Chicken Fried Vogue

For 15 years and most of her adult life, Bubblez lived in the suburbs of a major metropolitan city. She enjoyed taking her children to museums, parks, and dates at Starbucks. Then Bubblez moved to the country and her En Vogue attitude got chicken fried. Her yard is a park where the neighbor's rooster won't stop crowing, Starbucks is almost an hour away, and her large collection of fancy shoes is worthless. But, living in the acres of green has presented more opportunities for living "green" as Bubblez travels the path toward self-sufficiency (and bitches ((and prays)) along the way).

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Eating Well While The World Ends

I sat down at my computer last night to order groceries for my daughter in Brooklyn, New York. Ayla works in theatre. That is to say, when the city hasn't been shut down to stop the spread of a potentially deadly virus, she works in theatre. Right now, like many, she doesn't work at all. My daughter has a unique set of circumstances which make me feel very fortunate to be living lost in the middle of a flyover state. Because of COVID-19, Ayla has been quarantined to her apartment and shops she can get to on foot. The few places available for grocery shopping are quite expensive.

Enter Mom.

I immediately began filling online shopping carts with canned or dried essentials. I didn't want to just send any ole items, though. I wanted to know that she would be able to make tasty and nutritious meals from items that could both ship without much expense and be stored under a bed or anywhere else she can find room in her small New York apartment. I had a few ideas, but then some of the items I wanted weren't available. However, thanks to the website purchase suggestions, I found other items I hadn't even considered.

Enter Chef Mom.

After an hour or so of bouncing between Amazon and Walmart websites, (I didn't even think to try Target or any others.) I had enough items purchased to feed her dinners for at least a week or two, plus a few treats. As I was compiling recipes to let her know what I had in mind meal wise when I ordered, it occurred to me that maybe other people could use this information, too.

Now, I have to be honest and admit that I haven't actually tried any of these recipes. The measurements are all guesses. I put them together based on years of past cooking experience and a good idea of what my daughter is capable of in the kitchen. If you don't have much experience with cooking, all I can say is, I guess this is a good time to learn "how Grandma used to do it".

Start with any recipe. Swap the ingredients called for with the ingredients you have on hand. Think about the flavor of each ingredient. Really think about it. Taste the ingredient you want to use by itself. Is it a good substitute?

I have a cooking pet peeve. You would be amazed by how many times I have needed lime juice for a recipe and didn't have any. Inevitably, someone will say, "we have lemons." Here's the thing. Lemons look like limes. Lemons are acidic and citrusy like limes. Guess what. Lemons don't taste like limes! If you are needing an acid for a citrus based marinade, lemon juice (or orange or pineapple) might be a suitable substitute. If you actually need the lime flavor, though, if you actually think about how lime tastes and tingles as it dances on your tongue, dill is a better substitute.

The point is, don't make assumptions. Really think about what you are adding in. If you don't have a suitable flavor match, think about what you want the overall dish to taste like and consider subbing other ingredients as well, even if you don't have to. Swapping chicken for beef will make a dish less savory. Do you want to embrace the lighter and sweeter flavor of the chicken and sub some of the other ingredients for lighter ones? Or do you want to add different ingredients to make the dish more earthy and savory?

There aren't any wrong answers. It's all just about making a dish become something YOU want to eat.

Once you are happy with your substitutions, cook and TASTE.

Think about what you are tasting. Try to pick out the different flavors you know you put in. Ask yourself what you WANT to taste. Add more of that thing if you can. Ask yourself these questions in order. Is it sweet (salty, spicy, earthy, acidic, rich, sour, or bitter)? Do I want it sweet (etc)? How do I make it more or less sweet, etc? If you want it more sweet, ask yourself: what sweet ingredients are already there? Corn? Squash? Fruit? Nuts? Cinnamon? Do I want to add more of that or something else that is also sweet? You'd be surprised how many savory dishes contain brown sugar. If it's too sweet, look up what you can do to fix it. (Add something salty or acidic in small increments until it tastes better to you.)

Ok, now that we've finished your brief introduction to quarantine cooking, here are both the shopping list and the recipes I sent to my daughter.

Trail Mix
Coconut Milk 
Cumin Powder
Cadbury Mini Eggs
Beef Base
Canned Chicken
Canned Corn
Canned Mixed Vegetables
Dried Penne noodles
Dried Spaghetti noodles
Canned Ham
Velveeta Shells and Cheese single servings
Apple sauce
V8 Juice
Jars of Marinara sauce
Dry Northern Beans
Chicken Base
Canned green chilies

I assumed she already had chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper.


For all of these options, it would be ideal to begin with a mirepoix, but I wrote this assuming that fresh produce is difficult to obtain.  

Coconut Corn Chowder

Canned Ham
Chicken Base
Coconut Milk
Canned Corn
Green Chilis
Onion Powder
Garlic Powder

*This can be modified in a thousand ways. You can use chicken or turkey instead of ham or make it vegetarian. Use vegetable base instead of chicken base and it can be vegan. You can add beans, rice, potatoes, tomatoes, or different kinds of peppers. You can use cow's milk and cream instead of coconut. You can add curry powder and ginger for a Thai flavor.

Dice 1/2 canned ham. Combine enough chicken base with water to equal double the volume of 1 can of coconut milk. More base can be added later if you want a richer flavor. In a medium pot, mix chicken base, diced ham, 2 cans of corn, one can of green chilies, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, and 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer for 20 minutes. Add one can coconut milk. Simmer another 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. You might like adding a small splash of vinegar.

Vegetable Soup

Tomato Juice or V8
Canned vegetables, variety
Beef base
Onion powder

*options include adding chunks of beef, adding beans, potatoes, rice, noodles, or pasta (minestrone), or hot sauce.

Mix beef base with water to make 2 cups. In a medium pot, combine, beef base, 4 cups of juice, 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder, and 2-3 cans of vegetables depending on how hearty you want the soup and whether or not you are adding a starch. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Simmer 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. 

White Chicken Chili

Northern or Navy Beans
Chicken Base 
Canned Chicken
Green Chilies
Chili Powder
Onion Powder
Garlic Powder
White pepper (or black pepper)

*options include adding coconut milk or cow's milk for a creamy version and/or sour cream, cheese, jalapenos, salsa, green onion, etc 

Soak 2 cups dry beans overnight in saltwater with a pinch of baking soda. 
The next day, rinse the beans and place them in a medium pot with twice as much water, 3/4 teaspoon of salt, and enough chicken base for 2 cups of broth. (If using canned beans, omit the salt and reduce the water by half.) Bring to a boil and simmer until beans are tender adding more water if needed. When beans are tender, add 2 small cans chicken, one can of chilies, 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon of cumin, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon white pepper (less if using black), and salt to taste. You might find that you prefer more cumin or chili pepper flavor or more chicken base. Adjust to your liking.  

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Wild Game (by Nikpod)

It's chasing me. I don't know what it is, but it's coming, and if it gets me, I don't know what kind of horrible things it would do to me. I find myself in some plains. If I run a little farther, I can hide in that forest. No! It's still behind me. I have to keep running. I don't want to think about what will happen if I die. The villagers… those poor, poor villagers! What would become of them? No. There's a cave up ahead, and if I hide in there, I might be safe… for now. Ever since I got here I've been on the run, not stopping to eat or sleep. Okay… I'm inside the cave now. It sure is dark in here. It'll never find me! But I notice something out of the corner of my eye and suddenly feel a sharp pain in my back. I turn myself around. There's something in the shadows. I can't tell what it is, but it is definitely shooting at me. I feel it again and try to run. But it looks like I didn't outrun the creature after all. It was blocking the exit, and started to advance towards me. It grew larger, and larger, then suddenly there was an explosion. In the flash, just before I die, I see a horrible green monster, huge and ugly, looking angrier than I could possibly imagine. It's horrifying mouth opens and speaks three words, the last words I will ever hear, barely audible, while an awful grin spread out among its jet-black teeth. Three words that mark my fate forever, even after death:

                                                   "Welcome to Minecraft."

Friday, September 27, 2013

You Are God

This blog is for the men out there.
Particularly, the Christian men, and specifically, the Christian men who someone calls Dad.

You are God. your childrens' eyes.

Track me on this.

1) Man was created in the image of God.
2) God is the father of mankind.
3) Men are fathers.
4) Children learn what a father is from watching their own.
5) Children learn what God is from watching you, their Dad.

Get it?

What was your Dad like? Did you always know you were loved? Was he cranky a lot or generally fun to be around? Did he bring peace to the home or uncertainty? Was he patient with you, even if it was the third time you spilled your milk or forgot to hang your coat up or didn't brush your teeth? Was he gentle and kind or prone to angry outbursts? Did he hug you or let you sit on his lap while you watched tv? Was he reliable? Could you count on him to do what he said he was going to do? Did he always have your back?

Now, how do you view God? Is He a cold and distant disciplinarian or a merciful loving father?  See what I mean?

What sort of God do you want your children to know? Are you making your kids proud to call you father? And proud of their faith, in turn?

Watch yourselves, Dads, for know matter how many times you drag your kids to church and listen to them sing "Jesus Loves Me," in their eyes, the man on the cross isn't God.

You are.
 Is God living in you?

Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV)

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

I'm Not Dead Yet

This post was actually written in June of 2013.

After almost 12 years of being a SAHM, Bubblez went and got herself a job. It was pretty cool, actually. One day a couple of months ago, I thought to myself, "hey lady, you need a job." I told all of the significant people in my life that I planned to get a job. I put my feelers out and started networking, and boom, Bubbz is back in the work force and LOVING it. Seriously, it's the most fun job I've ever had; cooking at a country club.

I'm sure I shocked the hell out of Sheldon, as normally, I have poor follow through on decisions like this. Also, and maybe I did so well with it because, I didn't consult him first. I didn't bring it up casually and roll it around the way I typically have with things. I just made the decision, announced the decision, and then did it. It's not been easy for him, and I understand that, but I need this job like I need air, so discussion and compromise are out.  

When I'm not working, I'm trying to keep up with all the stuff I used to have all day to do at home. I suck at that, but I am improving. I honestly just can't seem to get my head into it. In fact, I can't seem to get my head into anything consistent or good, lately, that isn't my job. I'm restless these days. Sitting at home makes me crazy, and I spend a lot of time doing just enough to make sure no one will need anything while I'm gone, because even when I'm not working, I'm gone a lot.

I've got a plague in my soul. Before we moved to Indiana, Shel and I were having a lot of issues. Moving seemed like a fresh start. There was a lot of hope for a positive future. I sort of resigned myself to never being blissfully happy, to aim for contentment in knowing that I was providing for others needs and doing my wife/mother/daughter/friend job to the best of my ability.

Apparently, I don't have it in my blood to be content with shit like that. I'm an emotional person, a Pisces for Pete's sake, if you put any stock in that sort of thing, and I need to FEEL things. I did really well for about a year and half until boredom and malaise set in. Well, anyway, I'm on a new path and we'll see where it takes me.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

From Under A Heavy Rock

What do you write about when you feel like everything in your head needs to be kept a secret from someone? It's not even all from the same someone. There are different somebodies for all of the different somethings which are on my mind. I feel like I'm hiding under a heavy rock, afraid of everyone. I haven't been writing, lately, or seeing my closer friends, or spending any time with my parents or other people who ask questions and have opinions. Instead, I've been elusive and secretive, and quite honestly, just plain scared.

It's not right. It's not healthy. Most of all, it's not me, so, I'm trying to get back to good. I'm peaking out from under that rock, and looking people in the eye. I am going to be brave, World. It's a slow, quietish sort of bravery, but bravery, none the less. I'm going to admit that I have problems. I'm going to admit that I make decisions others don't agree with. I'm going to accept disapproval. I am going to hold my chin up.

Several months ago, I made the big decision to get back into the work force after 12 years of life as a stay at home, homeschooling, mom. It was time. The kids are getting older, and where I know they need my presence as much as ever, I found they were needing a lot less physical interaction and hands on care. I do worry about the impact my decision to be away from the house an extra 30+ hours a week will have on my darling crotch-fruit, but to be completely flat out honest, I was desperate enough to feel like my own person again to take a chance on the possibility that they might turn in to a band of roving delinquents without my being on a constant and diligent watch. I am choosing to rely on God and 12+ years of bonding to pull us through. Besides, they were starting to form impressions about gender roles that go against my independent, feminist-leaning bent. Women can juggle careers and fix cars (which I've been doing a lot of lately given my new commute) just fine, and men can help with homework, serve dinner, and bathe little bodies just fine, too. Daddy needed to step up to home plate, and Mommy needed some time in the field. Boom.

This is the excuse I've been using for why I don't write. It occurred to me, recently, that occasionally I have access to both a computer and "free" time while I'm on the clock, so that excuse got chucked out ye old window, and now I have to be honest.

I couldn't write because one of the only things that has been working its way around inside my brain, lately, is the fact that my marriage of 17 years, ummm... failed.

If, you had asked Sheldon, he'd have said that it has not failed but is in the process of failing by the force of my own hand. It actually failed ages ago, and in retrospect, was doomed from the start, but we both kept hanging on to a hope and a prayer for years and more years while we found that the only way to maintain a sense of peace and a relative degree of contentment was to work out a good business relationship and toss any strong desires for romance into one of those Rubbermade storage totes and stick it in the attic with all of the other stuff that seemed too good to throw away but we really didn't have any use for, and much like the elasticky outgrown toddler pants stacked into the tote next to it, eventually, the romance became unsalvageable and developed kind of a funky smell.

After years of trying to purchase my happiness in the form of fancy shoes and other items I barely even took out of the box; after talking to my doctor about my ongoing depression and trying a medicine cabinet full of different pills; after moving back to my home town, reconnecting with friends and family, buying a new house in the country, and lots of partying; one day I looked at my marriage relationship and decided it was time to face reality. I didn't need "stuff". I wasn't clinically depressed. Friends and parties weren't filling the hole. My marriage was dead and the decay was doing me in. I opted to do the one thing that I was terrified of doing, to willingly and deliberately rip the safety net out from under my children in an effort to save myself from, what? Emptiness, I guess. It sounds so petty, but emptiness is a very deep and dark thing. 

Is this how I want things to be? Hell, no. But, is it the way things are? Yes. Reality? Check.

Shel and I sat the kids down and talked to them the other night. We explained to them that he loves them very much, that our ability to live in unison together has nothing to do with any of them, that he still intends to see them regularly and be involved, but he is moving out. When they asked if we were getting a divorce, we said that we weren't sure. I know the real answer is, yes. Eventually, we will all be in a place where we are ready to deal with that, but a family can only handle so much at one time, and this is plenty for now.

It's plenty for them, anyway. In the shadow of my rock, there are many monsters threatening to raise their ugly heads. I know that in time, each of them will need to be faced and fought with. Bravery doesn't mean never being afraid. It means being afraid and doing it, anyway.

To be continued...

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Holes, Souls, Friends, and Destiny

There is, in each of us, a God shaped hole. This is what my church teaches. As we walk through life, we all carry an emptiness in our souls. It's a longing to feel whole and complete, and people will have this longing until they "ask Jesus into their hearts and become filled by the Holy Spirit." I do not disagree with this teaching, but, as a "believer" I find myself asking God why, regardless of my faith, I often feel empty and incomplete. What else is missing? Why do I not feel whole? There remains a yearning within me.

Being born into this world seems a lot like being picked up by some unknown person and deposited on an island somewhere, being told that I have a purpose for being here and handed a book on the island's history, agricultural practices, and customs of the inhabitants, and then being left for an undetermined amount of time without ever being told what it is that I'm supposed to accomplish. I know that I was selected specifically to be here, but haven't got the foggiest clue as to why.

I'm pretty sure a lot us of feel that way, Christian or not. Some of us find contentment in our chosen professions and some in marriage and family, which is a profession. Shall I be a butcher, a baker, a candlestick maker?  Shall I unearth great treasures like Indiana Jones or be more like Captain Jack Sparrow, wandering aimlessly and seeking refuge in a cache of rum or the single bullet that will end that ongoing yearning for something more and the feeling of despair that accompanies the belief that there might not really be a purpose for being here at all. Maybe it's like living in The Truman Show, and we are nothing more than entertainment for an unknown audience.

No. I believe with everything I have that I am destined for greatness of some kind, maybe not globally great, but on some level, great. But what? Will I ever know? How will I find it?

As I meander my way through life searching for my own destiny and looking for signs that I am, not only on the right path, but going in the right direction along that path, occasionally, blessedly, God rewards me with a bit of encouragement and a sense of "yes".

I recently traveled to Chicagoland to attend a book signing event where my very good friend, Nicole Knepper was promoting her new book: Moms Who Drink And Swear: True Tales of Loving My Kids While Losing My Mind. Followers of Nicole and her Facebook group, Moms Who Drink And Swear, traveled far and wide to be a part of this event.

I had two goals in mind as I made my way toward Chicago. One was to support a woman who I have grown to love very much. The other was to take some time to just check myself out, a little vacation from reality. Life's been a struggle for me, lately. That feeling of yearning has been raging and causing a pounding ache in my soul. I needed to get away. I needed the fresh perspective that stepping back can sometimes give. I did not expect the thing that actually happened, but ironically, it is exactly the thing Nicole describes in the first chapter of her book.

Every person I knew who had also made this trip, was someone who I had met initially on Facebook and eventually in person. There were still plenty of people I hadn't met who only "knew" me via the wide web. I was amazed and thrilled by the people who said excited, "you're Bubblez?!?" as they looked me in the face for the first time. OK, maybe it was only two or three people, but I felt like a celebrity. I felt special and important. It felt good. It felt "yes."

As the hours passed, I found myself in situations where I could talk to just a few people at a time, and man, did I talk. My story started pouring out of me like a waterfall. Everything that I had been going through in my personal life and my deepest, most intimate thoughts spewed out of me to patient, listening ears, and rather than escaping reality, my reality was affirmed. These women smiled and nodded and validated me. They said, in essence, "yes, this is really your life and not your imagination, and yes, you are so much more than where you are and what you're going through."


See, maybe we do have a God shaped hole, but we also have empty spaces where friends belong. As we plod through our lives, it is imperative that we collect up these people who affirm us and support us. I sincerely believe that none of us can be anything that we were truly meant to be unless we fill ourselves up with these important people. We need them like we need food. These are the people who help you find yourself. They guide you and nourish you and make sure you are on the right path. Without them, you will never find your destiny. 

Many relationships are a struggle. They seem to hold you back or tear you down rather than help you to move forward and upward. It's easy to get stuck, to even give up on yourself. The contrast between a relationship like that and the kind that nourish and make a soul grow is mind boggling. As people, I think one of our favorite phrases is, "they're good for each other." It's amazing what a person can do when you find someone who's good for you. So, I want to thank each of my "good for me" friends, both old and new, from the bottom of my heart. Thank you, friends, for helping me be who I am meant to be, and for helping me to find my purpose in this life.

"Everything that don't make sense about me, makes sense when I'm with you." -Hunter Hayes

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Yeah, I Do Be Trippin'

I've been weird my entire life. I know because lots of people have told me. When I asked them why they thought that I was weird, they could only try to reassure me that it was "in a good way": not really helpful, always confusing.

A few years ago, I learned that I have Adult ADD. Ah, now that explains some things. My brain doesn't work like everyone else's. Newsflash! I think differently. I haven't quite worked out all of the subtle nuances yet, but I've had enough people either make inaccurate assumptions about what I was thinking (I swear I'm almost never thinking what you believe me to be)or just look at me strangely when I took a topic in a direction they'd have never thought to go, to know that I do indeed, think differently.

People often struggle with the idea of an AD(H)D diagnosis because doctors haven't quite figured out where the trip wire is located inside the brain, so some folks assume there isn't one, but there is. You can trust me on this. We hear a lot about the people who don't want to accept this disorder as being real in children. It's not a lot better for adults. I told someone once that I had ADD, and she said, "don't all moms?"

Dear over worked mothers, you do not have ADD just because you spaced that Johny had a doctor's appointment this afternoon. ADD and ADHD (one is hyper but none of the tired and forgetful people ever try to claim the H) are so much richer and deeper and intense than mere forgetfulness or having trouble balancing too many obligations. It is a mental disorder, and I use the term disorder only because I'm certain that some of the little circuits and connectors inside the brain are literally out of order. Otherwise, I'd think of some other term to use that didn't sound so much like a major disability, because personally, I kinda like it. Most ADD people do once they get counselling or medication to help them manage.

I'm gonna give a shout out to my OCD and bi-polar peeps, right quick, because they are here beside me, riding in my boat. We are the butcher, baker, and candlestick maker of mental disorders. It's a very sanitary boat that happens to be lost. It alternates between being scary fun and just plain scary, and everybody wants to claim that a seat belongs to them. There are pirates and ninjas in our boat, too. I'm letting them come aboard because they belong with us in the common mind's fantasy land where action, adventure, excitement, and viable excuses replace the reality of fear, pain, addiction, and sometimes death.

Basically what I'm trying to say is, if you don't really have a mental disorder, please shut the hell up. You're making life harder for those of us who do by essentially negating the existence of what can potentially be a serious mental malfunction. M'kay? Thanks.

And yeah, it's not all bad, having AD(H)D. It does come with it's share of problems (a lot of us have trouble holding onto relationships and jobs), but there are some great perks, too. Most of us are wildly creative, and I for one, don't really mind being crazy if it means that I can blow your mind with mine.

I've learned a great deal about both the bad and the good since I got my diagnosis, yet, I still spend an awful lot of time trying to figure out why I do some of the unusual things I do. There are things about my character that can't be explained with AD(H)D. These "things" had bothered me for a long time. Then, yesterday, I had a revelation.

I was an undiagnosed special needs child.

It never  occurred  to me before and I don't really like the sound of it, but there's no way around that reality. I wonder how many other special needs people don't know they're short bus special. I bet a lot of us are looking around at the outside world thinking you guys are the ones who are messed up. *cough cough*

Anyway, I haven't had a lot of time to think it through, but I do know one thing. When a person spends the majority of their life being misunderstood; being told that they never do anything right, are unreliable, weird (even in a good way), or are told any other number of negative things that frustrated individuals might say when the child/person they are dealing with doesn't make any sense to them, well, a lifetime of that is gonna mess a body up. So, there ya go.

For those of you who know me personally, please be patient while I figure this crap out and decide what, if anything, I want to do about it. In the meantime, I will continue to amuse you with my charm and wit, like always. Besides, being patient with me isn't really something that's new to you, anyway, so it shouldn't be a problem. In fact, I bet you won't even notice. Hmm. Nevermind, then. Carry on.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Leaning Green And Still Pimpin'

I have had the hardest time pinning down a blog "theme" and figuring out my niche in the writing world. Like everything else that is a part of me, writing is something I am skilled at but it still manages to lack the kind of oomph that makes it something special. I was an art major in college. That went absolutely nowhere. After I grew up a little bit, I realized that I was afraid to be an artist, and that is why I failed. Skills, yes. Oomph, no. I'm not afraid to be a writer. With writing, I have a different problem. Subject matter. Theme. Consistency.

I am like many personalities in one person, except not in a clinically disconcerting way because my personalities all know each other and get along, although sometimes "church" personality does like to guilt trip "boozer" personality and they argue about whether or not Jesus minded that I... wait, what did I do last night?

The point is, I am a person of many varying interests, and how do you sum that up in one interesting little tagline? And are any of those interests very interesting, anyway? Sure, anything can be, I guess, but if your readers come to you looking for advice on how to prevent end rot on their tomatoes (add calcium to the soil in the form of crushed Tums), and what you give them is, oh... that's what I did last night... no wonder Church was mad, those readers are going to leave and possibly never come back.

So, I feel like I need to focus in on some kind of catagory, ya dig? I homeschool. I love educating, and I'm good at it, but I don't really want to write about it all the time. (Grammatically, it is incorrect to write "homeschool" as one word, by the way. I do it, anyway, because I'm a rebel, not because I'm dumb. Back off, ok.) I cook. I parent. I craft. I garden. I do none of this consistently and obsessively enough to make a blog out of it. No, not even parenting. *hangs head*

So, I made a decision. Like the majority of other no-name bloggers out there, I will simply write about life. If Jerry Seinfeld can make a show about nothing, I can do the same with a blog, right? Of course, that would require making up a bunch of stuff that isn't really true and seriously, like I've got the energy (booze) for that. Did I just negate myself? I think I did.

Whatever. All of this babbling is just my way of announcing,  unnecessarily, that I reserve the right to change my tagline regularly and without warning, as it suits me, with little or no regard to you. So, stick that in your juice box and suck it.

Today's new tagline is: Leaning Green And Still Pimpin' because that pretty much sums up what's been going on in my life as of late. I dyed my hair and started wearing warpaint when I leave the house, and, most of my thoughts seem to be consumed by the idea of becoming environmentally self sufficient. They only seem unrelated. Ok, they are.

Not bad, eh? Except for the bit of liner that looks like an eye-booger.

I've been thinking a lot about gardening and farming and how to avoid going to the grocery store because I hate taking the time to do it and because the grocer takes all of my money leaving me with nothing to spend at the bar.. erm, put in the offering plate. I've also been really focussed on eliminating our garbage bill by digging my own landfill in the back yard. No, that's not true. We recycle so much that we only crank out about two 13 gallon garbage bags a week. I'm thinking we need to get on the burning and composting thing, and then we'll be golden.

I guess that's all I've got for today. I'm keeping the line for a while although my next blog might be a tutorial on how to sew a bathrobe.

In the words of Red Green, "Keep your stick on the ice." It should be cold enough.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Late Winter To-Do: The Birthday Party

There really aren't very many activities on the late winter to-do list. I'm planning to tap maple trees this spring, so I've been acquiring supplies for that, now. Otherwise, January has been spent preparing for Moo's birthday. Not one of my favorite things. I've never been much of a birthday person, and I'm especially not fond of supplying entertainment for a bunch of snot nosed kids. But, I'm doing it because I want to make the boy happy.

The theme is "fire" because "fire's cool." Thank you. It's going to be held on a Saturday evening over the dinner hour and just past dusk so that we can have fireworks. Yes. As a matter of fact, I do rock. We'll also have a bonfire in the back yard for roasting hot dogs and s'mores if the kids don't mind doing it in the cold temperature. I figure, I can always light the grill if needed. And for dessert (with 2 esses because you always want more), flaming Baked Alaska! Boom!

Here's where things get tricky. $$$

I really want to have a pinata. I'll make one that looks like a fireball out of a balloon, paper mache, and tissue, but what of the fillers? Moo will be 10 so junkie plastic rings and the like are out. I have a nice list of ideas, but the stuff really adds up quickly, so I'll have to handle that prudently. I also wanted to have a scavenger hunt, but for real, I don't know that I can afford both.

Whose stupid idea was it that birthday guests get presents, anyway?

Otherwise, I'm planning some kind of Pin-The-Tail On The Donkey game. Not sure how to make that fire related without freaking out the kiddos. Same goes for Musical Chairs... well, I guess fire related music, huh? Oh snap! We should play Hot Potato.

Ok, well, I'll let you know how it goes... maybe. Hopefully, I'll remember to take pictures.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

I'm Sorry About The Barrel Up Your Ass

I've been really quiet, lately. I don't know why. I just haven't had anything to say. There was a point in time when I always had something to say, but it seems that over the past couple of years, I've been slowly becoming quieter.

I was all stressed out after the kids had a vacation day from school on Monday, so I decided I'd go visit one of my friends to do some clucking. Our conversation went something like this:
Me: The kids have been driving me crazy. Boots was up my ass all damned day. "Mom, Mom, Mommy, Mom, hey Mom"
Her: Yeah, I get that. Mine used to be the same way.
I bet that soon, I won't speak at all.

So, we watched the last part of Hangover II since it was already playing, and then I said goodbye and came home. On the way out, her fella reminded me to take some cats home.

I'm starting to develop this routine. Sheldon comes home just in time for supper or a little after. We deal with the table chaos. Whoever said that families who eat together have better relationships because of it, made a mistake. After reminding the kids a gazillion times to sit in their chairs and not talk with their mouths full, to not interrupt or talk over each other, to keep their hands to themselves, not sing, whistle, or scream, to clear their dishes and put them in the dishwasher, and reminding Teenie that she is not yet an adult and therefore does not require our consultation on decision making and furthermore, has no authority to correct or discipline her siblings.... where was I? Oh, yeah. Once, the chaos of dinner and bedtime are over, I usually spend roughly half an hour brain dumping on Sheldon and then I go sit by myself somewhere until I'm ready for bed.

Tonight's brain dump will probably include my idea to build a sauna back by the river and heat it with a barrel stove. I will tell him about the website I came across which has great directions on how to do that, and how we could even incorporate the sauna into another building, barn, or workshop that would use the same heat source if we left the sauna door open which would make it like getting a twofer. I will also tell him about how I want to build a barrel stove outside with a cooktop and a smoker so that I can use it to boil down maple sap and smoke meats. How freaking awesome would that be? I've got the plans all worked out. Of course we're going to need more barrels, but I checked Ebay and Craigslist, and there is a lady in the next state over who has several for sale, so if he wants to, we could make a day of it and go get some.

Shel will express his concerns with my plans and then say something about how it would be fun to drive out of state for a day and then make all of these cool things. At this point, I will realize that it's never going to happen, because nothing like this ever does, and will wander off to finish chores and then go run a hot bath or curl up in the recliner with my Twitter account.

That recliner, by the way, is in the former "armpit" of the house which now, having been painted and decorated to be sort of masculine and den-like for Shel, is one of our most attractive rooms. I will sit there, and Shel will go back to his Kindle in the front living room, where I left him. I'm going to paint that room pink. Then maybe we'll trade. I don't know.

Two recliners and a TV (far right). Perfect guy space. 
The only other thing that I've given much though to so far today, are apologies, and I'm not going to bring this up to Sheldon because he might think it's a dig, and I don't wanna start that. But, here's the deal. I read this today. To give you the gist, one blogger posted something that some people found offensive and then he decided to apologize. His friend, another blogger, responded to the apology letter and commended her friend for being big enough to respect the feelings of his readers and offer the apology.

So, here's what gets me. Why is it such a big deal to offer an apology? I mean, why do people find it so hard? I'm one of the cockiest, most conceited bastards alive, and I can admit when I'm wrong and easily apologize, so why do other people have such a hard time? It truly floors me. I don't have a single theory as to why this is. All I do know, is that I did learn how to do it (from imitating my Dad, who hated having us girls mad at him), but I really think that's only half the problem because most people I encounter aren't even willing to admit that an apology might be necessary. So, any insight you have on this, I'd love to hear. Help a sista out.

There. Two weeks since my last blog, and that's all I've got. 

'Til next time, peace out.

(There is an error in this post. I saw it on my phone, and now I can't find it. I accidentally typed the wrong word, somewhere. If you notice, please point it out to me. Thank you.)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

On Desire And Getting Blown

Sometimes being a mom really blows. I'm not talking about sleep deprivation or being run ragged or any other mom stereotype you can think of. I'm talking about the total loss of sex appeal. After spending a day working her tail off with no appreciation whatsoever, the last thing a lady feels is sexy. You have no idea how much I crave feeling sexy.

It's dangerous, this desire to be desirable. We waste time on Facebook or buried inside romance novels, our heads swimming in oceans of make believe lustiness. I wouldn't say that most moms are really out looking for trouble, although I'm pretty sure a lot of them would say avoiding it is a delicate dance.

See, we don't want to rock the boat too hard. We want to feel appreciated and we want to feel beautiful. Our confidence is wrapped up in these things. They are integral to a woman's psyche. She works harder, functions better, has more drive, more energy, more verve if she feels sexy, but, obviously, anyway I hope it's obvious, we love our families and the warm and comfortable life fabric we've woven around it. We don't want to mess it up. So, most of us spend time daydreaming and toying with a real but distant romantic fantasy land. 

It's agonizing, not being recognized as a woman. And by woman, I mean WOMAN, like with curves and stuff. It can make the best of us frumpy and bitter.

Oh I hear you over there blah blah blahing about how it's her husband's job to blah blah yawn. Look here, Mr. or Ms. Delusional, you're not going to tell me I'm wrong about these women, are you? How many copies did that damned 50 Shades book sell, anyway? Why? Because Mr. Husband is either busy with his own thing, has run out of ideas for keeping his missus interested, is bored with her, or has become boring to her simply by being old news. So, whatever it is, you're blabbering on about, just stop. I'm not interested in how things are supposed to be. I'm interested, at the moment, in how they are

I took an opportunity on New Year's Eve to get all dolled up and go out to hit the scene. I looked hot. I'd been secretly planning it for weeks. It would be a great exodus away from Momdom and into the world of womanhood. I wore sequins and glitter. I looked amazing. I felt amazing. I smelled, amazing.

Sheldon came along with me, but once I was about 3 drinks in, I ditched him in pursuit of more amusing company.  Social butterfly that I am, he's pretty used to that. I saw a couple of girlfriends, but they weren't winning my attention, either. I was on a conquest. I was searching for something in the eyes and smiles of drunken men. Recognition. Spark. Sexiness. I needed to find my sex appeal. I needed to feel alluring.

Shel frowned at the men who laughed at my witty charm and left shots in front of my bar stool, but I didn't care. I wasn't hurting anything by being sexy. In fact, it was grand. It was healthy. It was so good for me to be fluttering about outside of my miserable mom cocoon. Those feelings carried me all the way through New Year's Day and into the coming year. It propelled me into a re-dedication to health and beauty. I evaluated my dietary habits and thought of ways to firm up my buns before summer comes.

It was a great start to a new year, exactly what the doctor ordered.. until about 4:30pm on January 2nd, when the momness started to kick in, again. I am so sick of being over-looked. I do not want to get pulled back under the laundry pile for my fire to be snuffed out. I want to keep that feeling of being sexy and alive, a vibrant, shining flame of a woman.

What to do? What to do? Yep, being a mom really blows, sometimes.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Ground Control To Major Mom

I recently redecorated the "armpit" of our house to be a nice, presentable, and useful room. Among other things, it now contains the family command center. I love saying that we have a command center. It sounds like we're living in an episode of Star Trek or something. Or maybe it's just somehow related to my need for power and the quest for world domination. Not sure.

Anyway, I took pics. =D


This is inside the back door, which gets used the most. Matching and tidy make me happy. Between the four kids, these coat hooks are usually full. I forgot to get a picture, but there are shoe trays on the floor under the coats.

I spray painted a couple of tin soup cans and attached them to the wall with 3M Strips to hold pens and pencils since we never seem to be able to find any when we need them.

I bought this groovy calendar at Target. You fill it in yourself. There are enough spaces on the side for 5 people plus a spot to write down what you'll be having for dinner that day, if you're like, super super organized. This is the page for next month, so it's a little empty still. I also bought a black poster frame, removed the plexiglass, painted the cardboard backing black, and mounted the calendar onto the cardboard to make the whole thing pretty.

This is a bulletin board which I also painted black, complete with

chore chart! Another Target find, this chore chart comes with a dry erase marker and has stick'em on the back so you can hang it anywhere. I decided to just pin it up for now. There's enough room to list chores for 4 people, every day of the week. I divide my house into sections, tackle a different section every day, and have each kid take a chore or two for each of those sections. They can usually finish their chores in under 20 minutes. Some other time, I'll tell you how I actually get the kids to do them.  The first column of the chart is for chores which need to be accomplished daily. We're a forgetful bunch, so I write in even the simple stuff like remembering to eat breakfast.

Last, we've got this nifty baby. It's just a paper folder turned sideways with hinges made from duct tape. I painted the outside to spruce it up and hung it on the wall with 3M Strips. This is where I keep school calendars and other important papers that I know I'll be referring to periodically for information. I used paper clips to attach Boot's lunch menu to the front so we can see at a glance whether to buy or pack from home each day.

So, there you have it. My very own command center. Now, get to work!