Lord, but my mouth got the better of me and maybe, just maybe, I saved her.
She glared at me and I simply smiled and flashed her the peace sign. Turned my cart around and walked my mom jeans right out the door.
Have a nice day.
Saturday, October 3, 2009
Friday, October 2, 2009
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Well, that's going to change. I've decided that I need to get me back. I spend so much time worrying and taking care of everyone else that I've lost quite a bit of myself. And I want me back. Writing makes me happy, so I'm going to figure out how I can fit it in. Nope, scratch that. I'm going to make it a priority and, at the same time, I'm going to become more of a priority too.
I've been clickin' and clackin' at these keys for years now. I've written many essays, been published under other names, and been working on a novel for a couple of years now.
I remember losing half of said novel when a virus hit my computer. Looking back, it's the best thing that could have ever happened to it. The rewrite has been tremendously rewarding and successful, but I push it aside, let all the squeaky wheels in my life get the grease. Ugh. It's frustrating even to put it down on paper. I'm not even sure I'm getting through.
I come from writer stock. My brother is a published author. My mom a gifted writer. I can rattle off a letter, a story, an article in very little time. This ramble has taken less than five minutes to get out. I get lost in words. I love to play with them. I've received several job offers since I sold my business to work with words, but the timing, the details, or my situation hasn't been ideal. And, honestly, what was really wrong with all these offers is that the words wouldn't be mine. They'd be smothered with do's and don'ts and must haves and parameters that just suffocate the creative energy in me. Not to mention the fact that I'm really not well enough to handle a full time job with full time responsibilities. And I guess, deep down, I want to write only for me, on my terms, and in my time.
I haven't received a dime for any of the writing I've done so far and that's fine with me. I haven't received any credit or accolades either, and that's fine too. My goal is not to earn a living through writing or to get attention or applause, but to get all the words that rattle around in my head down. Perhaps it's a bit of a compulsion, perhaps it's part of a healing process. Perhaps, I'm just a little crazy.
My blog has been solely mine. I don't spread it around, I don't publicize it and I have been very neglectful lately, mostly because I've been writing elsewhere.
Scary as it is to declare this. I want to write. I want to focus less on documenting my life and more on creating what I know are stories I need to tell. I also think I need to make some changes in my blog life. I think I need to branch out and share more to those closest to me and to others.
This is jumbled and not a great example of my writing style, but I'm excited and nervous and ready to focus more on what makes me happy. And what makes me happy is to write. And to write no longer hidden under someone else's name or behind the pages of a tiny blog. I want to own it, claim it, unwrapped and raw, but all mine.
Do I have the courage to click Publish Post? If you're reading this, I guess I do.
Taking a little time to play with words, to play with food, and just to play!