Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Life Lesson #2

Read the recipe first and check to make sure you have all the ingredients. As a matter of practicality (and minimal frustration) this should be done before you actually start the recipe. I never follow this rule. Therefore things like these have happened to me many times in the past: I am fully prepared to make fried anything and don't have bread crumbs, I am well into making banana bread when I realize - oops - no bananas, I am making chocolate chip cookies and no chocolate chips, I am stirring sauce for lasagna and no lasagna noodles. This results in a few things: extreme frustration, lots of choice language, desperate calls to my neighbors, and sometimes, when those neighbors don't answer (or I am too angry to call them) a really strange concoction.

Fast forward to yesterday (does that make any sense at all??? I don't know I have only had one cup of coffee): I have been craving cranberry/orange bread for a few weeks now, and I have a really good, easy recipe for it. So, it's been on my to-do list for a while. Yesterday I finally got around to making it. I didn't check the recipe because I knew I had cranberries and I had bought 35 oranges about five days ago, so I just figured it was all good. Everything is cranking along nicely when I read, "Zest of one orange." Okay. I go to the fruit basket and rummage through about five apples and about 10 bananas and, what?????????? NO ORANGES??????? Then I remembered Malcolm cutting up an orange and popping it in his lunch box that very morning. Boo.

Well, long story long - I'd had a horrible morning to that point so I skipped calling neighbors. I still want friends, after all. So, I just left out the orange. Yeah. How good is that going to be? Cranberry/orange bread minus the orange. Hmmm.

So, let's take inventory on this situation and I will teach you another lesson (I know I am full of it this morning. Read and learn.) I made this cranberry/orange bread minus the orange (which tasted a bit like - I am sure you have already guessed at this point - BREAD..........with a few cranberries) at about 10:00 a.m. yesterday morning (a full loaf, mind you) and today there is one sad half of one piece on the counter. Sheesh. Life Lesson #3: Not eating meat leads to total and complete desperation in a family of 6.

That's all I got! ;o) Happy eating, my friends.

Monday, May 24, 2010

What started with a giant tricycle ended with a cell phone

And that would be this past weekend. What a hoot. We wound up at the Missions baseball game Friday night. PLAY BALL!!! I grew up the daughter of a serious baseball fan. My daddy loves baseball. I am a zero sports fan - which means I like NO sports (equally). But, I love, love, love being at a baseball game. It takes me right back to when I was a little girl and I love it. Any team'll do - cuz remember I hate sports! ;o) It's just the guy yelling, "PEANUTS, POPCORN,' the seventh inning stretch, singing Take Me Out to the Ball Game, the random balls that go out into the fans, the people watching, the crazy antics at semi-pro games, Henry the Puffy Taco (sorry you have to be from San Antonio to understand that). So, when we wound up at the Missions on my kids' school spirit night - I was happy. What made it even BETTER was that my crazy husband volunteered to ride the giant, trick tricycle to first base along with another mom and the assistant principal after the third inning. Oh, I couldn't wait to see it.

It was everything it promised to be and more. One of the players held onto Ed's leg so that he couldn't actually pedal the tricycle while our kids were screaming from the bench, "GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO DAD!!!!!!!!!!!" Then they squirted Ed mercilessly with a water gun as he attempted to ride this giant tricycle to first base. (The handlebars are loosened to the point where no steering is actually possible). The kids were screaming hysterically and I was having a pretty good laugh. The assistant principal won - which considering the kids still have two and half more weeks of school - I am thankful.

Saturday I was a proud parent day all around. Malcolm competed in San Marcos at Texas State University in a piano competition. Sofia rode in the city-wide bicycle rodeo (she gets that cycling skill straight from her daddy) downtown. It was a hectic, but proud day!

Saturday night despite all of us being exhausted - we decided to brave the BMX track. I packed us dinner and after church we headed out to the track to watch Malcolm race. He did really well for being up since the crack of dawn and out late the night before at the game. It had been a while since the girls and I had gone out to the track and it was really fun. I think Malcolm liked us being there to cheer him on because in the main event he pushed it and took first. It was a sight to see and we were proud.

Sunday brought big changes in our family. I succumbed to the pressure of the world and bought a cell phone. Malcolm (he's 8) promptly told me how to change my ringer and get to games (according to him that's 'very important'). It is proving to be a challenge and I am not really sure it's going to improve my quality of life, but we shall see.

The good news - the phone has a camera. So, I may actually be able to provide nice photos again of everything I am talking about. Don't hold your breath, though. If it's like everything else with this phone, I should be able to do it in about a year. ;o)

Good weekend to start what promises to be a crazy week. Hope yours was good and hope your week is great. :o)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

How Do We Know It's May Without Looking at the Calendar?

It's a short and sweet (well, kind of) list.

1. We are too busy to look at the actual calendar. And, just a little frightened. And rightly so. Last time we looked at the calendar we found we'd missed a few "important" meetings.

2. Mom (that would be me) is incredibly cranky for no reason other than I have a lot to do in very little time (31 days - well, I sense we are way less than that now).

3. It is getting harder and harder to wake up in the morning. The alarm rings - I punch snooze. It rings again (I think five minutes later) and I punch snooze again. It rings AGAIN - MAKE IT STOP. I have a conversation in my head (every morning) and it goes something like this: Do the kids really need to go to school? Will the world end if they are late? Like noon? Do I really need to get up? Why can't I just sleep till tomorrow? Do I need to work-out? Really? This early? Can I get an IV for some coffee?

4. It is taking more and more of said coffee in the a.m. to make me remotely coherent.

5. My nights are getting later and later.

6. I am sick, sick, sick of making lunches.

7. I don't even want the kids to do their homework because I want everyone to play outside.

8. I suddenly can't plan a menu, and if I can I can't stick to it. Like this week for example when I planned five meals that require cooking oil...........and then I forgot to buy cooking oil.

9. I suddenly feel compelled to make lots and lots of lists and cross things off and rewrite them.

10. My baby is turning SIX sooner than I would like to think about and I am wanting the days leading up to that milestone to go very, very slowly.

That, my friends, is how we know it is MAY! No calendar required. Stay sane!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Being a non-meat eater and buying a cell phone

Now, upon first reading you might think - what could these two things POSSIBLY have in common. Or, has Monica gone to an alternate universe? Well, my friends, that's why I am here - to introduce similarities into your life and deepen your understandings. Turns out these two things have a whole lot in common. To make this easy for you to understand (he-he-he, like that?) I have composed a simple list - which for your sake I will call:

What Being a Non-Meat Eater and Buying a Cell Phone Have in Common

1. They are both seemingly impossible for someone who has a problem with decision-making. Duh. That's a no brainer for the cell phone, right? I mean could there be a few more decisions to make in buying a cell phone...................NO because you would spontaneously combust under the pressure. Holy cow! I will just insert a sample of my conversation with a cell phone rep (who was about 14) and you can surmise the implications. "Now, depending on how much you text, access the web and call on any given day you can choose between our family limited plan, family unlimited plan, divorce limited plan, divorce unlimited plan, text/call/web plan, text/call plan, web/call plan, text/web plan, or our unlimited everything including eating because you are so stressed out with your %$#&() plan plan."

Now, here's the surprising thing I have learned - turns out not eating meat is hard for the person who is indecisive. I know you are thinking, "Why?" So, this is the dialogue in my head at the grocery store (with a screaming baby in the cart): So, do I buy asparagus (which I am not sure I have ever cooked before), or artichokes, which I know I love but happen to cost as much as like 35 night diapers? Should I try the tofu burgers or the vegetable burgers (or is tofu a vegetable?) or the.....................................hey - what is tofu anyway? Do I want to risk it? What is another way to cook eggplant besides deep fried and smothered in sauce and cheese? What is cheese anyway? Isn't it just meat in another form? Holy cow. So, you can see how very quickly I am 35 minutes into my one hour shopping trip with................hello????????????????? AN EMPTY CART. Lead me to the ground beef, I say. (just kidding)

2. They both require an incredible amount of time. I have spent countless hours researching this cell phone business to the point where I am totally and completely convinced that not only might they be the root of all evil I am not even sure I WANT one anymore. Just a quick example - overage, roll-over minutes, nine-key (or something like that) keyboard (which 'novices' like me will need - according to the aforementioned 14 year old cell phone goddess), unlimited (which I have learned is hugely deceptive), and on and on. Jeez. I am learning another language here, people.

So, what gives on the not eating meat. Hello????????? I am (insert any age you want over 19) and have been cooking for a long time.................WITH MEAT. It's mindless, so to speak. Now I am cooking WITHOUT meat. It's a little like driving - without a car. I am on allrecipes.com at least 8 hours a day. Then add the cooking time to that. Is it any wonder I haven't showered in days?

3. They both have driven me straight to the bottle (just kidding - the CAN - and I don't mean the toilet ;o). Immediately after getting in the house after my visit to two cell phone businesses I had to pop a can of cerveza in order to clear my head. Yeah, it was that bad.

And, well I am finding (and I must say I kind of like this one) cooking with lots and lots of veggies takes a while. It's not like popping that chicken in the oven or frying those greasy burgers up. I find myself pulling out tools like vegetable peelers and garlic presses and actually having to use them. And, well truth be told - having a cold beverage handy sure does aid in the process.

4. They both may be simply a phase I am going through (no, I am not too old to go through a phase). After all, do I really need a cell phone? Is meat really the root of all evil? Well, sadly (or happily - depending on how you look at it) I know the answer to both of those questions. And, this brings me to the last similarity.

5. They both promise to transform my life and have the potential to affect generations to come. See? You thought this was just going to be another one of my crazy rant/lists, right? Well, it's not. Don't worry - I get it. I need a cell phone so that my kids can grow up knowing what a cell phone is. And, we don't need all the meat we were consuming before. Change is a coming, friends. Prepare yourselves and be ready! I'll text you soon with my new recipes and uploaded photos of all the great food I am eating. Just be forewarned.....I may be a teensy bit tipsy. ;o)

Monday, May 10, 2010

We may have turned a new leaf, or Mother's Day 2010

Yes, it was bittersweet. The first without ma. But, then again Mother's Day has always been painful for me. We lost Frank a few weeks before Mother's Day 2000 and I will never forget that Mother's Day - only my second being a mother myself. Alone and heartbroken I remember sitting in our sad childless apartment not wanting to call my own mom for fear that I would not even be able to say "Happy Mother's Day" without breaking down. Knowing that although her heart was breaking too for the loss of her sweet grand baby she would try to comfort me because that's how she was. I don't think I could bear it. I think we spent the day alone and speechless. Somehow in the years that followed I was not ever able to shake that miserable day. There has always been a curse on the day for me. I remember being numb for a few years and then just being "not great."

Surprisingly, yesterday was fabulous. I was dreading it like the plague. I guess I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, but I am happy to report - it didn't. I awoke to omelets cooking and the strong smell of hash browns frying in grease and Starbucks coffee being brewed. Yummo. The kids were anxious to give me all their home made presents. I treasured them. My own mom was present all day in my thoughts. But, instead of making me sad it made me pleasantly happy and at peace. I thought of her upon waking and then again when I was reading the card/book "What my mom means to me" from Sofie. "I am happiest when....'Me and my mom sit together.'" This accompanied by a fabulous picture of both of us.................... sitting (because, of course, what else would it be a picture of?). Again I thought of ma. In the months leading up to her death she carefully went through several boxes of "stuff" she had stored throughout many, many years. In one of the boxes we found cards I had given her as a child that she had painstakingly saved. How sweet is that? We read through them all in her spare bedroom. We laughed and cried a little. They were funny and touching. She said, "Take them, sweetie and show them to your kids." Looking back it was like she knew she would be gone soon and that this was one more passing of the torch.

It was right after gift giving that Ed told the kids, "Today is Mother's Day. If you need anything or have any questions today you will need to ask me." Say what????? That was all I needed to do.................absolutely nothing! So nice. I think I may have read every section of the paper before company arrived. I did two work-out tapes (yes, I worked out on Mother's Day - call me crazy or call me a slave to burning fat - and Lord knows I consumed my fair share all day long) and I didn't take a shower till the eleventh hour (didn't want to totally offend the company).

I had a cold beer slightly before noon (it was a special occasion, so take that frown off yer face) with chips, salsa and guacamole. And then I continued to eat my way through the day.

It was great to gab with friends and family, feast on good food that I didn't have to cook, and go through the day without once worrying about cleaning up, changing loads of laundry, or directing the four small people who call me mom. Yay Ed! He done good. Good day. I felt mom here with us, and I feel the curse of the day may finally be broken. I hope all my momma friends had a great day and that it has given you the strength - as it has me - to be great mommas for one more year! Happy day, my friends. :o)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Daily Grind

Well, after my TV debut (even if it was just my hands) I am having a teensy bit of trouble going back to the Daily Grind, or the chaos that is my life. Can you imagine what a full-blown date with fame would have done? Thank God we didn't have that. The house would be a true disaster. After a whirlwind April, I am trying to get back into my routine of writing, cooking, cleaning, and staying close to my print schedule. Since the whirlwind is not quite done yet (I am looking at the family calendar and seeing many nasty penciled-in activities for the month of May) this is not an easy task. Ah, well. I am persisting.

That's it for my writing today since baby is becoming restless, there is the aftermath of breakfast in the sink, there are two loads of laundry calling my name, baby is probably going to want breakfast, there is the trunk full of organizational systems needing to be exchanged (yes, I am still redoing my downstairs - thank you very much), there is one swimsuit piece that needs to be exchanged, a P.O. to be completed, and there is that desparately needed shower. But, before I sign off - I will comment on a blog post reference from my good friend and wonderfully talented blog writer, Shannon. I too want to strangle people when they say, "What do you do all day???"

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Shameless self-promotion

You will have to wait another 23 days (that is an approximation) to get the swimsuit edition part II. Right now I am just posting the Piggies and Paws TV clip. It was a very kewl (thanks for that lingo, Jessica) day! TV station, lunch downtown with Jenn and some other artists, Mother's Day delivery (that's one more down - YES), pizza, and book with the kids. :o) Hope you enjoy and can actually access the clip. I am sure there is a more efficient way to do this, but I don't know what it is. ;o)http://www.woai.com/content/livingvideo/default.aspx