Sunday, February 27, 2011

Cooking, laundry and other Sisyphus chores

I love to cook. Really, really love it. I love to figure out what sounds wonderful and then create something grand and delicious out of a lot of little things. I love the security of knowing that what we are eating is healthy and mostly organic.I love that my kids will someday remember that I made dinner and that we ate together almost every single night. What I don't love is the monotony of creating meals. EVERY.SINGLE. DAY.

How in the world do you keep it exciting? I try to mix it up and have things that I would want to eat in a restaurant. But really, the best thing about restaurants is instant gratification. Showing up and deciding what you want to eat and twenty minutes later...eating it. And having someone refresh your drink.

My life is not like that at all. And mostly, I am grateful. I decide Sunday what we are eating for dinner the rest of the week. Then I make a menu and a grocery list. I also ask my youngest what she wants to take for lunch. Her answer is ALWAYS the same. "Mac and cheese, ham sandwich, ham and butter crackers, cheese sticks and crackers, and..." She eats like a champ for lunch so her lunch consists of one of the above AND all of the following; an apple, mandarin oranges/applesauce, a granola bar, some cookies and pretzels. She eats almost all of it every day.

So, Sunday I shop. And the rest of the week, I cook. Awesome. Healthy. Gratifying. And never ending.

My other never ending chore is laundry. Any mother with more than one kid will tell you it is never, freaking ending! We always have laundry and it is never done. Right now, I have four loads waiting, one washing and one drying. One sitting folded waiting to be put away. And our laundry hampers are full and waiting to be emptied.  My husband and I work out most days, and so that equals at least two changes per day per person. And I know half the clothes that I fold for my kids will end up in the laundry unworn. We stopped using paper towels (too wasteful) and so I wash towels every day.  Endless!

My oldest does her own laundry and my youngest will start when she turns 10 next month. So, there is some relief in sight. But the towels alone might do me in. I guess I should be happy I have a washer and dryer. I should be grateful  that we have clothing, sheets and towels. That I can plan delicious dinners with fancy ingredients and actually cook and eat them.  I am truly grateful. I really, really am.

Every. Single. Day.

Sisyphus was forever pushing that boulder. Wonder if he'd change places with me?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Whatever: our other soul mates

My good friend lost her 14 year old lab yesterday. After a fall, she had the choice of putting her down or risking losing her in surgery. Tough one.

Another sweet friend lost her golden retriever last year who was older than her almost teenage child. She was her first "baby".

I had to put my 12 year old Sadie-pup down two years ago and it was indeed, the worst day of my life. We had put my husband's college dog, a Brazilian mastiff down 8 years earlier and THAT was the worst day of my life up until I had to make the decision to end my dog's life.

Dogs are the best of us. They love us no matter what we look like, no matter what we say to them, and often, no matter what we do to them. Sadie was my "single girl" dog and with her I buried my years before marriage. Before kids. Before what will define me for the rest of my life as who I am. She knew me "before".  For people who don't love dogs, it is hard to understand the attachment that those of us who do have for them. They are our companions, but we also the truly want to be the  person that is reflected back at us in the eyes of our dogs.

I cried every day for about two months. Then I cried only when I thought of her, which was every other day. Now I only cry once in a blue moon. My daughter has an 8 month old schnauzer who we all love. She has made my heart ache a little less for my Sadie. But I know, down the road, my daughter will cry when she has to bury her little dog.

We buried Sadie under the oak tree in our front yard that she stared at for 8 hours a day because she happened to catch and kill a squirrel there. For thirteen months, she stared at that tree. That is some serious dedication.
That my friend, is a dog.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Food of my body...the menu

I am working all week and have a 30 minute commute. I realize that loads of people have this and I am not special in any way. However,  I have a 30 minute commute about 4 times a year and it throws me off schedule. So...dinner this week will be easy peasy! And since I am working two evenings, easy for the husband to throw together with little complaint from the peanut gallery. I also got my ethnic fix!

Dinner at Casa Swann 
Sunday: homemade pizza (it was delicious!)
Monday: Salmon with mojo sauce and crispy zucchini and squash
Tuesday: Baked Chicken with rice and peas (working! I HATE  peas. And chicken.)
Wednesday: Salmon cakes with mexican roasted sweet potatoes
Thursday:Greek Salad with grilled chicken for the carnivores
Friday: Hot and Sour Shrimp Soup and Veggie Fried Rice
Saturday: we are going out!

We have started the envelope system for groceries and I have set my budget at $250 for the week. This includes food and "supplies". So far I have kept it within about $5. I am super psyched that we eat so well for so little.

Eating at home has been really good for us. We are all healthy, skinny and we eat much cooler food than we would going out all the time. Plus the leftovers don't dry out in those Styrofoam boxes!

Happy Week to all of you!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Weekend of the Insane

 This one is for Jana.

My sweet step-grandmother passed away recently and her funeral was this weekend. My parents made arrangements for my sisters and I to come to the end of the earth Del Rio for the funeral. You all know she was fabulous and her funeral was a reflection of her dedication to God and service to others. She was a bright, sharp lady who led a long and fabulous life. We were very fortunate to be able to see loads of our family members including my two favorite uncles and their sweet wives.

I also got to travel with my two sisters. We all become cackling hens when we get together and nothing is safe. We laugh, we argue, we try to act like the normal productive women we all pretend to be every day . We fail miserably and  instead act like the nut job teenagers we actually are. We were joined by our  brother and sister-in-law both whom  we are getting to know as adults and for the most part have found them to be quite to our liking.

 I should have known it was going to be a doozy of a weekend. The signs were there from the get go. My sister who lives in the frozen tundra  and I both had to get up at the  ungodly time of "before 6 am" in order to catch our flights. I rode the shuttle from to the BNA with a "feller" who had not been on a plane in 25 years...since he was 6 years old. He grilled me repeatedly about going through "customs" to fly to San Antonio.  I finally figured out he meant security and counseled him on the finer points of taking your shoes off and running as fast as he could through the metal detector. I mean really, don't ya watch TV?

I won't bore you with all the craziness that involves the three of us traveling together. Let's just say it involved a Mary Poppins purse full random things including the following: headache medicine, a nail file, lotion, a burrito and a "blanket" (it looked like a robe). Our brother calling us "Foul Mouth Gutter Snipe Hose Bags" and referring to the women he was called upon to drive around (wife, three sisters and tolerant cousin) his "harem". We also experienced random things like  "Preach " Martini's, fake Caesar salad, a visit to a winery, a "Museum" of Del Rio oddities (including the antique phone that got broken by someone in our party... and a human spine hanging on a coat rack) , TWO trips to the DQ, a Mariachi band and  a stop by the border patrol. Our weekend ended with us getting to the airport on Sunday and barely catching our flights.

That was a funeral, can you imagine what we are like
on vacation?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Whatever: Text Peeves

 I love texting. Seriously, it is awesome. You can ask one simple question without going through the whole rigmarole of  chitchat. You can make little snarky comments to your spouse about the other parents sitting and waiting for their kids to finish whatever annoying sport/rehearsal/class is the event du jour. You can drive your child batty with LOTS of random questions about where the dog is/where their sister is/did they brush their teeth/did they do their homework and other inane paybacks questions. You can keep a really good joke going for DAYS with your friends.

As someone over the age of 12, texting is not my main form of communication. I will call a person if I have more than a quick question. I will walk into the room where the person I need to converse with  is sitting. I do not need to keep in constant contact with ALL of my friends ALL of the time.   I have even...wait for it...left my phone off/in another room/ in the car for long periods of time. I can even sleep with my phone on a different level of my house!

I can appreciate the fact that I am a different generation than someone who is in their 20's. I actually embrace that a little because it means that am I done with the insanity of my 20's. Mine were fun, I loved them, I have the t-shirt. (Actually, I do... it has "What do you do when you see a bear in the woods...Play DEAD" ).

So, I find it really weird when people my age use TTYL, IMO, LMAO and other texting abbreviations. Maybe I missed that part of texting because I had a cheap flip phone and came to the game late? Maybe I am a snob ( Sis, don't go there!) and I enjoy  proper grammar?  But the abbreviations really annoys me.  Now don't get me wrong,  I will use the classic OMG, but that goes back to my wannabe valley girl days (man I am dating myself in this post...) and I am typically being ironic.

Am I the only one here that thinks this is a little like saying "Totally Tubular" or something is  "Bitchin" ? I regularly text my almost 21 year old nephew who is in college and one of the coolest and real people around. He taught me how to use punctuation in my texts when he was 15. NEVER do you see at LMAO in his texts. Neither from his younger brother.

I have a lot of pet peeves. I am annoyingly rigid and intolerant when it comes to most of them. I am trying to keep this from becoming one of my PPTDMTC.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Whatever: Ikea or the best store on earth

Yesterday, I convinced my family to go to the ATL to hit the Ikea and Trader Joe's. Now before you get started, the "nothing new" does not apply to my business and we needed a table to go with our other one we bought a few years ago at the Ikea. (Yes, I am from the south and we say "the" about everything. THE K-Mart, THE Wal-Mart, THE Bilo...)
I heart

Now, I know most of you live in cities with ports, so you have been to the Ikea. For those of you who have not...well... you are missing out!
  • First, it has a child care center. I am past that point in my life, but the idea of it is FABULOUS
  • Second, it has 50 cent hot dogs and dollar frozen yogurt. That is downstairs. Upstairs it has a full cafeteria. 
They serve lunch, People. Just like the K-Mart did when we were little kids and it was cool to eat there. I had crepes with vegetables yesterday at the Ikea. Yum-o! My family did not choose as well, and their food wasn't as fab. Too bad!

The Ikea also has just about everything you could ever want for your funky styled house. And it is fairly inexpensive and fairly fair quality.

Now, I forgot it was Saturday and so it was mega crowded and my husband was a trooper and only freaked out once. My kids love the Ikea  as much as I do (they picked it over the zoo once).So it was pretty painless. We looked at counter tops for the (hopefully) upcoming kitchen counter redo. We looked at bed frames for the oldest and rugs for the oldest and desks for the oldest...She recently moved into our guest room and it needs some love.

My sweet husband bought himself a chair for his office (again business purchase). I bought my table and we left. But not before I lusted after lamps, a cow skin rug, hooks that look like puppy dog tails,  a fabulous farmhouse sink and the model apartments. Seriously, I would like to live in just 300 square feet. I would love to clean just 300 square feet. But that would involve me living by myself.

After the Ikea, we hit the uber popular Trader Joe's. Seriously, it was the most popular place in town. All I wanted was canned clams, pears for my buddy, and WINE. I got clams, wine, cookies, peppers, seafood mix, Altoids, apples, taco shells, and a few other goodies. So cheap, no bad stuff and did I mention wine. 13 bottles of lovely wine for $91. Amazing! No pears for my buddy. Bummer because after she raved about them, and to quote my friend Toni, "I had my mouth all set for them!"

I heart

It was finally a sunny day. We listened to 80's new wave and our kids now know all the words to Wall of Voodoo's "Mexican Radio". We ate weird Swedish food and bonded with the checkout guy at TJ's over our pit bull.The baby got sick and so we came home without eating at El Taco, but all in was a very good day.

Friday, February 4, 2011


I interrupt this on going self focused diatribe of mine to comment on the loss of my step-grandmother, Gail.

"Grandmother" was just that,  not a "Grannie", "Nanna" or any other form of the word. She was "Grandmother". Formal and proper, I received lovely thank you notes for the cards and gifts I would occasionally remember to send her. She was not a fan of foul language and would call my sisters and me "Foul Mouth Gutter Snipes". Those of you who know me, know that I truly enjoy a salty word or two, and at 16...well, let's just say, I was honing my skills.

Always perfectly coiffed (gorgeous white hair) and dressed in coordinated outfits (even in later years, her cane matched her outfit) she was beautiful.  She was the original class act but had a wicked sense of humor.

She was the good luck charm at all our weddings and the gift she gave me as a souvenir of my wedding in Key West was the best gift we got. You have seen  those awesome mugs you put in the freezer with the gel in them. Grandmother gave us two RAINBOW mugs with Key West written on them. We had them for years! Every time I used them I thought of standing with her watching the parade of the drag queens in their vehicles for the bed races walking by us as we waited to be seated for breakfast. She didn't bat an eye. AWESOME.

Grandmother was inspiring for so many reasons, but my favorite story and the act that truly inspires me to make a difference is this. She was the Girl Scout leader for girls in her town of Del Rio, Texas. This was during the late 50's early 60's and the civil rights movement was in full swing. Granddaddy owned a car dealership and was active politically and they were both very well known. She had the first African American girl in her troop and they were going to the Girl Scout Round Up. The girls were super excited and I am sure, wild as little girls can be. They decided to stop and eat. Grandmother told them to wait in the car while she went in to make sure "they had room". Of course, she was threatening them that if they didn't allow ALL of her scouts to eat there, she would make sure her husband boycotted their restaurant. They had to sit in the back, but they all ate inside.

Later, it came out that they at first said " NO" and "She can eat in the kitchen with the cooks". Grandmother set the standard for doing what is right and did not back down until she got what she wanted. I found this out only a few years ago, but I will say, it makes me stand a little taller and remember that I too,  have a voice.

We will miss her terribly. She was the one who gave me hope that I would not remember the pain of giving birth to my first child. She gave me a "home maintenance"book when we bought our first house. She remembered my kids'  birthdays and Christmas, even though she had about a million great grand kids. My oldest still has a purse she crocheted for her when she was two and her "boot" is on my tree every year.

Some of us are lucky to be born into fabulous families and some of us are found by families. I have had the pleasure of having both happen to me. Grandmother was the best. She will be terribly missed.