Monday, December 28, 2009

How does he do that?!

I pull the car over to the curb so Dotter, Bean and I can view the beautiful Christmas decorations on this one particular house. It had strings of lights everywhere... and a sign posted that directed us to tune our radio to a particular station. Sure enough the lights dance and jump in time to the music. It's beyond beautiful. There wasn't a section of this home and yard that didn't have a light flashing, mesmorizing... after several quiet moments Bean perks up: "Hey! Listen! The lights match the music! That's cool!" I tell her they're supposed to. That's the point. They coordinate the lights to turn on and off in time with whatever song is on the radio. She was obviously impressed as she sat open-mouthed, watching. After a few minutes she asked, "Doesn't his arms get tired? All that plugging and unplugging? I'd get confused if it were me."

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

All in a Day's Work

8:37pm.
The night before the last day of school before Christmas Break.

Jelly Bean: "Um, Mom, you need to bring me to the store."

Me: [attempting to sit for the first time all day] "For...."

JB: "I have to get presents for my friends."

Me: "Silly child. You have no money and your mommy is smart enough to realize this."

JB: "But I have to get them something because they got me something."

Me: "It's almost nine o'clock at night, Bean."

JB: [full of emotional teen angst] "Why do you always treat me like this? You just don't want me to have any friends!"

Me: "How much are we talking here, Bean. How much money do you have budgeted for each gift and how many gifts do you need?"

JB: "Well...." [look of panic crosses face as she realizes she must employ math skills] "... um, maybe, like, ten dollars for each gift."

Me: "Ok. And how many gifts?"

JB: "Only like six."

Me: "That's sixty dollars - Are you planning on getting a job soon?"

JB: "No."

Me: [silent stare as I wait for her to realize this is a most rediculous request to ask me to pay $60 to buy gifts for her friends at 9:00 at night, especially since she has no plans of actually getting a job and working for her spending money]

JB: "It's just that most jobs you have to work on the weekends and that's the only time I get to see my friends."

****

6:48am the next morning.
Please note the bus arrives at 6:50am.

JB: [screaming into the bathroom where I'm busy showering] "Mom! You need to drive me to school."

Me: "Why?"

JB: "Because I have to turn in my cheerleading uniform."

Me: "... not following you here..."

JB: "Oh my god, Mom! I'm not going to ride the bus with my cheer uniform! That's so lame!"

Me: "What? Get on the bus!"

JB: "Oh my god! Why do you always embarrass me!"

Me: "Throw the uniform in your backpack, Bean. You've got enough room. It's not like there are any books in there."

JB: "You don't understand!" [noises that sound like she's throwing herself to the floor with her arm dramatically covering her face... much like a princess who has fainted after eating a poisoned apple]

Me: "Bean! You're going to miss the bus. I won't be done and dressed in the next three minutes to make sure you get to school on time and I don't think 'didn't feel like riding the bus' is a valid excuse for tardiness."

JB: "But I have my uniform!"

Me: [still yelling through running water] "It's the smallest uniform ever - next to the swim team's. Stuff it in your back pocket if you don't want it in your bag. Christ, stuff your bra with it, I don't care, just get on that bus so you're not late for school."

JB: "I hate you!"

Gleam*

I brush my teeth with hot water because I believe the more the toothpaste bubbles and foams the cleaner your teeth get.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Naughty List

There is this wonderful website called Portable North Pole that helps Santa connect with children. Answer a few questions and a video link is sent to your email that you and your child can watch together.

Cutest thing ever! And, yes, Dotter got one this weekend! She's been questionsing a lot lately (thanks to those unbelievers at school), but there was no denying Santa's existance after this video. (Santa just knew too much.)

"Where's Jelly Bean's?"

What? Jelly Bean needed a video, too? Crap.

So I snuck back to the computer to answer a few questions.... to add to the fun I put her on the naughty list. Laughing my way back to the living room I waited for the Bean to notice her new mail notification inbetween her constant instant messaging. Finally she cooperated and, for the sake of Dotter, exclaimed with great excitement: "Mom! I got a video from Santa, too! Come watch! Come watch!" (A bit forced, I'll admit, but it drew Dotter to her side in half a second.)

I couldn't stop giggling as Santa pointed out that the Bean's constant cell phone usage and lack of helping around the house was earning her a spot on his undesired Naughty List. The Bean gave me a look of, "Thanks, Mom. Only you would do something this dorky." Dotter was, well, quiet.

Hours later, when I returned home from my show, I tiptoed past Dotter's room only to hear her ask, "Mom? Is that you? I really need to talk to you."

"Honey, it's almost eleven o'clock. You should be sleeping."

"I know, but this is important."

"Okay. What do you need?"

That's when I noticed the tears welling up in her eyes. "Mom, what if Jelly Bean doesn't get a present from Santa?"

"What?"

"You have to write Santa and tell him Jelly Bean isn't that bad all the time. What if she doesn't get a present from him? You have to write him, Mom!"

And so it is that I will be composing a letter to Santa Claus this very day to explain to him that the Bean deserves a gift as well. I figure the stamp is cheaper than the therapy Dotter's going to need if her sister doesn't get a gift from Santa on Christmas morning.

Injured Goose

"The PD is aware of a goose with its flipper caught in a trap. We tried unsuccessful to catch it today. It can fly at least far enough to get away. It is hanging around the beach and park area for now. Fellow Mortals will take it in if we can catch it. So until it gets tired there is nothing we can do."

Yes, InterPeople, this is an actual email I just received (as-is). I am currently attempting to resist the urge to run down to the beach and take a photograph of the injured goose.

Friday, December 18, 2009

All because...

Remember, kids, that your choices today may still serve up consequences in the future.

Take me, for instance. One minute I'm envisioning a quaint painted wall in my living room with three framed photos of my beautiful children under one of those cute little painted plaques that say "...all because two people fell in love..." -- the next minute I'm doing an internet search for "all because two people had unprotected sex wall signs."

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

School Suggestion

I think schools should serve alcoholic drinks at their Christmas Programs. That way you'll be concentrating more on what you're going to order next than the fact that for the past twelve minutes you haven't understood a darn word of what those kids are mumbling into the microphone.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

All I Want For Christmas...

The actual Christmas Lists from the girls:

Good Christmas Gift Ideas for Dotter

1. Bob It [Bop It]
2. Alarm Clock (pink one)
3. Are family to have a good Christmas
4. Workout Station
5. Baby hamstir (rill one) [real one]
6. Bunk bed (blue one on budum [bottom] and pink on top)
7. Easy back oven [Easy Bake Oven]
8. mini fridge
9. mini frezzer [freezer]
10. Bathroom in my room.
11. Squeashy brushes [squishy hair brushes]
12. The new barbie house!!!!!
13. American Girl Doll Book: Smart Girls Guide to Saving Money
14. Movie Board that has "ACTION" on it.
15. Zue Zue Pets (any kind) [Zhu Zhu Pets]
16. Barbarque chips
17. Mor mermades (the new ones) [More Mermaids]
18. Mind Flexs!!!
19. CD Player for Dotter. Only Dotter.
20. Karoake CDs
21. A new DS
22. New games for my DS.



Jelly Bean's xmas list:

*Illumina 2 sided lighted make-up mirror (Conair)
* Gift card to Sally Hansen (Sally Beauty Supply)
*Fantasy by Brittney Spears
*Money (to spend on a hair appt.)

Please Leave. Now.

Ok, Cream Colored Shawl Girl, it is time that you leave our office. I just can't handle it anymore. Stop saying "like" between every fourth word. That went out in the eighties. I've counted 78 times that you've slapped your thighs. That's annoying, too. You should probably breathe more, you know, between your incessant rambling. Although, I'm assuming your loud sighs at the end of your tragic monologues is what provides you adequate oxygen to continue. (Lucky us.) And I'm glad you finally noticed that huge green smudge over your right breast but you did not have to stand in front of my male co-worker attempting to rub it off for the last three minutes.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Just a little fun.

Tonight's performance signals the halfway mark of this season's production of Home for the Holidays: A Christmas Musical. Oh yes, InterPeople, I am in a show less than three months after giving birth. (I wasn't planning on it; the original actress bailed last minute. I rehearsed three times before we opened. Two of those rehearsals didn't count because half the people couldn't make it.) Only six more shows to go!

It's sort of like Groundhog Day except only for a couple hours. We joke that we like to keep things "fresh" -- this simply means we like to "do things on stage that will hopefully cause the other actors to break character."

I'm winning.

I just knew my sarcastic wit and humor would come in handy! I throw things in all over the place but I am nice about it. I usually throw something at someone who isn't really part of the scene. That way they don't have to really respond... they just can't laugh. (Random things I've said: "My father was a boyscout." And "I find instructional videos quite effective. That's how I learned to polka." Doesn't mean much here, but trust me, it was FUNNY!) I almost broke a girl last weekend. We'll see what I can pull of this weekend! Although, the guy playing the gayest gay Christmas caroler EVER had me just about busting a gut last show.

We might look like innocent professional actors, but you never know what's going on up on that stage.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Show Off

I love Christmas at the office. Each holiday season we receive boxes of unhealthiness in mass quantities from the various firms we work with (along with this one lone fruit basket from a company that hates us, but that's a story for another day). The expensive, name brand, top-of-the-line chocolate goes home with our boss. The generic boxes get set out on the counter in the spirit of goodwill. Today is a cheap chocolate day and we gladly welcomed a box of off-brand bite sized mint chocolate truffles.

Bite sized to me means "shove the whole thing in your mouth because, hey - they're small enough to make that behavior socially acceptable." My co-worker however, defines its size more as "must take teeny tiny bites ever so slowly and methodically in an effort to make this singular piece of chocolate last as long as humanly possible."

To each his own. Let's just say he's had two pieces to my seventeen. Who's the loser now, fancy eater?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Almond Shortbread

Well, since no one was hospitalized after eating my cookie exchange shortbread, I figured I'd share my secret recipe:

ALMOND SHORTBREAD
1 7-ounce can or roll almond paste, chilled and grated (do not use almond pie filling)
1 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1 cup butter, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Butter a 9x13-inch pan; set aside.
Using electric mixer, combine almond paste, sugar and butter.
Beat on low until combined, then beat on high until light and fluffy.
Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating until mixture is light and sugar is dissolved.
Using a wooden spoon, add flour and baking powder, mix just until all ingredients are incorporated.
Spoon batter into prepared pan; even out and score very shallow lones, using the back of a knife, into batter to mark size and shape desired.
Back 22 to 26 minutes at 350 degrees, until shortbread is a very light golden color.
Cool in pan on wire rack.
If adding decoration, do it before cutting on scored lines.
Pack into airtight container and freeze for up to a month. (Or leave them out and eat the entire pan in one evening like I did.)
Thaw, wrap and present as gifts.
Because they are very rich, pieces should be cut quite small, in squares or triangles.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

What's so hard about a roast?

I found a delicious recipe for a no-fail pork roast. NO FAIL, people. That's a recipe right up my alley! I must admit I was pretty darn successful with the cookies the other night so this would surely be a walk in the culinary park!

The recipe seemed simple enough. A few spices mixed together and rubbed all over the meat. Sear the meat. (Ok, that one had me wondering but it just means to put it in a frying pan and kind of cook the outside real quick. Something I could surely handle.) Toss the wad of pork into a slow cooker, add a bit of water and, according to the words printed on the recipe, "cook on high 2 hours; reduce to low heat and cook 4 to 6 hours more."

On an on this recipe blabbered about how soft and tender and juicy this thing was guaranteed to be. At 11:30pm I closed the lid on the meat and sat down with Cletus to begin his nightly "let's see how many hours I can cry, fuss and fidget" routine. I set my mental alarm for two hours later when I pictured myself walking into the kitchen, bouncing Cletus along the way, and switching the knob from high to low....

The good news is Cletus slept for an unprecedented seven hours straight!

The bad news is the roast was the size of a hamburger patty and I can't get the scorched stench out of the house.

Can't Make Me

Fine. I'll admit it. I've never seen A Charlie Brown Christmas. I won't do it. I don't want to. The song annoys me and the beginning is so darn depressing it leaves me with no choice but to change the channel. I don't want to watch the gang booing Charlie Brown when they learn he's their new director. I don't want to sit through a half hour of Chuck looking sad and depressed and feeling like a complete social outcast. That doesn't exactly scream "Have a Holly Jolly Christmas!" to me It's more like "help yourself to whatever is under the sink; I'll heat up the oven."

Monday, December 7, 2009

Car-ma

My car died Saturday. Well, not really. It didn't die all the way, but it will soon. Kind of like that scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail:
"I'm not dead..."
"What? He says he's not dead."
"Well, he will be soon."

Like I told the guy at the garage, "The headlight is out, and it spastically jerks about if the needle gets near the number two in that little RPM dial thingy."

As if that's not enough, the steering went out in Big V's new-to-him truck. We were in the driveway getting ready to return a video.
"Wow, that squeak is really loud. What is that? Is that a belt?"
"I think it's the rotars."
"The brake rotars? But we're not moving. Do they make noise if we're not moving? Are you sure that it's not a belt?"
"No, I'm pretty sure it's the brakes."

So, V, who knows absolutely nothing about mechanical things, hops back out of the truck, lifts the hood, and stares at the inside because, really, what else are you going to do when you open the hood of a vehicle and know nothing about what is going on inside there? So he stares. And stares some more. And then the truck stopped. As in, the motor just shut off.

Well, ain't that somethin'?

V hops back in the truck, closes the door and sits.

"Maybe it's a safety thing - like if the brakes don't work right then the engine won't let you drive the truck." He gave me this look as if to say, 'you are not helping.'


So here sits a couple with three children between them and no working vehicles. Not good. V, being a man who takes care of things, gets a ride to the shop and brings home a work truck to use, and promptly backs it into the driveway and into my car.

Take your time. You can re-read that sentence again.

Wrong, Wrong, Wrong.

When I am already at the office and you hear me comment that my pants seem just a tad too short the correct response is, "Not at all - they look great; all the sheek New York moms wear their pants that length." It is most definately not, "Well, once you lose weight they'll fit nicer. The fabric won't have to stretch around your butt as far."

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Cookie Exchange Update

I forgot my cookies. You know, the ones I exchanged for. The ones I was supposed to take home to my family and enjoy. Yeah, those ones.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

What's the exchange rate?

I was invited to a cookie exchange tonight. Since I don’t bake, I’m sure you understand the heart palpitations caused by the mere mention of something as scary as this. I am being asked not only to bake a holiday treat that can be packaged in quantities of twelve, but I must do this with the understanding that several people will bring my packages of baked goodness home, where their loved ones will actually attempt to eat them. This can not end good, people.

I found a recipe that looked easy enough called Almond Shortbread. I’m a big fan of Walker’s Shortbread and an even bigger fan of almond paste. Call me crazy, but I think this is a winning combination. Although I was tempted to simply spread the paste straight on to an existing Walker, in the spirit of Christmas I figured I’d at least try the recipe. It seemed easy enough: throw a bunch of ingredients together, mix it up and toss it in the oven. After the “light golden brown” was adequately acquired I removed the pan from the oven to let cool on little wire racks. (Are you impressed I actually own little wire racks? I know I was.)

But before I get too comfortable in my accomplishments I realize there is a lot more to do… and many more options in the “what could go horribly wrong” category. I need to cut up these little guys, package them, deliver them, and wait to see if I get charged with attempted murder.

I’m sure the experienced exchangers will have cutesy little packages filled with gourmet flavored seasonal goodness and tied with a festive bow a la Martha Stewart; I’m just tossing mine in Ziploc baggies with my attorney’s business card tucked in.

The One in which I take my Father for his Covid Vaccine

I got a voicemail the other day from the hospital saying ‘since you’re the contact on record we just want you to know your Dad can get a Cov...