Thursday, November 29, 2007
I am raising my kids alone while my husband is deployed. He's been deployed since April, with a short break in October. If you do the math, that means he has not been present for several holidays and will be absent for even more. I begin the day running and end it the same way. I really thought I was losing it and needed to read about other people's lives and maybe talk myself through mine (I didn't care if anybody was reading it, I just needed to put in words what I couldn't share with a four-year old).
But something happened yesterday. I woke up and first thing I did after getting the kids off to school was check my email for any news from my husband. Instead, there was a comment to my other blog and I went out to see what it was. It was a writer's critique. I don't remember applying for a job as an author, so I really didn't understand why someone felt the need to correct me publicly for my spelling. But that's not all, she was kind enough to write a whole blog on how she found my mistake and then linked back to my blog! I thought I was being oversensitive, but when I discussed it with my husband later, he said "Holy crap, what kind of person would do that?" It ate at me all day. Not the fact that I misspelled something (who kares?), but that she felt the need to humiliate someone she didn't even know. And the point is, I AM over sensitive right now and I deserve to be.
I have mentioned on my blog that I am In The Gutter trying to look back up at the stars (maybe you missed that while you were busy checking out my punctuation), maybe this is just NOT the place to do it. I can't see stars if I'm staring at a computer screen.
author's note: In the time it took to type this blog, my child unpacked her diaper bag and began eating her Desitin. Maybe this is not the best time to explore my creativity.
So, I am saying "Cheers" for a while, and if you want great reading, check out the blog that inspired me to start this whole process . GetInTheCar
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
So this morning when I woke up late (Thing 3 said, "I've been up since 6:35." "You didn't think it was strange that I wasn't out here?" "no"), the school bus was out of the question.
I packed lunches--oh yeah, another something I probably should've done before baking brownies-- dressed kids, bundled the baby and off we went, driving quickly down our little country roads.
Our little roads.... I want you to imagine the narrow little one-way street near your own home. Now cover it with deposits left by tractors (mud, rocks and fertilizer), line both sides with irrigation ditches or hedges of blackberry bushes (nice firm, thorny branches that stick out every which way and love car paint). Expect this to be used as a two-way road.
When you meet another car/tractor/horse-- whatever, one of you needs to back up to the last area you saw that was semi-safe to pull off. Sometimes that means into the blackberry bush that has the most give--oh, and both of you have somewhere equally important to be (there's a dark blue van that I hate and one day I am going to sit there until it backs up). Six miles take about 15 minutes.
When I get back home from this relaxing drive through the country, I am about an hour behind on my day and due to make this dreaded visit in an hour. Miss Ky says "no way" to nap time which really fuels my pity party. My dishes are multiplying in my sink, the daily cereal explosion has already occurred, and the laundry hangs in every doorway of my house and the tornado is still spinning (envision my daughter the Energizer Bunny--she just keeps going and going...).
When this (far-more-than-I) altruistic woman arrives to pick me up for the visit, I stand with my tired daughter, a plate of brownies and a pasted smile.
What I learned today came next.
She sat down at my kitchen table and told me how she's amazed that I baked and how she can't even seem to drag herself to do the things she needs to be doing, much less show any thought to bake something for the woman we're visiting. She proceeds to tell me some of the things she's struggled with for the last few months and how glad she is to be going out with me today to get her mind off of herself. (ouch). The young mother we visited, fed us lunch and kept thanking us for coming over and telling us how she loves visitors and wants to keep them over as long as possible. (ouch again). I had a really nice time and still managed to stay as behind on my day as I usually am-- no more, no less.
So did you miss what I learned? First: it's really true that when you put your self aside, sacrifice a little of your time, everything else works out. Second: you have no idea what is going on in another person's life-- especially those smiling, happy people you see at church. You have no idea of the life challenges they've faced or are facing now. Third: if it's not painful, it's not really a sacrifice is it? I mean, how much of a sacrifice is it to sit down and eat a bag of oreos? But now give that bag of oreos that you've thought about all day to a hungry kid...oh wait, now I've gone too far.
Monday, November 26, 2007
This recipe appeared in an issue of Saveur Magazine. I did a search and came across a blog that had the recipe. I want to try sugar plums this year!
2 cups whole almonds
1/4 cup honey
2 tsp grated orange zest
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup finely chopped dried apricots
1 cup finely chopped pitted dates
1 cup confectioners' sugar
Preheat oven to 400. Arrange almonds on a baking sheet in a single layer and toast in oven for ten minutes. Set aside to cool and then finely chop. Meanwhile, combine honey, orange zest, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg in a medium mixing bowl. Add almonds, apricots, and dates and mix well. Pinch off rounded teaspoon sized pieces of the mixture and roll into balls. Roll balls in sugar and refrigerate in single layers between sheets of wax paper in airtight containers for up to one month.
I just wanted to upload a picture and call it done, but now you get to hear (see) me winge instead.
Ok, maybe I won't whinge. Maybe I'll share.
I made proper Yorkshire pudding for dinner tonight. When I was younger and devouring any books set in the UK, I would salivate when "tea" was mentioned. Ahhh, crumpets, cakes and puddings. Visions of lovely sweets adorning dainty china plates. I guess I was envisioning petit fours and layer cakes... wow, now I'm hungry.
Anyway, that is NOT the case.
The first thing I tried to pick up in the store that resembled the pudding I'm used to (picture Bill Cosby saying "yum"), was actually pretty nasty. Pudding here is a bread, in every form you can imagine. There's Christmas pudding, which is a lot like our fruit cake, but add every kind of alcohol and let it cure for a year or so. There's Spotted Dick (I joke you not), that even though I didn't care for the taste, I have bought it for every American that has come to visit. But I regress, the subject of today's post is Yorkshire pudding (wait 'till I bend your ear (eye?) about clotted cream...).
I had some (pudding--my, you get lost easily) in a restaurant. It was a little bread-ish bowl with steaming roast beef and loads of dark, rich gravy. I decided this was one thing I needed to learn how to make. So, I got out my handy British cookbook and there was a recipe! But it was only for the bread part, that's no good. So I asked a friend, "Do you make Yorkshire pudding?" "Oh, no!" she replied like I was daft, "I buy them at Tesco's and pop them in the oven."
Well, I'm liking this more all of the time.
She told me the brand she uses (Aunt Bessie's) and off I went. Well, Tesco's carries LOTS of brands of Yorkshire pudding, but they have no meat, no gravy, nada. What the heck?
So I ask another friend (I can't look too stupid to the same person), "What is yorkshire pudding?"
I discover it's the batter/bread thing (like an American pop-over I'm told), you add what you want to it.
So tonight, I popped in the Aunt Bessie's and topped it with my own beef and gravy. Delicious. I LOVE this country!
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Just a thought.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
A1 has been in trouble several times today. So tonight when we got home, he decided to put on his robe. I bought him a fleece camouflage robe weds. but only just gave it to him yesterday. Today I showed him how you tie the inside tie and then when it's wrapped around you, you tie the outside belt. Well, I found him outside in the rain with the robe, scissors and some packing tape.
"What are you doing?!"
"I'm trying to fix it...this bit broke"
"You're standing outside, in the rain, in your socks, trying to fix what?!"
"It came off......"
I pulled him inside and took the scissors and tape away and showed him how there are belt loops for the belt to go through. :-)
While typing this, A2 (4 years old) came to show me how to tie his robe belt (in a bow-- he rocks).
Friday, November 23, 2007
1- Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog.
2- Share 7 random and or weird things about yourself.
3- Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
4- Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
So now I have to tell you 7 random things about myself (yea, more self indulgence).
1. I am eating my four-year olds' left-over happy meal while writing this (hey, you snooze you lose).
2. I love thunderstorms. I see them as God's way of telling me he's looking out for me.
3. Have NO idea what I want to be when I grow up.
4. I have a degree that is completely outdated and useless now (I'm trained to make computer animations on a computer that takes up a whole stinking room. (see #3)
5. Not a huge jewelry fan (yikes, I know I just lost friends). I prefer gifts that show you know who I am. Oh wait, I did get a piece of jewelry last year from my husband that had an inscription that made me cry. Nice touch to have Mom crying by the Christmas Tree on Christmas morning.
6. I secretly wish my husband would blow the 4 grand (ouch) it would take to get my dog over here and back with me where he belongs.
7. I would be hugely peeved if my husband blew $4000.00 without consulting me first.
I want to apologize-- I enjoyed getting this, but if it's like the passed-around-for-ages forwards you hate getting in your email, I don't want to be the cause of it and everyone the randomizer came across had already been tagged within the last couple of weeks. So, I am breaking the rules... I really want to know more about people out here, but have run out of "free" time. If you want to play, I would love to hear your list! :-)
Monday, November 19, 2007
It started with my desire to see some American news. We only get Fox and CNN over here (and the CNN is world news, not U.S.), so I like to turn on the telly in the morning to see what has happened in the Motherland.
Couldn't find the remote control. So the search began...
Thinking like a 7 or 9 year-old, I immediately went into the boys'rooms and began the search. It wasn't among Pokemon cards or in J's blankets, but I did discover several dirty underpants and socks tucked away in a shower cubicle. On the way to the laundry room, I realized that Miss Ky was again in her favorite cereal cabinet. Not a day goes by that I don't sweep about a half of a box of cheerios or Lucky Charms off the kitchen floor--and before you say "why don't you move the cereal into a higher cabinet?"--I live in England. I am just lucky to have cabinets.
So, I remove her from her toasted oats heaven, drop the underwear into the laundry room and begin the search again.
The remote is not in A1 and A2's bathroom, but I do find that all the cleaning I did in there at 10:00 last night was in vain. Sigh. They can kick a soccer goal from a half a mile away, but no one can seem to pee INTO the toilet bowl.
Danger Girl has gone off again to explore the stairs, so I sit at the bottom to watch her practice her ascent and descent and offer the appropriate "atta girls" and clapping, but
I really want to know what's happing in the states....
I move the couch, I move the love seat, I check behind the drapes and find a small stash of cheerios. Apparently from yesterday's raid. I check inside the freezer/laundry hamper (home of the misfit socks)/trash bin (Miss Ky's favorite place to put things). No remote. But during my search through the trash, the little beastie's trail leads me to my living room that now looks like a winter wonderland. She's decorated with a brand new box of Puffs tissues.
Can you imagine? When someone asks me for a tissue, I am going to hand them a previously played with sheet and smile. I will have done my part to stop Global warming. I just wish I knew the latest news....
Saturday, November 17, 2007
30 years ago, my mother came home alone from a bowling tournament my dad was competing in. She told me later that he had just bowled and when he turned around, he had the funniest (not as in "ha ha funny") look on his face and she knew something was wrong. He sat down beside her and she began to take his pulse. She said she knew something wasn't right so she called an ambulance. He was angry with her for doing so, and refused to get on the gurney. He made it to the door of the bowling alley when he collapsed. My dad died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital from a massive heart attack. He was 47. I was an adolescent.
So here we are 30-some years later and my step-father (who has been my father on this planet longer than my bio dad was able to be) returned home with my mom. It's amazing how quick a mind that can't keep track of soccer schedules (or parent conferences) can remember in vivid detail how the room looked when awakened to be told Dad wasn't coming home. I am sure in thirty years I will remember the relief I felt when my 'other' Dad called to say, "Are you sure you want to be called in the middle of the night just to hear I'm home?"
Friday, November 16, 2007
I recently went back to the States to spend time with a friend. Unfortunately, between home schooling and working, she was a busy woman and I honestly feel like a phone conversation might have worked best for us. I emailed her when I got home to thank her for her time and her response was, "I think we're both at very a very low point in our lives". She then suggested we go white water rafting to snap out of it which I found very funny--not that the rafting is funny--I'd love to go, but I know it will never happen. She's the mother of EIGHT kids (ok, three have started their adult lives) and I have FIVE (we're building our own country), and we both have husbands that would be described by others as "wonderful, supportive men" (however we know they are sneakily controlling). Yeah, we're not going anywhere in this decade.
So, a low point. Which brings me to the heading of this blog site. I heard a quote last year by Oscar Wilde and it made me contemplate where my life was heading. The quote is "We are all in the gutter but some of us are looking at the stars".
Right now I just see the clouds and I'm out here desperately looking for the stars.