(No good would come of leaving this post up. But, at the very moment I needed to hear something ... nice ... Thank You :)
If someone says your idea is obviously "dumb" and your project is "stupid" and calmly implies (as if its a simple staement of truth) that you're a bad wife, and a bad mother, and a bad housekeeper (and even giving the the benefit of the doubt about that food comment), and then says "I love you" ...
I think its reasonable to wonder "Why?"
BEST recipe ever! I've been carrying it around in my purse since last November and I just know I'm going to lose it. Here it is. By the way, I got the recipe from King-of-Fools and his wife. I hope this recipe turns out well. its possible it turns out better for them because they're such "sweet" people. (My grandmothers apple pie was like that. Her's always tasted a little different/better, and I spent years watching/analyzing. Not that I'd be neurotic enough to even try using the same soap and hand-lotion she did ;) But the point is that this is TRULY an amazing cookie.
1 pound butter (if you are the kind of person that wants to substitute margarine, I can't help you)
1 cup granulated sugar
5 cups flour (1/2 cup less for soft cookies)
Cream butter and sugar, add flour
Spread evenly on cookie sheet, prick with a fork
Bake at 275 for 40 minutes (watch not too brown)
Cut while hot, about 10 minutes out of the oven.
These are amazing. Supposedly they are better the second day, although for the life of me its unbelieveable that they'd last that long. Maybe if I made them while the kids were at school,or secretly locked them in the trunk of my husbands car so he took them to the office with him.
This is the one I got from Marsh at the PEO meeting. It doesn't have mayo but still tastes like slaw!
2 lbs cabbage shredded
1 large cucumber (seeded and chopped fine)
1/2 medium onion
2 shredded carrots
1 green bell pepper (chopped)
3/4 cup white vinegar
1/2 safflower oil
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
4 t salt
Yesterday I had a brilliant parenting moment! Totally by accident. And I just know that I'll forget it, AND its definitely worth repeating for every child I have.
I was driving home from grocery shopping with Cassie (my oldest girl -- age 10) and she mentioned the boy she has a crush on. As it turns out, i've known for awhile. His brother and one of my boys are friends, they live near us, so they're around sometimes. Perfectly pleasent children! An absolute joy to be around. Charming, smart, handsome. They are always welcome in our house. I can't stress how NICE they are!
But, a few weeks ago, I started taking notice that while this particular boy is great about not doing "wrong" things, he has some real challenges doing "right" things when they involve conflict of any kind. It goes beyond not liking conflict. I know a few things at school have REALLY bothered him, but he said nothing. He did nothing.
I feel bad for him. He must have a LOT of stress. And he has a good heart, which is a rare and precious thing. But, that flaw ...
How big is "too big" for a character flaw? How early is "too early" to look for one?
I mentioned to her "what if ... what if ... you were in trouble, would he say anything?" She looked at me a little odd, making me wonder if I had hit a nerve. And she agreed with me! He wasn't someone you could count on if things got bad, although he's lots of fun when things are good.
Children heed repitition. I've got to remember: "Look for the person who does the right thing, not the easy thing!"
(Next time: Don't date what you won't marry.)
Maybe I'm the last person on earth to get a webcam. MAYBE I'm the last person to foresee what would happen when I did. It gets me every time.
My husband got me the cutest little webcam for Christmas so I can Skype with my nephews. Its a super-cute little robot-dog with movable legs. There's just no good way to say this ...
Every time I pass my desk someone has positioned the little dog so it has a leg hiked on my mouse! Or my monitor ... or my keyboard ... or ...
So I'm driving along with just Katherine-age-5 in the car, sitting right behind me. I'm not really paying attention to the radio, just background noise for planning the list of things to get done this week. I realized that we were listening to Toby Keith's American Soldier ...
... Everything to everyone.
Up and at 'em bright and early,
I'm all business in my suit,
Yeah, I'm dressed up for success from my head down to my boots,
I don't do it for the money, there's bills that I can't pay,
I don't do it for the glory, I just do it anyway,
Providing for our futures, my responsibility,
Yeah I'm real good under pressure, being all that I can be,
And I can't call in sick on Mondays when the weekend's been too strong,
I just work straight through the holidays,
And sometimes all night long.
You can bet that I stand ready when the wolf growls at the door,
Hey, I'm solid, hey I'm steady, hey I'm true down to the core,
And I will always do my duty, no matter what the price,
I've counted up the cost, I know the sacrifice,
Oh, and I don't want to die for you,
But if dying's asked of me,
I'll bear that cross with honor,
'Cause freedom don't come free ...
And that was the moment Katherine was yelling out in surprise "HEY! Thats a song about MOMMIES!"
... I'm an American Soldier. An American ..
"Oh. And about soldiers :) "
Lucy: I would SO be a fabulous "Evil Genius". I just need that t-shirt.
Lucy: Ok, maybe I'd need that t-shirt AND some minions. If only I had minions! Bwahahahaha!
Boy: (snort) Not a chance. You'd make them cupcakes. (pause ...) With sprinkles.
Saturday morning it was medium brown. Average brown. Just the right brown for me. Then, Saturday afternoon I went in to get a few grays covered. Now, today, my hair is black. Dark black. Very black. BLACK. I'm still not sure what exactly happened, or why. I do know that she was wrong when she suggested it only looked darker under their lights and everything would be better at home.
Did I mention my hair is black? Cause thats consuming my thoughts. Enough that I stopped by the salon this morning to point out that My Hair Is Black. I listened to Christmas carols and thought about Jesus on the way over there. Trying to be a good example of love and mercy. Clinging to the hope they could fix my hair. It started well enough, calmly explaing that something had gone wrong. Obviously wrong. And then ... the person said that I had ASKED for my hair to be medium brown and thats what she had done.
The floodgates that my husband probably hoped he had welded shut burst open and all those shrill hysterical amazed words poured out ... "My Hair Is Black. My HAIR is black. It matches my bathrobe because its BLACK. Does this look normal to you!?!?!?!?!" The grown-man (manager) behind the counter looked frantically around for someone to save him, doubtless thinking that tears were close. He didn't know that I don't cry in public because it makes me look splotchy, which would be extra-unattractive with BLACK hair.
"Just tell me what to do. Please. I am so sorry you're unhappy. What would you like me to do?" We agreed after some discussion that this is not the worst thing that could happen to me. For example, I could be totally bald. Or look like a skunk if they gave me high-lights. Or hair so damaged it looked like hay. So.
I have a refund. I have a story. I have BLACK hair.
Yes, its totally trivial. But I know that someday my children will eventually read this blog archives. And I hope they will find this useful. And I bet this helps the girls weed out the passive-agressive insecure underachievers.
Boys: If you need to know how to dress, watch Barefoot In The Park. Pay attention to Robert Redford. Enough said. (And "blue-jeans, white button-down, dark blazer, great dress shoes".)
Girls: The only thing you may not know by now is how to dress like a boy. I can help you. Even Sam couldn't pull off the "boyfriend" look. I could. There's a trick. NEVER dress like a boy. No boy that you want to date wants to date another "boy". Just wear one piece of clothing that OBVIOUSLY is for a guy, and a whole bunch of clothing that OBVIOUSLY is for a girl. No unisex stuff for this "look".
For example, the most hit on I've ever been was when I would wear my boyfriend's/husband's jacket to class in college. It was a sweatshirt-hoody that was clearly emblazoned "ARMY". I LUUVVVVVED that jacket. I would have lived in it if he didn't keep taking it back (while rolling his eyes and giving me stern warnings). It reminded me of that secret "bad-ass" part of him that most people should thank God that they never had to see. (Military Police are really scary people. Just saying.) Jacket, cute shirt, cute ear-rings, pink lipstick = guy magnet. (It wasn't until later that I realized how it worked. I just liked the jacket.)
Other example: That navy sweater I got from Beth when she broke up with her boyfiend. His sweater could have stopped traffic. Fabulous. SOOOOO totally a guy sweater. Never wear it on a first date, only to GET a first date. And yes, I still have it 30 years later. Its the wool navy one with a burgendy stripe woven into it. Probably on the top shelf of my closet. Maybe in the cedar chest. I don't wear it anymore. Size L.
Still another example: John's white button down, forest green riding skirt with cinched waist, saddle-colored Cole-Haan belt and shoes. Gold hoop ear-rings. I was wearing that when I met your father. (Its my favorite outfit of all time)
After MANY years, here's how I think it works: They like the chase, the challenge. Wearing a single piece of guy-clothing is like waving a red-flag. Its sort of like saying "See? I'm probably already dating a guy, and you probably can't change my mind, but MAYBE ..."
And, remember, if your brothers refuse to share their clothes you can always buy your own.
No more nightmares! Talk (or "write") therapy worked! Who knew?!?
For all intents and purposes, Samantha is dead. Realistically she'll only be "dead" about fifteen years. This is going to be a long dark rambling post and I feel like throwing up but maybe if I get it all out of my head the nightmares will stop. Ironically, the only person who would really get it is Sam.
For those late to the party, Samantha and I are second-cousins. Her mother and my mother are cousins, but the same age. And Sam and I are about the same age. Her parents were both corporate work-a-holics who shipped her off to stay with my family at every opportunity it seemed. My mother, her mother, her grandmother, the other sisters -- it was a VERY large and very tight Southern matriarchy. In a subtle way, it was always 'us" against "them", even when they didn't realize there was an "us". By the time they realized that we made each other stronger, it was too late. We were too independent to be easily manipulated and controlled, each one witness to the other's survival.
Years and years ago I overheard my husband make a throw-away comment on the phone about me and Sam. He said that he had never seen loyalty like that. I used to think that maybe Sam and I were like sisters, since I don't have one. Thats what sisters must be like, right? Then over time I realized it was more intense, more like veterens of a really horrible war. Prisoners of war that made it home. We were total opposites. I'm not even sure we were friends, so much as ... I don't know. Closer somehow. Do you know how astonishing it is to have someone understand your backstory so perfectly that you can think as one? That when you're too tired or confused or worn down that she can actually think for you perfectly? Maybe it wasn't about thinking. It was that she could FEEL so perfectly exactly what I was feeling, could understand like she was in my skin, could just ... know. When she said "I know how you feel" she really DID know.
She thought my husband was great, but looking back I can see that made it hard for her. I had someone great and she didn't. Maybe ... maybe thats why she started dating the lunatic. I was living half-way across the country, and he seemed normal enough. Clean-cut, handsome, charming, employed, interested. Prince Charming, right? But when I saw a picture of him, something clicked. Something yucky and all I could do was keep screaming at her to get away from him. I still don't know what made my skin crawl, but she didn't listen. And then a year later he got a little creepy, and the police told her to back-away from him slowly because he was dangerous, and then she ended up pregnant even though she couldn't remember sleeping with him. She tried not to panic. She loved him. She thought they could make it work if he got over a few little issues. She didn't know it was the tip of the ice-berg. To cut to the chase ...
He turned out to be a varient of that movie "The Talented Mr. Ripley". He targeted her for her parents money and influence, tried to force her to marry him while she was pregnant, tried to blackmail her mother (who thought he had delusions of grandeur that he could get away with it), beat her, did some seriously deranged stuff I'm not going to think about, showed his true colors which were -- clinically narsicistic, bi-polar, ADHD, drug-user and supplier, compulsive gambler, anti-semetic. Oh yeah, attempted murderer (from when he tried to kill her and the baby). And that just the stuff that he CONFESSED on the stand under oath.
By the time that this stuff first started coming out, Sam was in the middle of a very difficult pregnancy and refused to leave town because of her doctor. Stupid girl. I tried to tell her. But she could only handle so much reality at one time. True, no one really believed he was evil incarnate. He's very charming. And by the time it became clear what he was, and how connected he was (he used to brag he could do anything and get away with it) (weirdly enough, he got a years probabtion for admitting to trying to kill her, and he laughed on the stand) it was too late. He had her in court. She couldn't get the case moved. She's spent the last three years (and more than $300,000 in legal fees) in court and still NO VERDICT. Just more hearings and more deliberations and more manipulations. Lets just leave it at there are some serious corruption issues.
So when she was late for visitation because the father was in the middle of a declared Federal disaster area with a boil-warning, she thought it would be a contempt of court charge for messing with the visitation schedule. Instead, the judge who is related to his lawyer, awarded HIM full emergency custody, charged Sam, issued an Amber alert with the suggestion that Sam was dangerous and unstable and should be sedated. (FYI, Sam would die if sedated because she's allergic to the drugs, and if she dies the baby is the only hier to a WHOLE lot of money) By the way, aside from all the obvious felony reasons that lunatic shouldn't have custody, there are a lot of legal reasons that he can't like he's not on the birth-certificate and he was never married to Sam. But if Sam's dead, none of that matters.
He tried to kill the baby a few times, which Sam can prove. In fact, its one of those odd little miracles that it didn't work. He faked a fall, took the baby to the ER, told them he vomited after a fall and requested the same drug that almost killed Sam and the baby-in-utero. With NO evidence of vomiting, the doctor gave the baby the injection. Turns out that the doctor and the father's new wife are friends. Turns out the only reason the baby didn't die (although he had a reaction) is that Sam thought since the weather was good that they would take him to the park and let him roll on the grass which would make welts all over him. So she started giving him liquid Benedryl the day before and gave him a huge dose right before he went to visitation.
There were other odd behaviors the last few months. The baby (who is almost three) said playing in traffic was fun, and ran out in the street downtown. And he runs up and down the stairs but flinches and jerks his hand away from the railing if you try to make him use it, like he'd been punished for using the railing. And the father called the baby a "business transaction".
She reported all this to the authorities. Plus more. Over and over and over. She reported the coruption over and over and over. No one cared.
When she was late for that visitation, I should have suspected something was up. She usually talked to me every day, sometimes several hours a day going over and over the case looking for something she missied. (Thank goodness for cell phones -- I just let her talk and went on about my day -- once I timed her at 47 minutes with no sound from my end of othe conversations) But then I noticed that she wasn't telling me where she was. That went on for a few days. Then I talked to her mother, who told me about the change-of-custody and the Amber alert. Of course, when I talked to Sam I told her and she flipped out. I told her everything I knew, and that as long as I told her to turn herself in that I wasn't comitting a felony by talking to her, and she said it was late and she was tired and that she'd call me tomorrow.
She didn't call.
And just like that, she's gone. There's just a hole. Nothing. At first it wasn't so bad, like she was on vacation and left her phone-charger at home. But I miss her. Even though we're total opposites, we're still "us". That doesn't matter. Whatever else can be said about us, we are good mothers. It is beyond the pale to think that she could hand over her son to that monster. I understand that. I approve of that. (I don't think that approving is a felony, right? Its not like she even knows about this blog, so I'm not aiding and abetting through encouragement, right?)
She's not coming back.
Some people think she will, or that she'll call, or send a message, but she won't. I know her. She is really truly gone. Its the only way to keep the baby safe. She's severed every thread that might lead to the baby. Including me. Because she knows me. I'd protect my babies the same way she does. I'd give her up in a heartbeat if it were the difference between going to prison or staying home with my children. Seriously. And she would understand. Which is why she'll never contact me. Or anyone else for that matter. And she'll be fine.
I'm always amused by people that think Sam is weak. Its an illusion that she's allowed her mother to use for years, an excuse her mother uses to camaflouge her own weaknesses. I'm also amused by people that think she's destitute or trapped. Realistically, I'd bet that Sam had ten years living-expenses in cash within hours of trashing her phone and credit-cards. Maybe fifteen years if she was careful, or found a few odd jobs over the years. Sure she was raised by her mother to be an artist, but her father raised her to be his own personal estate-lawyer. Its an odd combination, but useful in this situation. She knows all about the off-the-grid-artistic-hippy-dippy-gypsy-lifestyle and she knows all about how to handle large money and assets cleverly (and legally).
Its just that I miss her. I was flipping out the other night, and my husband pointed out that if she's really gone for fiteen years, I could be a GRANDMOTHER before she calls! He was trying to make me laugh, to make me feel better but I think that until that minute I had kept myself so crazy-busy that I hadn't thought beyond tomorrow.
But fifteen years is a long time. A very long time. She'll miss proms, and graduations, and colleges, and weddings, and grandchildren, and deaths, and vacations, and moving, and books, and movies, and hair-colors, and clothes, and diets, and car-wrecks, and life. She'll miss my life, and I"ll miss hers. I guess the horrible thing is that, in a way, Lucy is dead too.
For ten weeks early this year, I coached a cheerleading squad for Upward!Basketball (which is a Christian league, and yes thats different than "regular" leagues) One night a week it was me locked in a small room with eight EIGHT squealy kindergarteners. And on Saturdays it was me loose in the gym trying to herd eight EIGHT squealy kindergarteners.
Fortunately, a few years ago I was an assistant coach to the BEST coach in the entire world. Stacy is brilliant. She's all about fun with boundries. She's absolutely sparklely, literally. If you can put glitter glue on it, she's there! But the thing I learned from her that changed my life was ... to just let things be. (Thats even more important than ordering extra hairbows and pom-poms). Really? Will it kill me if they're not all totally in sync? Seriously, will I actually die if they don't wear the matching socks? She reminded me, and everyone else, that there is no point if the girls feel bad about themselves or the situation. Just smile and relax and things will work out (or not), and the sun will still rise tomorrow. *happy sigh* I just love Stacy.
And I REALLY tried to make the whole experience as stress-free as possible. Late? No stress. Forgot pom-poms, hairbows, waterbottles, snacks, etc? No stress (I had extras). Broke your ankle? No stress. In fact, our tag-line became "WE don't have stress." I didn't realize how successful I was in getting that message across until a few weeks into the season.
Officially, I started with four girls, but then others drifted into my group for assorted reasons. Once a "new" mother flipped out because they dashed in late to practice. One of the other mothers sort of waved her off and said "We don't have stress here" and the other parents kind of laughed and nodded. The late-mother looked like someone had thrown cold water in her face! She couldn't have been more shocked if she tried! Then it sank in that they weren't kidding and she spent the rest of the season rather ... gigglely. Apparently, we weren't the militant over-the-top squads like some of the others. (But at the end of the season, we knew twice as many cheers and had twice the stamina of any other squad.) And another little girl who transferred from another squad, was overheard announcing to her dad as they left their first night "THIS group is fun!" I felt pretty good about it. So I bought face-paint. (FYI, Elmers acrylic paint pens are not officially face-paint, but they are absolutely the best thing EVER for doing face-paint. They dry super-fast, they have a fine-ish point for detail work, they fit in your pocket so you can do the late-comers as they take the court!)
It sounds like it was a ton of fun, which it was. It sounds like I was happy and relaxed, which I was. EXCEPT for the incident with the shirt ...
See, the coaches had to wear an official shirt. It was a cute v-neck t-shirt with 3/4 length sleeves. GREAT for active movement, and realistically I had to lead each cheer. The issue that made me nuts? The color. It was BLACK! Where to start? Its just not festive and cheer-ful. And about the only thing that matches it is gray sweat-pants because the team color was Brilliant Green. Try finding Brilliant Green sweatpants. Hah!
And then the fateful day came: I forgot to wash my grey sweatpants. And it was the first game of the Saturday morning, so I had to just get dressed and dash across town. This lead to the moment when I realized I had no choice but to wear the only other pair of sweatpants available: BLACK sweatpants.
So, there it was, the crack of dawn practically (7:00 am on a Saturday) and I had to dash around putting on clothes and putting on make-up and putting my hair-up and talking to myself and THAT lead to talking at my husband. Who entered this situation while sound asleep. I think he came sort of awake in the middle of a ranting tirade about ... something ... with me demanding rather emphatically to know what he thought about the outfit. "Well? What does this outfit remind you of?"
I could see him blinking a lot, struggling to find words. Somewhat sleepily confused, and probably not at his sharpest, he innocently asked "Kung-Fu Panda?"
None of you should be remotely surprised that I enjoy a good list. I also enjoy good stationary, with lines, because that leads to good lists :)
So, I have put on my list that I will blog every day from 9-10am. Then I can check it off my list!
I know I'm on a diet when I find myself staring out the window at the front flower-bed that needs weeding, and wondering if those green-weed-leafy-things are edible. If so, how would they taste with KeyLime-Dijon Vinagrette?