Saturday, May 29, 2010

It was MADNESS, I tell you...

When we think of friends, and call their faces out of the shadows, and their voices out of the echoes that faint along the corridors of memory, and do it without knowing why save that we love to do it, we content ourselves that that friendship is a Reality, and not a Fancy--that it is builded upon a rock, and not upon the sands that dissolve away with the ebbing tides and carry their monuments with them. ~ Mark Twain

BURGER Madness!  We have friends (see above quote) who last year started the first annual Burger Madness.  Last night was the second in what will undoubtedly be a tradition that continue in the same vein.

Upon arriving we needed name tags...with our name AND our burger related name.  I'm "Toasty Buns".  My husband..."The Whopper". 

"The Burger King" made something like 6 pans of gourmet "sliders".  I say sliders like they were something you'd find at White Castle.  These were only similar in diameter.  They were almost as thick as they were around and each pan of burgers had it's own distinct flavor mixed in with the formed patty:  bacon and blue cheese, mushrooms and swiss, jalapeno bacon and cheddar, green apple and canadian bacon, and plain (those are what I remember). moved down the table and with all the "normal" fixings there were again the gourmet toppings...a chipotle onion mayo, a sweet ginger topping, carmelized onions, MORE sauteed shrooms, strips of bacon.  There were sides of spinach salad, asian coleslaw, chips, baked beans, and various dips.  Finally there was a dessert table of bars and watermelon.  A keg of beer, a cooler of pop and water, and a huge jug of ADULT raspberry lemonade.

A perfect warm May night of upper 70s, a light warm breeze.

Friedrich Nietzsche says Madness is rare in individuals - but in groups, parties, nations, and ages it is the rule.

As pertains to Burger Madness...I'll follow the rules! 

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Angels Among Us

I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free. ~ Michelangelo

Today is my baby's 9th birthday.   Matter of fact, as I look at the clock, she was born 9 years and 23 minutes ago and in 10 minutes, I'll be rolled into surgery to stop the bleeding.  The things I do...

We (OK...mostly me, but with agreement) decided to forgo a party this year.  This has been a particularly difficult year, for both of us.  We've both lost close friends and have struggled to find our way.  I think I'm there.  She's still struggling.  So the thought of inviting 8-10 9 year-olds to celebrate her birthday, given how most have treated* her this past year, I was having a difficult time swallowingI suggested an alternative that was readily (to my surprise) accepted.  We spent yesterday having lunch (her choice...Chipotle), and shopping.  The shopping went better than I expected.  We were after accessories for her bedroom because, as part of her gift, I am finally going to repaint her bedroom.   I have been promising for about 6 months but wanted to see her make a valiant effort at keeping her room clean if I was going to put out the effort.  And I removed those restrictions, so I'll be painting next week.

Along with wall art and a few accessories, we also purchased her "fun" gifts...Zhu-zhu pets and accessories.  Something I have to remember,  she is not only "the baby"  but she is, for all practical purposes, still  a baby.  With older siblings, I expect way too much for her and sometimes forget to let her be 9.  The rodent like pets I can deal with (because let's face it...they're not real).

So, my darling baby, you know that you frequently make me crazy.  Of this I have no doubt.  But as I walked past your warm sleeping body on the floor at the foot of my bed (one of the reasons you make me crazy), I can't help but think of all the things that make me wish I could keep you my baby forever:  the "I love you" you say at the end of EVERY phone call to me, the waking up and coming and climbing on my lap first thing in the morning,  the willingness to put on a dress and be all girly paired equally with throwing on a pair of jean shorts and a tank top and digging in the dirt for bugs/worms, the way you are like your father's shadow, wanting to be part of everything he does,  the listening intently you do each night when he reads you a fable and really trying to get the meaning from it (if not necessarily putting said moral into practice), the not leaving my car for school each weekday morning without a good-by kiss no matter my mood (and that kiss ALWAYS lightens it), and the insisting, at 9, that I tuck you in each and every night.

Happy Birthday my angel.

*treated- I have no illusions about my children and know that they can be just as culpable as the next kid.  I'm probably a bit more sensitive to this today as Friday I happened to be at school and had to attempt to stem her tears with girls being mean to her.  She will always be like me in this aspect...taking things way too personally and letting her feelings get hurt.  And at 9, I don't think I'm ready for a jaded child, so I teach her to deal with the hurt in a positive way.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Salsa with a Twist happy as a dog with two tails.  ~ Mark Twain

We had this at friends' house and I figured out how to make it.   This is a small bowl from a 2 qt bowl that I made third time making it this week. It's basically a fresh tomato salsa with corn in it with blue corn tortilla (with flax seed).   My kids are CHOWING on it and who can blame them?  Especially since it's so healthy.

I believe it falls into that food p0rn category.  I'll call this corn p0rn.

And if I had even one tail, you can bet it'd be a waggin'!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

What Did You Do Today?

The thing for us to do is our duty and not worry about whether any body sees us or not. ~ Mark Twain

Each day as I pick up my girls from school, my middle daughter asks me "what did you do today?"  I have to say that I have started to resent her question, which happens EVERY.SINGLE.DAY simply because (and this is MY fault) I feel like I am being asked to justify my day to her, an 11 year old.

Today wasn't really a busy day for me and yet I was busy all day, if that makes sense.  It was my scheduled volunteer day in Beanie's class and I needed to pick up the extra duty of driving the girls to school (just for today) so I had to be showered and ready to go.  I was, picked up our carpool friend and just as I was dropping the girls off at school, the radio mentioned  a piece about Lindsay Lohan and her relationship with a woman who "gave to a lot to charity" and I thought...CRAP!  I forgot to put out the bag for Lupus.
So, I dropped the girls and went back home, got the bag set outside and went to McDonalds to get my volunteer sugar free vanilla ice coffee (for me) and a mocha frappe for Beanie's teacher (it's always good to keep the teacher happy), went back to school and worked for 2 hours.

As I left school, I called Brueggers Bagels ($5.99/doz bagels on Wednesdays) and ordered 3 dozen bagels and said I'd be in around noon to get them.  I went home and grabbed a pair of pants  that I purchased for my husband that were the wrong style and returned/exchanged them at Kohls where I also picked up 3 tops for my middle daughter.  Then I was off to Brueggers.  I picked up my bagels (no, we don't eat 3 was for the carpool friend's family), stopped at a flower mart and picked up a couple herb plants I did not yet have, stopped to drop off the dozen bagels and came home.

At home, I sliced up the bagels and put them in bags.  And Yes, we will go through 2 dozen bagels.  I went out and checked the gas in the lawn mower and it needed gas so I headed with the gas can to the gas station.  I came home and mowed our acre property.  I also planted my herbs in a variety of pots and watered all the pots (no small feat).

I jumped in the shower to rinse off and ran to pick up the girls from school.  With the three in tow, I went to the grocery store and picked up a couple ingredients to make the fresh tomato and corn salsa (that I made yesterday and my family wiped out) and made another batch.  I dropped the carpooler off at home (after missing my turn...a tell tale sign that I was winding down).

I went to watch my middle daughter play her first softball game (won 12-10), and then I picked up my son from his away baseball game (lost...wouldn't tell me the score BUT he went 2 for 2). 

We got home and I made hamburgers,  we had more salsa and watermelon.  Then I cleaned up the kitchen. 

It's 854 pm and that was my day in a nutshell.

What did YOU do today?

Monday, May 17, 2010

She Has Arrived

A great, great deal has been said about the weather, but very little has ever been done. ~ Mark Twain

I believe it is safe to say spring has finally arrived in the great white north.  The snow teaser of a week ago has passed and in its wake left us with glorious weather.  Seriously.  GLORIOUS.

Saturday we had our development clean up.  As president, I had to show up and luckily we had enough people that it made for quick work.  I did a little weeding in my own out of control perennial garden until my husband said..."maiden voyage" at which point I packed up all my tools and prepared to take the boat out for the first time this year.  We took the boat to a small local lake that we hadn't tried and found it lovely.  We tied up with some friends and floated, enjoying the beautiful weather.

Sunday we went to church and followed that up with a lazy day.  I soaked up the sun with a book.  The husband grilled up some tenderloin steaks, which I accompanied with baked potatoes, steamed broccoli, sauteed 'shrooms, and french bread. Does it get any better than that?

I think not.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Challenge

We improve ourselves by victories over ourselves. There must be contest, and we must win.~ Edward Gibbon
And yet, sometimes, we throw in the towel and those who love us think no less of us for having pushed back against our self imposed limits and still 'failed'.  What does all this mean?
My son and his uncle are buffalo wing aficionados.  They have been known to hit 3-5 establishments on any given day and do a taste test comparison, WITH NOTES, as to the best wings in the south metro area.  Friday night, my son and his uncle decided that they were going to be WILLING participants in Buffalo Wild Wings "Blazin' Challenge".  Yes, you can probably guess that the Blazin' Challenge involves eating buffalo wings.  Not just buffalo wings, but buffalo wings that have been  sauced....ok, double sauced in Buffalo Wild Wings hottest sauce, "Blazin'".  The rules are that each contestant has 6 (officially timed) minutes to eat 12 wings.  The contestant may not drink anything during the 6 minutes.  Nor may they use a napkin to wipe sauce/sweat/and yes snot from their hands/face.  They may use their forearm, but no napkin.  All meat from the wings had to be swallowed before the 6 minutes were up.  And should they win the challenge then your picture will be taken for the Wall of Fame and you will receive a t-shirt with the verbiage to the effect of..."like walking across hot coals...but you eat them".
I don't think that we were meant to be there, as I think this was just supposed to be some bonding time between nephew and uncle, but somewhere along the line, it became a spectacle.  Grandma and Grandpa put in an appearance.  The aunt arrived.  Friends and friends of friends arrived.  Because let's face it, a spectacle is not a real spectacle unless...well you have a large audience.
Then came the "consent form".  HUH???  Really?  A consent form?  Because he was underage, I had to sign a consent form.  Yes, me.  The mother.  Because the father passed the form for me to sign (with some lame excuse about not having his know men).  So, I signed.
Then the wings arrived.  Now, I HAVE to say this about those wings.  The chickens they got those wings from were either on steroids or had a serious thyroid problem.  They.were.HUGE.  Seriously.  We got wings after the spectacle ended and our wings weren't half the size of these wings.  And, before they even arrived at the table, the smell of the sauce was singeing our eyebrows.  Once they arrived, I had a tiny taste of the sauce.  Tiny=a spec the size of the head of a pin.  I still have a hole in the middle of my tongue where the sauce acted on my tongue like Alien blood on metal.  At this point I started doubting my mothering instincts.  Did I really sign off on my son, my ONLY son, willingly doing this?  Yes, I did.
I think I have hence forth been disqualified for "Mother of the Year" award.
So, they set the timer and said "go" and the two of them went at it.  By the first wing, the boy's face was bright red.  By the second, I saw a look in his eye that said..."what the HELL was I thinking".  I'm sure it didn't help that he had a peanut gallery cringing with each bite, vocalizing his pain, and commenting on each bite and its correlating physiological response. By the third, sweat was dripping down his face.  At 4 I thought, he's done.  At 5 the nose was dripping water.  After 6 she called half way there.  I briefly thought he's actually going to do this.  Apparently 7 was his limit.  He tapped out, grabbed the sugar and milk they provided and attempted to "douse" the hot coals now dancing in his stomach.  
But the uncle maintained his composure.  His face was relatively clear of sauce and he was moving very methodically through the wings.  He was in pain, but impervious to it at that moment.  And he DID it.  All 12 wings in 6 minutes.
Shortly after the contest ended, thinking this was the last we'd hear of it, my son said he would like to give it another shot.  NOT today, mind you, but another day (a day where I'm sure he won't have the same audience).  I'm also guessing that his next attempt will be on a day when he does NOT have a double header for baseball the next day.  The laws of buffalo wing physics hold true for all in, hot out.  And that's all I'm going to say about that.
My husband has video on his phone and I have to figure out how to load it.  But I will. 

Thursday, May 13, 2010

That Nagging Voice

Our conscience takes no notice of pain inflicted on others until it reaches a point where it gives pain to us. In all cases without exception we are absolutely indifferent to another person's pain until his sufferings make us uncomfortable. ~ Mark Twain

That nagging voice has been silenced.  No, I didn't strangle it, or duct tape it (although that was tempting).  I followed the principles of the book  The Peacemaker and it's like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders.  HUGE. 

And as tempting as it is to claim credit for this change of circumstance, I have finally come to understand that I am not.  I am but a vessel through which He works.  Before approaching the situation, my prayers were that HE help me find the words to do what I needed to doThat I did was a testament to HIS will not mine.

I think I need that tattooed on my forehead.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Get Used to Disappointment ~ Wesley from The Princess Bride

One cannot have everything the way he would like it. A man has no business to be depressed by a disappointment, anyway; he ought to make up his mind to get even. ~ Mark Twain

We have had an unexpected turn of events with regard to my son's x-box.  No, we did not cave in and give it back.  He , after spending a week without, has figured out that perhaps...PERHAPS he was spending too much time on it and has asked us to sell it. *I'll wait for you to pick yourself up off the floor*.  All settled?  

Yes, this was a surprise to us as well.  A good surprise.  Of course, we're not stupid and we know that he DOES have an ulterior motive:  his 16th birthday is the end of next month and I believe that he actually thinks he is going to, with our assistance, buy a car.

I don't think he really understands what owning a vehicle entails.  Insurance...I just called our insurance company to find that adding him as an occasional driver to our vehicles will DOUBLE our insurance.  Yes. Double.  Gas...we're pennies away from gas being $3/gal.  That is just adding him to our policy.  Now, IF he gets his own car, the insurance goes up from double.  There is still the gas issue.  But then there is also the maintenance issue.  Oil change? $20.  New tires? $3-400.  Brake job? No idea.  But it's still money.

Instead of a car, I think I'll make him chili for dinner.  It's rainy and cold.  He was asking for it last night while he was mocking the Penne in a vodka sauce, tossed salad and both cheesy and garlic bread as "sissy"*.  No way can my chili be called sissy.  I doubt it will take the sting out of his disappointment of not getting a car, but it's the best I can do.

*sissy=no meat...*horrors*

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

There is nothing comparable to the endurance of a woman. In military life she would tire out an army of men, either in camp or on the march.~ Mark Twain

Yes, that was more about women than mothers, but I'm going to look at that statement as my dad taught me years ago, when discussing the difference between brandy and cognac:  all cognac is brandy but  not all brandy is cognac.  All mothers are women, but not all woman are mothers.  Those who are mothers know the extent of our endurance.

Luckily, my husband has not allowed me to do anything (ok...much) today.  And I'm ok with that, especially since he is already planning his Father's Day WEEK (yes, WEEK...he gets a whole week, as he does with Chrisapalooza).  Tomorrow, I'll be back to being mom, wife and woman...I'll practice endurance tomorrow.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Pay it Forward

Let's face it, this is not the worst thing you've caught me doing. ~ Tony Stark in Iron Man

Taking a short break from the eloquent Mr Twain this morning.

Yesterday, the weather was cold and rainy all day long.  Having spent the morning chaperoning Beanie's 3rd grade class at Skateville, I was most definitely in need of a relaxing evening.  My older two were off at sleepovers and my  husband suggested we  watch Iron Man.  Reviews of Iron Man 2 suggest that it would be a very good movie and we had yet to see the first one.  So, I went in search of the movie, little realizing the difficulty I'd have.

First I checked the local Red Box.  Close, easy in and out...but no.  It was not in the upteen billion movies in the local one.  Matter of fact, it wasn't in ANY Red Box in the area.  So, I headed to Block Buster POSITIVE I'd find the movie there.  The question was...WHERE?  I checked first under action movies.  No.  Then drama.  Nope.  Then comedy.  Nada.  I checked under Summer Sequels.  Niet.  I checked BluRay.  Non.  I even checked the tables with previously viewed movies thinking I'd just buy it.  Not there either.  I finally gave up (can you say tenacious?) and asked for help only to be led right back to action movies where...there was no Iron Man. became a quest because according to the computer, there were 6 copies of the movie in the store.

All the while we were searching for the movie, my daughter and her friend were out in the car as this was supposed to be just a run in and grab thing and I was to drop them off at a birthday/sleepover after grabbing the movie.  So she is incessantly texting me...what's taking so long? We're late.  Can we just go?

Finally, one copy of the movie is found and I go and stand in the line that 5 minutes early wasn't there.  But now, as I am in a hurry, there are 5 people (but it looks like 15) in front of me.  One keeps going back to the candy counter to pick up different candy...while at the register.  I keep saying to myself, PATIENCE...good things come to those  who wait.  So they're a little late.  No biggie.

I finally get to the register as the woman in front of me is walking out and the manager attempts to stop her saying, "you forgot your coupon" to which she replied..."give it to the next person in line".  That would be me.  All that looking and waiting paid off.  The movie was free with her coupon.

I'm going to be on the look out today to pay my good fortune yesterday forward.  Wouldn't it be nice if we all paid a little kindness forward?

And Iron Man?  Very entertaining.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Like it?

We are chameleons, and our partialities and prejudices change places with an easy and blessed facility, and we are soon wonted to the change and happy in it. We do not regret our old, yellow fangs and tushes after we have worn nice fresh uniform store teeth a while. ~ Mark Twain

I'm playing with the format on my blog.  There were lots of templates to choose from but I sometimes think that when there is too much going on (colors, patterns, etc) important things get lost.  I know that is completely accurate in my house (I'm still looking for things that are "lost in space"), so I figured it would be accurate with a blog too.  I went with simple.  Like it?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Sexto de Mayo - el Día Después

A human being has a natural desire to have more of a good thing than he needs. ~ Mark Twain

My personal preference is that Cinco de Mayo fall on a Friday.  Same as Fat Tuesday (yeah yeah...then it's not Tuesday), Halloween, NYE...well, you can figure out all the different holidays.  But alas it is not to be so.  So, we practice a little restraint.  Believe it or not, restraint IS possible on weekdays.

The girls had a viewing of their recital video yesterday and I had made a giant pan of chicken and green chili enchiladas, mexican rice and refried beans (which were a LITTLE too spicy...too many jalapenos).  Friends brought over Mexican beer and bling.  So we fiesta-ed.   With restraint.

We stopped when we reached the amount of "good thing" that we needed.  Yeah us!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

A good and wholesome thing is a little harmless fun in this world; it tones a body up and keeps him human and prevents him from souring. ~ Mark Twain

Addressing yesterday's really really needs to know one's child's "currancy".  That is...that which has an impact.  Epiphany...Phone=impact.  I had a different child at dinner last night.  One who I am hoping visits often OR...he can move in an make me truly a happy momma! we were blessed with tickets (thanks Jeff!) to the Twins vs Detroit game tonight at the new Target Field.  Today it's supposed to be in the upper 70s! it get any better?  I think not.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Righting a Wrong

It is a wise child that knows its own father, and an unusual one that unreservedly approves of him. ~ Mark Twain

I have my dad visiting this week for the girls' dance recital.  And while there are the occasional topics we agree to disagree on, I believe at my age, I am a child who as Mr Twain writes, "unreservedly approves" of her father.

I'm not exactly sure how I got here, and I'm hoping that one day my own children will look on me (and their father) the same way I look at my father.  That they too will be not just wise, but unusual as well.  The question is, how do we get there?

Yesterday we did something as parents that probably should have been done months ago, attempting to right a wrong.  My son has an x-box, a phone and and ipod.  I don't believe that there is anything wrong with any of those items.  When used in moderation.  The problem is that he tends to take things to an extreme level.  It is not unusual for him to be on the x-box for hours at a time.  Neither is it unusual for him to have his phone in his hand, in anticipation for the next text  coming throughOr using his ipod to tune out the world (which unfortunately includes parents).  What we have noticed through his usage of these three mediums is he is failing to communicate with us in a respectful manner.  We've taken note of this over the past months  but have not really addressed the  issue.  Until this week.  Now we are all bearing the brunt of his punishment.  We have removed both the x-box and a phone.  And make no mistake, this punishment will affect us all.

We don't do this lightly.  Only very rarely do parents exact punishment without considering all the options.  I had hoped that pointing out the disrespectful manner in which he was communicating would be all that was necessary to allow him to rectify the situation, but that wasn't the case.

He's a good kid and the reality is, this is not his failing but mine.  I take responsibility for having failed in teaching him respectful communication.  We both will pay the price as we attempt to right this wrong.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

R is for Rest...or Relief...or Respite

What a robust people, what a nation of thinkers we might be, if we would only lay ourselves on the shelf occasionally and renew our edges! ~ Mark Twain

It is Sunday and we are holding fast to the 3rd (or in some religions the 4th) commandment and "remember and keep holy the Sabbath Day".  With the whirlwind of a day that was yesterday, it's to be expected.

Yesterday was absolutely LOVELY!  In fact things were going so well yesterday that I allowed a spark of pessimism present itself in that surely something would go wrong.  No, that spark never took hold anywhere.  It was perfect.  The girls danced beautifully.  Their curls held up (yes, this IS important). We had a tons of friends and family over afterwards for homemade hero sandwiches (of which I still have an entire 3 ft roast beef left for today), chips, asian slaw, fruit salad and a tray of homemade brownies and chocolate chip cookie bars.  An exhausting day, to be sure, but one for the memory books.

God has been so very good to us!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Recital Day

The average American girl possesses the valuable qualities of naturalness, honesty, and inoffensive straightforwardness; she is nearly barren of troublesome conventions and artificialities; consequently, her presence and her ways are unembarrassing, and one is acquainted with her and on the pleasantest terms with her before he knows how it came about. ~ Mark Twain

It's a busy day today.  My girls' dance recital is today, which meant that I had to have two girls' hair curled last night (check), costumes all put together and last minute tacking of costumes complete (check), lunches packed (check), hair put in their first dance 'do with stage makeup applied (check).  And somewhere in there (like around 10am) I had to be online to get Rob Thomas concert tickets ( it wrong of me not to be able to figure out if my smile is bigger because of today's dance recital or because I will be seeing Rob Thomas on July 16?  Yes...I thought so).  After making sure the girls had EVERYTHING they needed, they boarded buses to the recital (where we will meet up with them afterwards).  Could you hear the sigh of relief?  Thought so.

In preparation of having anywhere from 20-36 people at my house after the recital, I have 6 - 3 foot long hero subs, cole slaw, fresh fruit salad, a jelly roll pan of brownies and a jelly roll pan of chocolate chip cookie bars.  Balloons are ready, flowers are ready, special 10 year gift for my oldest (a bracelet with "I hope you dance" engraved on one side, the date on the other).
Can I be exhausted now?  No?

So here were my girls before leaving for the recital(minus the lip color).  Believe it or not, Mark Twain's words rang very true, EVEN with the artifice of makeup and costumes.  At least today.  They were cooperative, they helped me and each other, which on recital day isn't always the case.  So  I felt his quote fitting.