18 years ago today, #2 plopped happily into our lives. Guided into this world by a Mennonite nurse and a midwife who told dirty jokes with each contraction, you squawked and screeched your way through our lives and I wouldn’t have missed it for anything.
When you were 8 months old, we took you to a doctor for your chronic fever and sore throat. He took a brief look at you, announced you were mentally retarded, and suggested we put you in a home, as we were uneducated hicks and obviously unable to care properly for such a child. I gave him a blank stare, left without paying, and found another doctor, who took a look at the dark circles under your eyes and said “allergies. Take out the carpet.” We did, and a few short days later, you woke up laughing, cheerful, and haven’t been sick since.
By the time you were 2, you had mastered the Socratic method, and could logic circles around me until I shouted “Shut up and go to bed because I said so!” Once, when you were 3, your father asked you “Are you not ready to go to bed?” in an attempt to fool you into it. You looked at him, blinked, and said “Yes, I am not.”
As a toddler, we had to be excruciatingly specific about what you could and could not do. “Do not climb the kitchen cabinets. Do not climb the bookshelves in the living room. Do not climb the bookshelves in your bedroom” etc. If I missed something, say, “Do not remove the screen and climb out the window” you would do just that, because I didn’t tell you not to. It was frustrating at the time, but that sort of logic and strong mindedness has come in handy as you’ve gotten older.
As a boy, pre-puberty, you cultivated and nourished your sense of logic and mental order. It was tough. Psychologists and doctors told us you were ADHD, teachers wore a tight smile when they learned you’d be in their class. The exception to that has been the male teachers. They *got* you, and nurtured your curiousity and talents. You developed a love for math, and the extention of that- multihedral origami. We have so many 20 sided stars and skeletal cubes, and I love every one of them. This from the baby who oozed from every oriface and cried all the time. This from the retarded baby who needed to be in a long-term care facility.
Your teenage years have been kind to us. We believe that each child comes into this world carrying X amount of trouble. It can be given to the parents all at once, as a young child, dribbled out slowly throughout his life, or in one nasty chunk as a teenager. I think your teen years are divine reciprocity for your infancy. You’ve done magnificantly in school, worked hard at your job and gotten high praises from both teachers and bosses. You have made us very, very proud.
time for mom to brag:
He’s taken the SAT once, and made a 1300 on the traditional part. “mentally deficient” little boy. Phphpht.
He’s working 3-4 nights a week and maintaining a 3.6 GPA.
He’s taking AP classes, and Auto Shop.
He’s friends with jocks, nerds, and gearheads.
He fixes other people’s computers, and gets paid for it.
And then, you go and do something that brings me back to Earth, reminds me that you are 18 and not 38. Just this morning, I get “Hey Mom, I’m 18 now. I told a guy if he’d lick the fiberglass blanket in Shop I’d buy him a can of dip.”
It’s a movie that causing a whole lot of hubbub and consternation, apparently amongst Christians *and* athiests. Read more here. See, the Christians say it’s anti-Christian, and tell us not to take our kids to see it. Um, excuse me, but as the PARENT of my children, isn’t that MY decision to make? What’s going to happen if I do? Demons will visit my house, corrupt our minds, and make us all reject our faith?
If a person’s faith is so tenuous that watching a fictional movie risks toppling them over into…whatever…well, that’s not much of a faith to begin with, is it.
The athiests say it’s not anti-God enough. And…um…apparently everyone’s opinions of this movie aren’t based in having seen it, because the loudest noisemakers haven’t seen it. The USA Today article says so.
The same hoo-ray accompanied the Harry Potter books and movies, all of which I’ve read and seen and gosh, I don’t feel the slightest urge to become a witch. Can’t say that my kids have either. Admittedly, they haven’t read the books, as they’re too long to keep their attention. I sensed no alteration in their spiritual status after seeing the movies, other than a once-uttered opinion that the ability to make a pigs tail grow out of someone’s behind would indeed be a useful skill. I concurred.
So, here’s my opinion on The Golden Compass, based on third hand accounts and previews seen on TV. It’s got good graphics, polar bears in armor, and the antagonist (Nicole Kidman, she does icy bitch so well) admits to having a daemon. Now, according to the website, everyone has a daemon- an animal counterpart who holds their human’s soul and is their constant companion through the course of their lives. If you’re uncomfortable with this, don’t go see it, but don’t you be telling me what not to see, because I’m just ornery enough to go out of spite. In my experience of nearly 20 years as a parent, I’d rather my kids see something like this than Sponge Bob. I have a feeling if Phillip Pullman (the author of the book that the movie is based on) had named these counterparts something other that ‘daemons’, people wouldn’t be in such a lather about it. He probably did it on purpose, just to upset folk and generate more publicity for his book and movie. It worked.
I woke up this morning, convinced it was Wednesday. In fact, I was so sure it was Wednesday that I made my grocery list and paid a few bills. Then, I started to realize mabye it wasn’t, that maybe it was some other day instead. I knew it wasn’t Tuesday, because I spent Tuesday doing Tuesday chores, and the current condition of the floors assures me that said chores were done. What did I do yesterday, on Wednesday, because I obviously didn’t do Wednesday chores? I ruined a huge batch of biscotti, that’s what I did. $10 worth of hazelnuts and $6 of dried cherries, all baked to oblivion in an oven with a scary thermostat.
I hate my oven. I hate it with the kind of passion that drags out Sweet Daddio’s .50cal black powder rifle and blows a hole in it, laughing maniacly the whole time. I hate it’s ‘Vintage’ Harvest Gold facade, and the way it’s deep instead of wide and yet, still refuses to hold my cast iron roasting pan on it’s flimsy racks. I hate the way, even when set 50 degrees lower than the recommended tempurature it burns the bottom and leaves the middle raw. I absolutely DESPISE how it, when doing something simple like roasting almonds, burns the ones around the edge of the pan and leaves the middle ones uncooked.
Rumor has it the last woman who lived in this house didn’t cook. I believe it. No half-baked (*haw*) household cook would tolerate such an oven. Oh yeah, it’s original to the house, built in 1967.
My last oven was a dream. It was a hybrid convection oven, and would toast biscotti and nuts and garlic bread to perfection. Sweet Daddio bought it for me in…um…1993? ’94? when he remodeled the kitchen in the first house we bought. I like it so much that when we moved a few years later, we went and bought a cheap stove to put in it’s place, and moved it with us. That wonderful Jenn-Aire range, gas cooktop and electric oven, was proof positive that you get what you pay for. It wasn’t cheap, but we justified it by doing all the remodeling work ourselves. And I miss it.
Now, due to the ridiculous layout of my current kitchen, any sort of oven type purchase would involve significant construction and remodeling. Partly because the current “Oven” type device is wall mounted, and I prefer a range. However, the location where a range would go will interfere with the dishwasher, due to my desire for a downdraft unit which precludes putting it where the current “Oven” type device is located. In order to put in the unit I want (the updated model of what I had, and happily the same price, not even counting inflation), we’d have to move the dishwasher to the other side of the sink, not impossible, but potentially involved, and reconstruct an entire bank of upper and lower cabinets. Why upper? you ask. Because currently the upper cabinet houses a Harvest Gold hood w/fan and light, and that must go, and taking out those cabinets alters the aesthetic of the adjacent cabinets blah blah de blah. Nothing is ever simple, is it. Then, taking out the wall mounted ovens (yes, two of them ,but only one “works”), means redoing the whole side of the kitchen…ergo, replacing an oven (oh, we checked, you can’t get an oven to fit where the old ovens are, not for less than $3000 anyway. I’m not going that road.) means remodeling the entire kitchen.
Oh Darn. I’d have to remodel the whole kitchen.
Hiring someone to do it is anathema to Sweet Daddio, He Who Once Owned A Cabinet Shop and Manufactured High-End Customs for the Housing Construction Industry. Oh no, that would be like….I don’t know…Norm Abrams hiring someone to do the crown molding in His Old House.
The issue at this point isn’t money, really, it’s more a matter of time. When one works 14 hour days/6 days a week, one wants one’s Sunday to watch football and drink beer. I sympathize.
I wonder if Leisle of the WindClangs’ oven works. She’s always borrowing tomatoes and beans and sugar from me. I wonder if she’s let be bake cookies in her oven. Hum. I bet she would. We could Klatch over organic herbal tea while they bake.
Filed under: Uncategorized
Cherry Hazelnut Biscotti- this recipe makes a zillion cookies, half it unless you work for a multinational corporation and want to give some to all the employees.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
3 cups sugar
1 cup softened butter (2 sticks)
4 teaspoons grated orange peel
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
6 cups flour
2-1/2 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts
1-1/2 cups dried cherries
1 bag Hershey’s Special Dark chocolate chips
Cream together the butter, sugar, and eggs.
Add the orange peel. baking soda and salt, blend well.
Add the flour 1 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition.
When you’ve added 3 cups of flour, add the nuts and cherries.
Add the remaining flour 1 cup at a time until well blended.
Flour a countertop or board generously. Give the ball of dough a brief roll in the flour, then divide into 4 equal portions. Shape each portions into a log approximately 9 inches long and 3 inches wide, and put them on a greased cookie sheet, leaving about 4 inches between each log.
Bake until turning golden, about 25 minutes. remove from the oven, turn the oven temp down to 325 degrees.
Allow the logs to cool 10 minutes, then slice on the diagonal 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick. Lay on a cookie sheet and bake again 20 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp.
Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler, and decorate the cookies with it. You can dip them, either one flat face of them, or an end, or you can use a fork to drizzle streaks across the tops or sides.
This is a good basic recipe, you could use almonds instead of hazelnuts, leave out the cherries (I can’t imagine why you’d want to, tho) or replace them with dried cranberries (particularly good with walnuts and the orange zest). You can leave out the orange zest and use vanilla or almond extract. You can leave out 1/2 cup of the flour, and add 1/2 cup of cocoa powder, throw in some chocolate chips, even.
or prep, maybe. I have a 10 lb bag of hazelnuts that requires cracking and toasting. There’s 5 lbs of assorted versions of chocolate that require melting and mixing with cream and liquors for truffle filling. There is a kitten who …never mind.
This morning, I was sitting here at the computer, bowl of oatmeal in front of me and BBC World News on the screen. Phleud (pronounced ‘floyd’) discovered the mouse cursor, and commenced to making this noise I’d only seen on YouTube. He’d pull back his lips and go (softly)’ekekekekekek’. So I started wiggling the cursor around and he’d bat at it ‘ekekekekekek’. I need to find some other kind of curser- sort of like a laser pointer. You know how cats are about those, and Phleud seems to be more catlike than any other cat we’ve had. Certainly more than the last Household Siamese.
An explanation. Phleud was the name we came up with because we started out calling him Floyd, then I thought. Oh, we need an alternative spelling. How about like Freud, only because he’s an Asian cat, it’s Fleud, seeing how we are a household of deeply and sincerely politically incorrect people. And Fleud is an obvious spelling, so lets make it Phleud. And that’s how he got his name. I realize to the naked eye it looks like ‘fluud’. I almost said ‘flood’ but that’s already a taken word, and a dumb name for a cat besides.
So, because it’s wednesday and there’s no great pressure to do much of anything specific, I shall crack nuts and watch some of the TV I don’t watch when people know I watching TV, stuff like E! and Bravo. Then, if the nutcracking goes well, I might just whip up a batch of hazelnut dried cherry biscotti, and dip them babies in dark chocolate. MmMMm.
Filed under: Uncategorized
I stepped outside for a few minutes about 6:15. The sky was just beginning to lighten in the east, and the waning moon was high and bright in the west. There was a brilliant star (planet? I don’t know these things) just under the moon, and another one in the southeast, over the Willow Pond near the by-pass.
I’d stepped out with the intention of bellowing at Rosie, as she was being yappy and I can’t stand a yappy dog. The moon caught my attention and I stood there in the cool air, listening.
My neighbor to the west has a small building in her backyard. It has a little front porch, and dangling from the eaves is a windchime she made of old enamel dishes, small bowls and plates, with a few spoons thrown in. It was clattering softly in the breeze. I thought “good for you, Leisle, for having the courage to make something the entire rest of the world thinks is silly, and for being proud enough of it to grace everyone else’s morning with it’s dulcet chimes.”
The dog barks some more. She hears something I don’t, I guess.
Then it’s the roar of a big diesel engine- the school bus- and the HISS of air brakes as it stops just up the street to pick up the 3 children #4 likes to play with, ages 6,7,8, and their mother only 25 but still finished nursing school and is doing a fine job with those kids. They make a lot of noise, those 3, but that’s ok because when kids make noise you know where they are and what they’re doing.
A brief roar again, and HISS of air brakes, as the bus stops to pick up #4. I think a quick prayer for his safety and that he’ll do his best at school today, then the brakes squawk and the bus roars to the next driveway.
And then it’s quiet. The dog quits barking because the bus is gone, the breeze dies down and Leisle’s windclang stops. The sky has lightened enough the birds are waking up. There’s a mockingbird on the golf course, and I think I’m hearing cardinals in the woods to the north. I step inside, because, in spite of a warm bathrobe, it’s getting chilly.
There’s the sound of Phleud (pronounced “floyd”) batting a jinglebell. The groan of a 16 yr old who really doesn’t want to get up yet, but must because he has his public to consider, and must be at school by 7 even though it doesn’t start until 8. The rush of water through the cast iron pipes of this old-but-not-old-enough-to-be-interesting house as a soon-to-be 18 yr old showers, the thump of dropped soap, the tuneless singing of some unidentifiable song. Some one hollers “Has anyone seen my (X)?” “Where’s my Lit book?” I holler back “What am I, your housekeeper?” and they reply “YES”. Insolent whelps of heck.
And then, as suddenly as it all started at 5:30 am, it’s over. Quiet. Maybe even too much so. Sometimes I relish the quiet, and take the time to pray or meditate, and sometimes it makes me nervous, like I’m being watched closely. Those are the times I put on the music, songs with words, or not. I like the quiet. It pleases me, most of the time. Ok, some of the time, once in a while. But at 6:15 am in the Deep South, it lets you pick out each individual instrument and listen closely, like a Phillip Glass composition. Each sound complementing the other, telling a story, setting the stage for the rest of the day. Windclangs, dogs, diesel engines, an accidental composition forming the character of the day. All it took was just stepping out for a few minutes, and listening.
I love the stuff! I’m totally into the Dean Martin/Frank Sinatra school of finger snapping half-drunk (or in Dean Martin’s case, wholly plastered) slighty slurred jazzy fun. Right now, this very minute, on my iPod, Frank Sinatra’s singing “I Believe”, followed by Mr. Martin’s boozy rendition of “Silver Bells”. You listen to his version of it and tell me he wasn’t thoroughly toasted when he sang it…you tell me that with a straight face.
Last Year, I broke from tradition and purchased an assortment of non-classical Christmas CD’s. Christmas With The Rat Pack being my favorite (Sinatra, Martin, and Sammy Davis Jr.) Then, having fallen hard for the stuff, I purchased a Dean Martin Only CD, and now I’m wanting a Sammy Davis Jr. disc, because honestly, he’s the only one who sounds sober when he’s singing.
Now they’re all loaded onto the music slab, in my pocket and I can tune out the dogs and the children and pretend to feel all festive ‘n’ shit. I have another week or so to start feelin’ the Christmas Love. Maybe if I bake some cookies or make some truffles or something I’ll start feeling it. I did get this awesome vintage organdy apron from Ebay, very 1950′s red and white, quite feminine and kinda sheer, which elicited (avert your eyes if you’re related to me) a salacious comment from Sweet Daddio (*blush*!). I feel like I should fix my hair and put on some heels when I wear that apron, maybe a touch of lipstick, and a corned beef in the oven. I might even be convinced to iron something.
Christmas this year should be pretty relaxed. I have just about everything bought, either the item itself, or the ingredients. As per usual (hint hint Bro. Scott), my charming and wonderful sister in law will probably get too much stuff for me, and make me feel kind of…well…cheap, or something. Tell her, Bro. Scott, that I really, really like a perty apron, or a cookbook for some non-American cuisine. Please! No tons of stuff! It’s embarrasing!
Now, having said that, it does NOT apply to Sweet Daddio or the household children. They can buy me as much stuff as they want to.
We’re getting together with my parents and Bro. Scott, his charming and delightful wife and their 2 splendid and well behaved children (hear that sucking noise?), shortly before Christmas, to celebrate Dad’s 70th birthday, and The Charming and Delightful Sister In Law’s…what…um…29th (?) birthday. Dad’s getting a bottle of bourbon (Wild Turkey Rare Breed), and SIL might get a bottle of sweet muscadine wine…that Mom gave me for Christmas last year. Nasty stuff it is, really, like…kinda like grape jelly gone bad.
I have alot to do…cooking mostly. Cookies for neighbors, biscotti for relatives who don’t need anything, chocolate truffles for certain persons I deem worthy, and Oh! Almond toffee…yum, y’all. The first year I made almond toffee I wound up eating it all and having none to send off. Hopefully, I can show more maturity and self control. I bought like, 5 pounds of almonds. That’ll make lotsa toffee.
I might make snowflakes as well. I use white polymer clay and snowflake cookie cutters, so they’re like white cookies, kind of, sprinkled with silver or light blue glitter. They’re pretty hanging on the tree, and oh, so easy to make. #4 can help.
Maybe I’m feeling it more than I thought.
Filed under: Holidays!
Good morning and good morning. After a week of scheduleless chaos, the chirrens return to school and life settles back into routine.I am not happy without routine. I like to know that Monday will involve laundry and cleaning, as will Tuesday. Wednesday involves shopping and/or piddling around in the crafts arena…especially this time of year.
We are not those people who put Christmas Trees up the day after thankgiving, not out of any precious sensibilities, but because #2 has a birthday on November 30, and we don’t want to go losing it in the holiday hoo-ha. Get this! He’s going to be 18! We asked if he was going to stand in a convenience store and at midnight precisely purchase himself a Playboy and a pack of cigs (like #1 did). He said alas, no, as he has the SAT to take at 8:00 am Dec 1. He does plan, however, to drive to South Carolina and purchase some smoke bombs. To each their own form of rebellion, I guess. He’s also talking about buying a bottle of fuel injector cleaner. What a wild man!
That’s not to say I haven’t put out a few decorations. We have this 2 story entryway, with stairs and a rather elaborate iron railing, painted an unfortunate cream color. (It will be black soon, very soon, just as soon as I can). I put an excruciatingly fake green garland, ropes of gold beads, and arrangements of silk poinsettias in red and cream, gold berries, red berries, and bi-color holly leaves. Pretty if ah do say so mahse’f. There’s this place in Savannah called AC Moore that’s discount craft supplies and their prices on fake flowers etc are remarkable, so I loaded up and now my foyer (I say Foy-yer…people who say ‘foy-yay’ are pretentious) is perty.
I also put out the santa mugs. Over the last 20 years or so, I’ve collected those silly mugs that look like Santa’s head. You can get them for cheap at flea markets or Ebay, and they’re cute and festive. Once in a while I’ll let a boy have hot chocolate out of one, if I’m feeling benevolent. We have this antique sideboard that has a shelf up highish, and the mugs look just right there. The spillage (now that I have more than will fit on said shelf) goes into the powder room, or maybe a few on the piano. Santa mugs can be big business. I’ve had my eye on one at Ebay and watched the bid go from 99 cents to nearly $100. I’m not paying that much. $10 (plus shipping) is the max for me. I do have my standards.
That’s all that’s going up until next weekend. We’ll get the boy’s birthday out of the way, and I have to drive to Auburn Sunday, because I get to spend some time with The Good Dr. H. in Montgomery on Monday. I intend to advance the notion that perhaps eliminating the Wellbutrin from my pharmaceutical diet would be advantageous. He has, after all, been trying to convince me to quit taking it for…oh…4 years now? yeah. But I have been chicken. I mean, if you’d been through the depression and someone says to quit taking something that makes the depression mostly go away, it’s like maybe walking a tightrope without a net. But now, lots has changed. The hip hurteth not. the blood pressure has dropped most dramatically. I can move and do things and stuff. Ergo, time to ditch the pill.
(awe, there’s a leetle kitty in my lap, purring and squinting at me. Pardon while I take a Cute Break)
Next Tuesday, I get to go to the Gyn for…you know…what Mom calls “my annual Poke-n-Prod”. This is a new one, as I haven’t had a checkup of this nature since we moved here. I hate scouting for a new doctor. The last one I had was this Indian woman with a very gentle hand and she kept The Things on a warm heating pad, so there was no *YOWZA!*. She also knew how to take the biopsy without causing pain. Remarkable. I would lay there all tense and ready for something awful and she’s go “all done!”. huh…cool.
Then! Wednesday! Cool things should be happening. I’ll fill you in after the fact.
Filed under: Uncategorized
A Salad! My youngest child for a salad and a tall glass of ice water! Someone call Roto-Rooter and ream my arteries! Herbal Tea! Anything with no fat!