Thursday, November 29, 2012

Temporary Bliss

I've been swept up by my typical December knitting jag.  Socks! Scarves! Cowls!  It might be because Anna moved out and I have realized (a full 4 months later) that I now have an extra dresser.  A dresser that might be useful for, say, holding all the yarn and knitting notions I've been keeping stacked along my bedroom wall and hidden under a blanket.  A dresser that Larry, in his innocence, would assume was full of clothing....

Apparently, I'm not the only one who has thought of this...

 So, one happy day, I managed to sort through my entire stash and reorganize it and, well, hide it.  And then, as I have already related, I accomplished the Herculean task of cleaning up my house to host Bunko (permanently traumatizing my children in the process).  So now, not only can I find what I need in order to knit what I want, but there is also a nice tidy living room in which I can sit down and do just that. 

Allow me to gloat - I know that it isn't going to stay that way.  I just need to live inside this fantasy of mine for a little bit.   Reality can wait.

[Yarn image: Living Large With Less]

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

November? Still?

My leftovers didn't look this tidy.
Oh, hi.  Tuesday, you say?  I've been so busy making the kids cry by forcing MORE Thanksgiving leftovers on them, I sort of lost track of the time.  Used the last of the turkey today.  I think there are still a few mashed potatoes lurking somewhere in that fridge of mine, though.

KIDS! DON'T MESS WITH ME!  I have leftovers, and I know how to use them.

I am completely discombobulated by the fact that it is 5 days post-Thanksgiving, but it isn't December yet.  Also, by the fact that I used the word "discombobulated..."

Larry and I found a bottle of white wine in the freezer yesterday.  That's normal, right?  Wine-sicles, anyone?

If I sound distracted, it is because I am typing this in Starbucks, where I am surrounded by a veritable bevy of Norwegian-looking au pairs.  These girls are beyond gorgeous.  I'm thinking I was wise to avoid ever hiring one, seeing as how I really didn't need my lovely postpartum self to look even worse by comparison.

That's all I got tonight.  I have to head home now and yell at the kids for messing up my Bunko-clean living room.  Maybe I should get a live-in maid.  An old, unattractive one, of course...

[Leftovers image: The Weather Up Here]

Sunday, November 25, 2012

What Would Hillary Do?

Easy to use, no training required
My 10-year-old Rachel is enjoying her longed-for tennis lessons this fall; but I was having a hard time that first week watching the 2 girls in the class pick all the balls up off the court, while the only boy practiced his baseball pitches against the court fence.  The instructor was busy talking to Mr. Hot Shot's father, so neither of them said anything to the kid about his shirking.

"Rachel," I said, on the way over the next week.  "Don't let him get away with that this time.  Hit him on the legs with the ball picker-upper tube and tell him to help."

I sensed a doubtful silence emanating from the seat behind me.

"Never mind," I told her.  "I'll show you how it's done."

I fumed about the unfairness of the situation all the way through the 2-mile walk I took during the first part of Rachel's lesson.  If any puffed-up blowhard of a dad thinks that MY DAUGHTER should pick up after HIS SON, I told myself, then he's going to hear about it from me.  I arrived back at the court fired up with righteousness, a post-menopausal avenging angel for all the indignities ever visited upon the fairer sex. 

Hillary would have known what to do.
No wonder Hillary Clinton didn't care about all that crap that was spewed at her in 2007/2008.  No wonder Nancy Pelosi can get through a day without heavy drinking.  They're not at the mercy of their hormones anymore.  And now?  Neither am I.  FIRST I'd tell the kid to pick up those balls.  And THEN I'd tell that dad what I thought of his son AND of his parenting.

My plans were laid.

But, wouldn't you know, that wily kid was actually doing his fair share that day?  I'm thinking that, in typical male fashion, he vaguely sensed the feminine fury headed his way.  So there I was, left with noone to instruct on the nature of true gender equality. 

What happens to a diatribe deferred, anyway?

[Tennis ball tube image: ExpertLaw]

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Cranberries Redux

Because SubWife has requested it, I am sharing the recipe for my cranberry muffins (featured at my latest Bunko extravaganza).  No dairy!  No eggs!  Tastes great!

Cranberry Bread/Muffins
(makes 4 loaves/48 muffins)

Santa loves me
Step 1: Buy a KitchenAid Mixer.  No, seriously, I went 19 years without one, all while having to make our baked goods from scratch due to my oldest's dairy allergy.  19 years of baking without the aid of simple technology -- that was all I knew, people.  That changed 2 years ago, however, when Larry surprised me with a stand mixer for Christmas.  I had never dreamed of receiving such an expensive and useful gift, not least because Larry's familiarity with kitchen tools extends only to his little pizzelle maker.   Turns out a friend of mine heard me talking about my penchant for entering the numerous online raffles for a KitchenAid; and, shocked that I had gone all those years without one, she told Larry he had to buy it for me.  She even got the color right.

Best. Christmas. Ever.

Step 2: Gather your ingredients:

4 cups white flour
3 cups whole wheat PASTRY flour (can also be white, if you so desire)
3 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder

1 cup oil (or butter, if you wish)
2 cups liquid (milk/soy milk/water or any combination thereof)
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup applesauce
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp vanilla extract

Step 3: Combine all the above.  Really, it's that simple.

Step 4: Fold in 2 bags of cranberries (preferably frozen, so they don't get mashed). This is the part that used to make me cry when I was doing it by hand.  I guess I should work on my upper body strength more.

Step 5: Pour batter into greased loaf pans and/or lined muffin tins.  Remember to let the children fight over which color muffin papers to put in which tins.  Rituals are important.

See?  It works.
Step 6: Place in preheated (oops - forgot to tell you to do that) 350-degree oven for about an hour (bread) or 20-25 minutes (muffins).

Step 7: Neglect to set timer and spend the next hour obsessively checking with a toothpick to see if the bread/muffins are done.

You're welcome.  You can halve the recipe, of course; but we use the extra loaves as Christmas gifts for our long-suffering neighbors who have put up with the myriad inconveniences inflicted on them by our family for the past 15 years. 

[Mixer image: Everything Kitchens]

Thursday, November 22, 2012

You Can Have Anything You Want

...except a singing turkey, I guess.  You see, it's a Thanksgiving Day tradition on this blog to post the video of the turkey singing "I Will Survive."  But this year, due to some copyright thing-y, I am not able to do so. I don't really understand it. I mean, if someone wants me to pay them so that I can post that thing, I will. But there doesn't seem to be any option to do that.

So, I sulk.

I guess I could dress up in a turkey costume and sing the song and have someone film it, if we possessed either the tools or the talent. But we don't, so we shall have to go with a different Thanksgiving tradition this year. You know, the one involving Alice.

Remember, if you want to end war and stuff, you gotta sing loud.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Bunko Clean

Sorry I went missing the past few days.  I had to host Bunko last night, which entailed a marathon cleaning session all day Monday.  Despite the daunting task before me, I tried to stay hydrated and calm; I even managed to institute a sort of relay event, wherein I would spot stray items in our living areas (the entire main floor) and call out a child's name, the name of the object, and the room to which said child should relocate said object.

ALL DAY, I had to do this.  I swear, we live like pigs.

Delicious, if I do say so myself...
Add to that the necessity of cleaning the top of the fridge (it was bad), clearing off the kitchen hutch, scrubbing the burned whatever off the stove top, and - oh, yeah, - PREPARING THE FOOD, and you can see we had the makings of a major housekeeping athletic event on our hands.  And I'd like to take a bow here - I still let the kids help bake the brownies and the mini cranberry muffins.  I did.  I am awesome.

Come to think of it, having been revved up to top speed since my feet hit the floor in the morning, I might have come off as slightly maniacal to my lovely guests.  The four Bunkos that I rolled didn't help.  Yup, the hostess won.  What a fantastic evening.

And my fellow slobs know the best part, right?  I woke up this morning to a CLEAN HOUSE, albeit with a kitchen littered with Bunko leftovers.  I fed the kids those leftovers all day.  Believe me, after yesterday?  They earned it.  And I sat around in my clean living room, gazing lovingly upon my uncluttered dining room hutch and yelling at the kids if they so much as left a pencil lying around.

They might as well get used to it -- no more Mrs. Nice Guy.  I'm not going back to that mess we were living in.  At least, not this week...

[cranberry muffins image: Fit WebMD]

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Love Among The Waffle Fries

After her tennis lesson today, Rachel and I dropped by a crowded ChikFilA for a snack.  It was so crowded, in fact, that we had to grab 2 seats right next to a middle-aged couple, at what would normally be a table for 4.  At first, we were too busy breaking open our portion-control-size condiments to pay attention to our new neighbors; but I became aware of their conversation when I heard the woman say, dismissively, "He's just obsessed with his car and his motorbike."

Whereupon her husband said, "Well, when you're not married, you can do what you like."

I froze.  Wouldn't you have done the same?  When you're not married, you can do what you like.  Them's fightin' words, buddy.  Even though you don't realize it...

Without missing a beat, his wife said, "You don't get to do what you like?"

Why do I want to mention here that she was wearing a snowflake sweater?  She was.

...and agree with their wives.
Her husband, seemingly unaware of the danger, said, "I just meant that, if he wants to up and move to California and live in a shack, he can do that."

Snowflake Sweater Woman, with an edge to her voice that even Mr. Clueless next to me could identify, "Do YOU want to move to California and live in a shack?"

Rachel, blissfully unaware of the marital drama being enacted less than 2 feet away, continued to eat her waffle fries. 

Mr. Clueless, standing his ground, "Well, maybe I do.  That's not the point.  I'm just saying he doesn't have to ask his wife."

"Because you're free to go do that," said Snowflake Sweater Woman, stiffly. "You can do what you like. But I'm not going to live in a shack."

Whereupon her husband, obviously a married person of great experience, changed the subject of the conversation.  But he knew he was right.

Kleenex Is My Friend

Way too tired to write coherently tonight.  That cold/sore throat thing Larry brought back from Chicago has more lives than a cat: I seem to be suffering a relapse, Susie is now hacking away all night, David was laid low for a day or two and thus couldn't work on persuading our new printer to get along with whatever weird Linux software he installed on our old desktop, and -- somewhere in there -- Brian was sick also.

Larry's fine now, though.  I know, you were worried.

To top it all off, today I left the kitchen table for only a few minutes (after watching Susie giggle through her lunch, despite her sore throat), only to hear Brian announce that Susie was standing in the bathroom and feeling sick.  Gingerly patting her on the back as she vomited into the toilet, I shouted, "WHY are you throwing up?  You aren't sick that way!"

We're using a lot of these.
Not one of my finer parenting moments, I'll admit.  And I do wish we hadn't had tuna for lunch.  

I have to try to get to sleep, although I'm sure Susie will wake me with her coughing in an hour or two.  (Although, let's face it, as long as she isn't vomiting, I shouldn't complain.)  I need to take Rachel to her tennis lesson tomorrow morning.  SHE's perfectly healthy, which makes me think she's made a deal with the devil.  I wouldn't put it past her...

[Kleenex image: IHeartKroger]

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Twix Me Maybe

Contrary to how it may appear, I'm still here.  I've just been busy with this, and that, and the other. 

That leftover Halloween candy isn't going to eat itself, you know.

Don't judge.

Also?  Someone has to get to the bottom of this Petraeus business.  Citizen investigative reporter, that's me.  Amazing what one can learn on Twitter.

Anywhoo, in between Twix bars and Twitter updates, I managed to escape (ALL BY MYSELF) this past weekend to visit some neighbors who had moved a few months ago.  I drove up to their independent living community (or what they somewhat fondly refer to as their Adult Detention Center), where I spent an enjoyable day or so in the company of lots of people so much older than me that I left feeling rather spry and spring-chicken-ish.

Then I looked in the mirror.

On my way back, I visited my dad in NJ.  Let me just say that I have never seen so many downed trees and cut up tree trunks and branches in my entire life.  People, things were pretty darn serious up there.  They still are, in fact.

Donate to the Red Cross, will you?  I don't know what we would do without those people.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Signed, Sealed, Delivered

Here is our President's acceptance speech, for those of you who might have missed it.  Or maybe you'd just like to hear it again.  I never get tired of it, myself.

Really, there's nothing more to add, is there?  Congratulations on your re-election, Mr. President! 

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

There's Got To Be A Morning After

Went to bed at 2:30 last night.  Exhausted.  Just popping in to say hi, since I have to go clean up the wreckage that is my household after I neglect it for several days to get out the vote.  If something ever happens to me, Larry is so screwed.  I don't think he makes nearly enough to pick up a trophy wife willing to raise his 4 youngest children and manage his household.

God bless America!

Monday, November 05, 2012


Miracle Cure
I'm not talking to Larry any more, because he gave me his stupid cold.  21 years of marriage, and he does this to me.  I swear, it makes me want to holla.  Except I can't, because my throat is sort of sore.

Pass me the orange juice, will ya?

This is me tomorrow, only with Dansko's.
 In other news, there's an election here in the States tomorrow.  Who knew?   Life has become officially insane - the price, it seems, of living in a swing state.  Facebook posts from the past two days make the Civil War seem like a little spat between close friends, by comparison.

And yet, "swing state" -- it sounds fun, anyway.

Dear Lord, just let it all be settled Tuesday night.  We can't take an extra month full of court cases and recounts.  Save us from ourselves, please.

Maybe I'll have a bit of vodka with that juice, come to think of it...

[Orange juice image: EcoNews]
[Voting booth image: Dan's Hamptons]

Saturday, November 03, 2012


What with keeping up on Hurricane Sandy developments (I am, after all, a born-and-bred Jersey girl) and following the political craziness of the imminent election, I am going to need social-networking detox next Wednesday.  In other words, I have fallen down the Twitter well and I can't get out.  Where are first responders when you need them, anyway? 

It looks like this - just erase the shoreline a bit
See?  I just stopped blogging to check Twitter.  I can't stop salivating over @CoryBooker, the amazing super-mayor of Newark, NJ.  When the man isn't saving women from burning buildings, he's delivering blankets to the huddled, power-less masses and inviting them to his house to eat lunch and charge up their cellphones. 

I wonder if he would marry my daughter?  He seems like such a nice young man.

You know, maybe you just shouldn't expect me back until after Tuesday...

[NJ image: Wikipedia]