Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Spin Cycle- Cyber Santa

You'll have to do without the Spin Cycle button this week. I'm at home and it is not. Just a little click on the words will get you over to Jen and the other Santa's though.

Without further ado, I would like to reveal my secret cyber Santa. Would Mrs. Bear from Outnumbered 2 to 1 please come to the stage? Take a load off while I tell the folks how much I like you.

We'll forgo that I was attracted to her by her name. Because we all know bears and badgers get along well, right?

Or the fact that she manages four children of varying ages and still has time to blog and look beautiful (because I've noticed that people who are amazed by this seem to piss her off).

And even though I love her title bar? That's not what keeps me coming back.

I visit Mrs. Bear because it's like sitting down to coffee with a friend. I won't be left in awe by her beautiful pictures, or her poetry. Her pictures are usually of her kids (or random items) just like mine. I won't be embarrassed because she seems to have her act so much more together than I have mine. Her stories could happen at my house most days. I don't feel like I need to hide my coke and donut breakfast for her. She's been there.

When she wrote about her daughters dating fiasco I must have laughed for an hour. And the snark with which she handled "someone" sticking their fingers into her 6 year old's lunch.? After I giggled about the "someone" comments, it made me think. And people- she kills her plants unintentionally, too. It's real life with a sense of humor.

If I had an older sister blogger? I'd want her to be like Mrs. Bear. You know, the sister you'd call when you desperately need to laugh about a bad day. The one that won't call your Mom to tell her how inadequate you are? That one.

If you haven't already, go over and see Mrs. Bear. Read her holiday letter. It will make you all warm and Christmas fuzzy. Wipe your feet and tell her I sent you.

That being said, I'm off for the holidays. Time to get my tinsel together and wrap a present or two. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Have a good Kwanzaa. Oh, hell, whatever you celebrate, I hope you enjoy your day(s).

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Random Tuesday Thoughts- Nothing about the Holidays!

Happy Tuesday (in my mind that came out sounding just like Frosty when he yells "Happy New Year" when they put the hat on his head...) Welcome to the Badger head, where things are highly caffienated. I'd like to say that makes them faster, or more motivated, but I'd be lying.

->For my first item today, I'd like to throw a shout out to all of the "Aunties" in our lives. Some are real relatives, and some are just good friends. All are well loved. These ladies rock, I tell you. Whether you just need some moral support to get through a krappy situation, or you need someone to watch a little badger in a pinch, they are the ones I call. Need advice? Call an Auntie. Need someone to give LG dinner while you deal with o? Call an Auntie. I've realized that our Aunties don't get half of the credit they deserve. So, THANK YOU!

-> My co-workers and I realized the other day that how we judge how our day was really depends on how are children are doing. If they have a krappy morning, you have a krappy morning. If they have a good night, you have a good night. Some one could call and tell you the worst news ever, but as long as the kid sleeps through the night, it'd still be a good night.

-> Goofy is a Mousketool. If you are subject to Mickey Mouse Club House, your laughing your arse off. If not, count your blessings.

-> Have you experienced the happiness that is If not, go immediatly after you leave this blog. They basically sell random stuff cheap. And when I say random, I mean random. Mostly "electronics". Everything from wide screen flat pannel TVs to weather systems. PB bought a heart rate monitor for $25 a few weeks ago. Really, no joke. Every day they sell something new (one item a day). When it's gone, it's gone. I've gotten my co-workers into checking each morning. If it's something good, my SIL will call me to make sure I've seen it. Fun stuff.

-> I want an "evil lair". One all to myself. To think up and hatch my evil plans in. They do not sell these on woot and it disappoints me. (yes, I've been watching too much Kim Possible late at night. o will ask for a naked mole rat for his first pet, I'm pretty sure.)

-> In the unraveling of o's mysterious illness, I've discovered I'm exhausted. Now that we know what is wrong, we're handling it. But during all the stress I didn't sleep (at all) and didn't eat right or get any sort of exercise, and now I'm paying the piper. We're all sleeping pretty well now, and I still feel like I'm running through glue. Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.

I'm all randomed out, but the fun doesn't end here. Head on over to Keely's place (the pretty picture above is a link for a reason, folks) and wade even further into the random pool.

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Spin Cycle- Holiday Recipe

This weeks Spin Cycle is "favorite holiday treats". Mmmmm, holiday treats.

I'm posting late this week because I've been ruminating on all the marvelous things we make at the holidays, and trying to decide which one to share. My husband (and most of his family) make these really good "acorn" cookies (think home made Pepperidge Farm type goodies). So tasty. I make strufolli (fried honey balls) and a lot of other "italian" cookies (think that Italian cookie tray from the bakery? now think of it homemade...) I pretty much eat cookies 24/7 this time of year. And I don't worry about the calories. I like the "spritz" cookies from the fancy gun (one of my c-workers made a recipe for those with cardamom this year?!!), I like the Pillsbury from the fridge cookies. I pretty much like them all. A good cookie can just make my day. Do you see why I'm so happy in December?

After much deliberating, I bring you one of my all time favorites. If you get one of those "Italian" cookie trays, and they don't have these, return it for a full refund. It's krappe. These are those square cake type cookies, the ones with many multi colored layers. The ones the non-Italians avoid because they're not sure what the hell they are. Stop avoiding them. They're the best ones on the tray.

Neapolitan Squares

1 1/2 cups butter
1 (7oz) package Almond Paste (not filling)
1 cup sugar
1 tsp almond extract
4 eggs room temperature
2 cups all purpose flour
10 drops green food coloring
8 drops red food coloring
1 (12 oz) jar seedless raspberry preserves (or apricot)
5 (1 oz) squares of semi-sweet chocolate
2 tsp butter

In a bowl, beat 1 1/2 c butter, almond paste, sugar and almond extract until creamy. Beat in eggs, one at at time until well incorporated. Blend in the flour. Spread 1/3 of the batter (about 1 1/2 cups) in a parchment lined and well greased 13 X9 X2 inch pan (I use a well greased offset spatula for this). Bake at 350 for 10 to 15 minutes or until the edges are slightly browned (pay attention to the time, you'll need it for later). Remove and cool on a wire rack.

Tint 1/3 of the remaining batter green, and the other 1/3 red. Bake according to the directions above. If you're really feeling it, you can do more colors and just divide the batter more. I've seen up to 7 layers work decently well. You could get all fancy and make the layers blue and purple and call them Hanukkah cookies.

Heat the raspberry preserves and stir until smooth. Strain through a sieve (do not try to alleviate this step by using jelly, it's not the same!) Arrange the green cake on a baking sheet. Spread 1/2 of the preserves on top. Slap on the yellow (white) layer and spread on the remaining preserves. Top with the red layer. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, place another baking sheet on top and weight it down (the recipe says the big crushed tomato cans work well- can you tell we're Italian?)

The next day, melt the chocolate in a double burner (sorry to get all complicated on you) and 2 tsp butter until smooth. Spread over red cake in a thin layer**. Let dry about 30 minutes. Cut into 1 inch squares.

**If you spread the chocolate too thick it cracks when you cut it.

I only recommend making these if you are planning on bringing them somewhere, or you're making cookie bundles for other people. If you are keeping them all for yourself, at least freeze half of them. They are high in calories, and you can eat about 1,000 without blinking.

I will warn that these are a tad time consuming, and not good to make with children. As a matter of fact, most kids don't really like them. But I highly recommend you indulge your adult nature and try them.

Happy Holidays, all. Head over to the Sprite's Keeper for more drool-tastic holiday ideas!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wordful Wednesday- A new one.

I'm going to try something new. Just cause. It's called Wordful Wednesday. Here's the button thingy if you want to see other folks and their words:

And now for the picture:

This picture is well over a year old (as the date on the picture attests), but it's still one of my favorites. Other than capturing his big brown eyes, it also captures LGs spirit. He was just learning to walk, and he had just climbed up my legs to a standing position to try to get closer to the camera. Now that he gets around just fine on two legs, I miss the tongue out determination with which he used to get around.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Random Tuesday Thoughts...

Happy Tuesday, everyone! Yes, things are on the upswing at Chateau Badger. Read all about it, then sally on over to the Un-Mom for some more rip-roaring Tuesday madness.

->Thanks to everyone who was concerned about little o. Last week was pretty much hellish with the sick kids, and the not knowing what was wrong. But now we know (at least we think we know after a million tests culminating in an ultrasound) and we're taking care of the problem. He is now on the formula equivilent of champagne, and is feeling much better. He started his new daycare (he and LG are finally at the same place) yesterday. They called at noon to proclaim how different the two boys are. And as much as I love LG, I'm glad. Maybe this one comes with a snooze button.

-> I'm considering something I've never done before. Ok, not really considering it. It just crossed my mind. I had to buy a dress for a fairly formal event I attended in November. Because I was still in the process of losing baby weight, this dress isn't a size I will (hopefully) ever wear again. And it was pricey. But I only wore it for 2 hours. I actually considered returning it. I know, how wrong is that? Even more wrong than trying on a bathing suit with out underwear. But I hate the idea of spending that amount of money on two hours... It will now sit in the closet on the off chance I eat too much one holiday. Or I'll give up the ghost and donate it to one of the women's professional programs.

-> What do you consider to be the middle of the night? This is the topic I've given much thought to over the last week (see the part about sick kids above if you're wondering why). I am a self proclaimed morning person. PB is a night person. But when does "night" become "morning". I can handle anything after 5:am. PB's internal motor runs down at 2:am (latest). That leaves 3 hours when we both suck. Just ask o. He can attest that he did not have a single happy parent between 2 and 5 last week.

-> I hate listening to people chew. Which isn't usually an issue. The problem intensifies late at night (when I'm not at my finest), so PB sticks to quiet snacks after 9:pm. But have you heard the latest Kit Kat commercial? With all the crunching? Ahhhh, it makes my toes curl. I actually have to change the channel. I'm boycotting Kit Kat until it's off. What happened to "gimme a break"? I loved that one.

-> While watching "Mickey Mouse Club House" this past Saturday, PB asked, "When did Mrs. Claus start wearing hooker boots?" Uhm, good question. Maybe Disney is throwing the Dads of the world a bone, and trying to sauce up Mrs. Claus for them? So they suffer less through the "hot dog" dance? (go ahead, giggle. you know you want to.)

->I've decided that it's great to work in a multi faith office. Because just as the Christian/non-denominational tribe was gearing up the cookies and candies? The Jews show up with the latkes and geld. Oh, and coconut treats. Mmmmm. There is just nothing like a good latke. Fresh from the toaster oven (for re-heating). With some apple sauce. Ooooh. Go wipe the drool from your mouth. We'll wait.

Ok, I'm all randomed out. Have a good week folks.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Spin Cycle- Dear Santa

This week's Spin Cycle is supposed to be our letter to Santa. Or about a letter to Santa. I don't remember which, and frankly, I'm to damn lazy to go re-read the assignment. I'm pretty sure Sprite's Keeper will take either as long as I make her chuckle (and she'll give me an "A" if I can get her to snort coffee out her nose...)

To really get in the mood, you should go out and find Sean Morey's song "Dear Santa". I've tried to put a link here, but it just ain't happening for some reason. Here's the link to his site, though. It's funny and worth a few minutes. Trust me.

Dear Santa,

I know I should wish for "world peace" or something like that, but quite frankly, I'm not in the mood this year. I've made my holiday donations, both at work and at church. Now how's about some loving for the Mama Badger? If people want world peace, they should just put down their guns. If they don't want to do that, I don't see how wasting my Christmas wish on them is going to help.

I would like a PS2. Yeah, I know. PB wants a Wii. The whole family could play the Wii. But all I want (and I've wanted it since 9th grade- remember that?) is a little hand held game thingy I can play Tetris on. By myself. Anywhere I want. Not so much to ask right?

I would also like those new Reebock sneakers that make your butt firm while you walk (Easy Tone?) They seem to suggest no "extra" exercise is required. If that's true, maybe get yourself a pair, too. I'm just saying. Oh, in grey, if they have them.

A Kindle, or some other type of personal reader would be nice. Could you please do the research on this one? PB offered to get me one, but I'm not sure which one I want. With all the advertising wars going on, who can tell which one will carry my WSJ by next year. If you can figure it out and get me the appropriate reader, that would be great.

If you could manage a day at the spa with the rest of this stuff, that would be nice. You know, the one with the message, the manicure ,the pedicure, a nice haircut and some lunch? Do you think Mrs. Claus would be willing to sit for the boys that day, too?

That's it this year. I should probably ask for a new car, but I'm really not ready to deal with that one yet. Next year, ok?


Mama Badger

ps- please excuse the finger prints all over your cookies. LG wanted to "help".

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Random Tuesday Thoughts

I'm working on 3 hours of sleep, so I'm having a hard time finding the motivation for the Tuesday dance. You'll have to settle for more of a sway in my chair (which may or may not be me trying not to nod off on the keyboard). When you're all done here, go see Keely at the clicky thing above, and turn the lights off on your way out.

In case you didn't already think I worked with some of the oddest people around, I present you with these two lovelies:

-> Being anti-social nerdy finance people, we have designated Thursday as the day we all go to lunch together. To bond, and such. Because Thursday lunches were becoming such a cluster f&*k to decide where to go and then meet up, my boss developed the RLG (Random Lunch Generator). He asked us all for potential lunch destinations in our area. Then he compiled them. Sent the list to everyone, with the opportunity to black ball one restaurant and rate the rest for preference. Then he took all the information in to customize the RLG. Now, instead of discussing where we want to go, he simply runs the RLG and it tells us where we will be dining, based on our preferences and when we ate there last. We are a sad bunch, but it makes us happy.

->To further the "we have issues" thought, it has recently been requested that I set out a spoon next to my M&M jar. So that people don't stick their hands into the jar. They can spoon out one or two for themselves, and leave the rest untouched. Because it was felt that even if people pour the M&M into their palm (instead of sticking a grimy paw into the jar) some folks inevitably poured too many, and return some. I now have plastic spoon next to my candy jar. I assume this will help the dieters, too, since a spoon only holds so many M&Ms. Far less than the average palm.

->I will now distract you with a picture or two.

Yup, o slept through our "Holiday Picture" experience on Saturday. And we all thought it was better that way.
LG did not sleep through the pictures. And for the first 5 minutes he was a really good boy. He even said "cheese" just like the nice lady asked. However, those were the 5 minutes the lady wasted taking family portraits (which I specifically stated were the LEAST important of all the pictures). Then it was all chasing him though the studio, reminding him that it wasn't our tree, and they weren't our ornaments (so he couldn't take them off to lick them...) And somewhere in there someone got their hands on him and "neatened" him up. Tucked in his really cute dress shirt, combed his hair. As though I had forgotten to do those things. Which I hadn't. So they combed out all his curls, and made him look like a future republican. Poor kid.
If you're on my Holiday Card list, please pretend you didn't see these. As they will be mailed to you this weekend. If you're not, hells, enjoy away!
-> The pediatricians office now gives out gift cards to patients they inconvenience in ways unimaginable, apparently. How do I know? I am now holding $20 in gc (as well as every sample size item that the dr could dig out) that might just go to chocolate and schnapps. Because yesterday I left my house with o at 10:30 am and returned at 3:45. The dr is a 15 minute drive, in traffic. Sigh, it was a long day. The highlights were that we waited an hour for a lab tech to get back from lunch to take o's blood, only to find out that she didn't have the right equipment. The dr was very apologetic. We drove across town, and then back to the dr. And I can honestly say, it didn't occur to me to be mad, or even mildly pissed off. I just wanted them to do something to make him feel better. And they tried, but it hasn't worked yet. Another saga for another day. It's interesting to know that in one of the health capitols of the US, the Clinic has realized that if I don't like my standard of care, I can simply go somewhere else. It's sad that it hadn't occured to me to do that until they handed me that card yesterday.
-> On Saturday, PB and I attended an adults only Christmas dinner (yes, I did get a sitter!) For the white elephant we brought a "Snuggy" and a Chia Christmas Tree. Dude, I know, now you want us at your Christmas party. Sorry, we're booked up for the season. Try us next year, though, when the "Magic" brownie pan might make an appearance.
LG's godmother moved sometime this fall (don't ask how the hell I misplaced that in the last few months, but I did). She now lives on Mockingbird Lane. Next to Herman Munster. Tee hee hee.
Ok, I have to leave you now. Time to go crash our new computer system. Seriously, that's what IT wants me to do. Since I'm the one that used to do it often under the old system. I think they're hoping it will take me more than 5 minutes this time!
Have a great week, and see you next Tuesday for more Random Thoughts.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Spin Cycle- Christmas letters

No, not the ones to Santa. The ones you get from relatives and friends who haven't bothered to pick up a phone all year (and don't realize that you didn't either) but think you need to have a recap. This weeks Spin Cycle is all about those holiday letters, the ones that may or may not include a picture. Read on, and then go visit the other spinners.

This weeks spin topic has brought out a lot of holiday angst in people. I was actually surprised at how much emotion people have about those lovely letters that someone composed in late November to tell friends and relatives all about their year. I was kind of surprised at my own thoughts on those (ok, I was surprised that I even had thoughts on them).

It has once again made me realize that maybe some things shouldn't go in writing. Because you can't hear the "speaker" and you have no idea how it would come out of their mouth. Let's face it, when you read all about how some one's kids are wonderful, and they took fabulous trips you can't help but hear a bragging voice. And I'm hoping (get into the giving Christmas spirit here) that's not actually the case.

Take an old family friend of mine. Every year we got a letter from them regaling all the wonders of the year. Which kid got into Yale, and which one spent the summer sailing up the coast from the Keys to Maine. A picture of the new puppy, and a little about the community service project they did as a family. And every year we groaned. Because we were never quite as good as they were.

But there is a catch. The kid who sailed the coast? Hated it. He would later tell us about how it was long tiring days, and little pay. The kid who went to Yale? Had really wanted to get into Harvard. The puppy chewed the baseboards. But you can't write that in your Christmas letter, can you?

So here's the Catch 22. You want to do more than send the obligatory card with an angel or a tree on it so that people know you are thinking of them. But the other option is letting them know way too much, when the probably don't care. Am I making sense here?

You could always take a good look at your Christmas card list and say, "Do I really need to send something to someone I didn't care enough about to pick up a phone for?" Pare down to just a few friends and family. Maybe the Aunt you see once in a while, but not too often. The friends you don't buy a present for, but want to wish a Merry Christmas. The ones you really would pick up a phone for if you could squeeze another hour into your day. But that feels bad. It's hard to admit that you've lost touch, sometimes.

For us, the picture card is the perfect half way point. It shows you how the kids are progressing (no adult should ever be on the Christmas card, sorry) without all the fluff. When the kids get too old, maybe put the puppy on the card. Let the picture speak for itself. People can see how cute your toddler is, or that your tween has reached the awkward stage. They'll notice that Jr is wearing a Yale sweatshirt. And if they want more info? They'll call.

But that's not the point of this blog. Let's get back on topic, here, MB.

This year I'm going to try to read those letters in a new light. I'll put on my jammies, and pour the eggnog. I'll try to think about the fact that someone cares enough about me to write out my address and put a stamp on the envelope. I'll try to be happy for all of their accomplishments. I'll send them my picture card with the boys on it to let them know I "care" too. Then I'll toss the letter into the fire and forget about them for another year.
Sigh, sorry if this blog post is less than smooth. Today I've been dealing with our holiday schedule, and I'm frustrated. I only have so many baby sitting favors I can call in, so I have to prioritize. Then there are the events where the kids could come, but really aren't wanted (oh, and if that's the case, just say so. Don't hem and haw until the last second when I can't find a sitter, please). Then there are the events that no one wants to attend, but we sort of have to (yes, PB, we have to). I swear, I'll sit down on the couch with my husband and get to talk to him sometime before Christmas. Just not until the 24th, from the looks of it...
Have a good weekend, folks.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Random Tuesday Thoughts

Tuesday is upon us! No more mourning the weekend, people. Get some coffee and act like you belong. Then hit the button above and see how everybody else is handling the first Tuesday of the holiday season. Tee hee hee.
Today at work I'm being harassed for using a pencil instead of a pen. Uhm, I'm an accountant. That's what we do. It goes along with the calculator. A pen is a lot of commitment. If you make a mistake, you can never really get rid of it. You can cross it out, but the cross out is always there to remind you that something went wrong. It's a distraction. A blot on an otherwise perfect page. What I want to know is why the hell my co-workers care. I think it's because they need a reason to pick on the auditor. I get to pick on them all day, every day (it's my job...) This is their revenge.
The guy by my exit to work that I told you about many posts ago? The one that I can't really tell what his story is? He has a dog. A really cute black puppy. And it looks well taken care of (nice fluffy fur, slightly pudgy). He only has it on sunny days. Which now makes me think he's not homeless, at least. That's good, right?
I'm done with my Christmas shopping. I've been done for a while now. Yet I keep shopping. I see things that I think the kids will like, and magically it's in a bag in my hand. Argh. They need more stuff like I need a Shetland pony! This is what happens when I shop too early. I'm going to blame it on all the good sales, though. You just can't pass these deals up. But I'm going to start. It's really getting out of hand. My house will look like a toy shop if I don't.
I complained about "having" to read to my kid the other day. Yes, you read right. I should be shot. LGs favorite thing to do is sit on your lap while you read him a story. You would think I would be thanking what ever god caused this magic, right? Except we read the same 5 books over and over and over and over. I don't even need to see the pages anymore. I know all the words. We have probably at least 50 books in his box that he can choose from. And he picks the same 5. I've resorted to hiding some of them (because really, how many times can you read about Biscuit the puppy going trick or treating in November?) And yes, I've done all I can with them. "LG, where's the kitty on this page?" "LG, what shape is the witch's hat?" "LG, say tractor." Please kid, pick up a block or something. You're driving Mommy to drink.
PB is making me feel a little guilty. About a month ago, he put his road bike up on the trainer in the basement and he's been riding at night. He puts o in his swing, uploads one of his lectures for his class and rides for an hour. As a result, he's lost 5 pounds and he's getting a good education while watching the kid. And I say, good for him. Notice I don't say, let me get my street bike up on my trainer and join you! Nope, I put on an episode of West Wing and sit on the couch upstairs, frequently with a dessert of some sort. I shall continue to use the "I just had a kid" excuse to justify my extra pudge. And when o sleeps through the night, I'll consider doing something about the guilt.
Did anyone shop of Thanksgiving? If so, a pox on you. Retail stores are only closed 2 days a year. Thanksgiving and Christmas. Those folks get 2 days that they are guaranteed they can spend with their family. Now they're down to one. And that sucks. Because even if the college kid behind the counter doesn't mind the double time to work and get away from his family? The manager in the back wishes he was home sitting on his couch watching the game. Or eating pie with her family. And really, retailers don't need to empty our pockets 264 days a year. They can settle for 263.
Ok, off to hum Christmas carols and annoy the neighbors in cubeville. I love my job. Have a good week, all.
ps- Mentos really are the freshmaker.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Because I don't need words to say how thankful I am for my boys:

ps- but yesterday I was thankful that it wasn't me sitting in the "parent teacher conference" for how LG acts at school. For the moment, he's one of the victims, not the perpetrator...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Random Tuesday Thanks!

I'm all over it today. It's Random Tuesday Thanks, with a Spin. Brought to you by The Un-Mom, and Sprite's Keeper. Damn, now everybody's watching, I'd better make this good, huh?

First, thanks to everybody who commented yesterday. I was waiting to get blasted for the religious lean of the post, but everyone seemed to get the spirit of it. Whew.

Also, thanks to Island Roar and The Crazy Coxes for bestowing upon me wonderful awards. I promise to pass those on next week, when things slow down a bit over here.

Now, to make this random and thankish. A small list of things I'm thankful for- in no particular order:

- I found waffles that will appease LG. In the healthy section of the store (yeah, didn't think to look their earlier- no surprise, huh?)

- The skunk seems to have waddled to fairer territory. Thank god. After I paid a guy $90 to set a trap that caught nothing. Whatever.

-My health. All you hear these days is about the illnesses you could get. Eeek.

-Having a job and being able to pay my bills. Especially this year. I'm thankful to be one of the people putting cans into the donation box, instead of needing things from it.

- Being a US citizen. Because no matter who is in office, we are a free nation. I thought about this the other day as I read a post on a site of a friend who (I assume from a link on her blog) is born again Christian. And I had followed a link from a friend who is Jewish to get to her. In many other countries around the world, this would never happen. Here, we can all blog together and understand that even though we don't come from the same place, we're all heading in a common direction.

-Being able to read and write.

-Having an opportunity every now and then to stop and smell the roses. There was a time when I was so stressed just keeping my act together that I couldn't do this. But not anymore.

-Getting to watch the sunrise while I rock o in the morning. Yeah, it sucks being up at that hour, but the view is spectacular (and the snuggles ain't half bad, either).

-On-line shopping. Because I'm in a much better holiday mood having skipped the mall this year.

-Having "met" some great friends this year through this blog. You guys are a great treat. Thanks for visiting and listening to me babble.

Ok, that's my random list. You will notice some things missing. Because I have a week to fill here, people. With imagination, we'll get there.

Now, go get some water and get on with your day.

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Week of Thanks

Sprite's Keeper is hosting "A week of thanks". I think I'll play along.

We'll start off slow. It's Monday, after all.

I learned a lesson in church a few months ago. And it was no small lesson to be learning this late in life. The priest was talking about "how" we pray. Not the logistics of it, necessarily. He wasn't telling us to say the Lord's Prayer first, or to kneel. It was more the spirit of prayer.

He pointed out that some people only pray when then need something. "Please God, help me..." or "Please God, I really need..."

Some people bargain with God. "If you ..., I'll ..."

Some people apologize to God, "Tomorrow I'll do better"

But other than saying grace, rarely do people take the time to thank God. Not only for the big stuff, but all the little stuff we come across in our day.

This really hit home, because he was right. Even though I don't usually ask for things for myself, I do ask for the health and happiness of the people around me. And I don't spend enough time thinking about all the wonderful things I get to be part of each day. Or thanking God for letting me be part of those things.

Even if you don't pray to a higher being, it's not a bad lesson to learn. At the end of the day, instead of thinking of all the things you don't have, or all of the things you want, think of all of the things you already have. Think of all of the little blessings that have been sent your way. Even if all you have to be thankful for is living another day. Many people don't get that.

For my first day of the week of thanks, I'd like to say thanks to Father Tim. For reminding me that everyday is Thanksgiving.

See you all tomorrow on our next installation of gratitude for the Spin Cycle.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Spin Cycle- My Heroes...

This weeks spin is about heroes. Or, as Sprite's Keeper put it "those whose bravery or heroics have influenced" me. If you want a sample of heroes from other bloggers, go see Sprite's Keeper at the link above.

As for me, I shall assume my position upon my soap box (stop cringing, PB, you've heard this all before).

To me, heroes are not people who sign up for traditional heroic jobs. Policemen, firemen, soldiers. Yes, I'm thankful that they do their job, but I'm also thankful that my broker does his job. The point being, it's their job. They signed up for it. The people who consider these people to be heroes simply for their job really kind of tick me off.

For instance, the police and firemen who assisted in the 9/11 attacks. Not my heroes. Going into that building was their job. Do I feel bad for the ones who fell that day? Yes, but no more so than for all the innocent people who went to work that day and died in the wreckage. Maybe more so for the others. Firemen go to work each day knowing they might die. Secretaries and accountants don't. They didn't sign up for that krappe. It just happened to them. So, you'll excuse me if I didn't put a single cent into the "widows and children's" fund for the fallen officers. Those women and kids made millions. It was shameful. Nobody talked about the IT guy who didn't go home that night. What happened to his kids? I saw very few fundraisers for them. Nobody interviewed their wives over the loss. The people who helped the others down the stairs that day? They're my heroes. The three guys who caused a plane to crash in Pennsylvania instead of some large city? They're my heroes.

And the people over in Iraq right now? Keep in mind that they signed up for that a long time ago. And before there was a war they got paid a regular check to show up one weekend a month and two weeks a year to do some training. This is what they got paid all those years for. Am I glad and thankful that they were willing to go? Yes. Are they heroes? No.

But by now you're thinking, "Ok, you ungrateful wench, who are your heroes?". I'll tell you.

My heroes are the people who get up every day and make it happen. People like my friend Janice. Janice has been quite ill since the first day I met her. Almost 8 years ago. She's had more surgeries than I have fingers. She has been told multiple times that she has less than a year to live. But she gets up each day and goes to work. She sends us all funny e-mail. She's a shoulder to cry on if something bad happens, and the first to congratulate when something good happens. You'd never know she's ill. She's my hero.

My friend Mrs. M is my hero. I was friends with her son during high school. For years, she struggled to make ends meet to support two boys on a teacher's salary while her alcoholic husband roamed the country trying to "find" himself. She wore two pairs of stockings, each with one leg cut off, when they got a run- to save money. She went to church each Sunday, and put money in the collection. She baked pies for fund raisers, and volunteered her "free" time organizing her church's "Junk for Jesus" sale. When my Mom was horribly ill, she was there for me. I ate dinner at her house more than my own. She came to my sports games, and in my freshman year of college she came to parents weekend. Because my own parents couldn't. She shared everything she possibly could with those around her. She taught me strength and caring in a way no one else could have. She's my hero.

And there are lots of others. People leading every day lives that smile in the face of adversity. Those are heroes.

And I have other heroes that are more general. Here's a short list:

-The guy in line who's in a hurry but let's the pregnant lady, or the lady with two crying kids go first to help her out.

- The moms and dads who sit on the side line silently saying "You can do it" to their kid, instead of yelling at the coach. The ones who say after their kid loses, "What can you do next time to make it better?", instead of saying, "The ref made bad calls." As Jan from the Sushi bar said, the parents who teach their kids that in real life, not every one gets a medal.

-The teacher who calls me just to say that my kid is doing really well, and she enjoys having him around.

- My friends who say, "Is it a kid friendly place?" when they consider where to go for a group dinner.

"Courage is not limited to the battlefield, or the Indianapolis 500 or bravely catching a thief in your house. The real tests of courage are much quieter. They are the inner tests, like remaining faithful when nobody is looking, like enduring pain when the room is empty, like standing alone when you're misunderstood" Charles Swindoll

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Random Tuesday Thoughts- Can you smell that smell?

It's Tuesday. Time to put on your random cap and join us in the land of thoughts that can't be organized (it's like a bad hair day for your brain). Read on, then follow the link above to Keely's world.
Those of you who recognize the song in the title bar are my friends. The rest of you, go home. No, no, stay. PB made me feel old for knowing a Lynard Skynard song, though. I'm resentful. We'll get over it, though, and tell you what it means. We have a stripey friend visiting us at the moment. The stinky kind. We think he's under the porch. Mind you, we spent all day Sunday looking for the source of "the smell". From inside it smells kind of like an electrical fire (that burning rubber smell). We were a little worried. When my in-laws showed up to help, though, they immediately knew what it was (stop laughing- yes, we do always call my MIL and FIL when we're in trouble. It's what kids do!) We thought of sending LG out to the porch to toddle around in his not so quiet way and scare the little guy off. Then we realized what would happen if LG caught sight of the new friend. "Kitty!" Yeah, bad idea. Anyone who has suggestion for kindly making the new inhabitant move on, please share.

If you want more news about the waffle shortage, here's the ABC story on it... It's really quite traumatic.

I finally snapped a picture of o smiling. I imagine it must require a lot of facial muscle strength to get those chubby cheeks to move! Yup, he's definitely smuggling marshmallows in his cheeks in this one.

And LG was tapping into his inner redneck this weekend.

Sporting just his onsie and his John Deere hat, he was ready for the Monster Truck rally. I gave up putting his pants and shirt back on after the 3rd try. It's going to be a long winter, I'm afraid.

I keep reading in other people's blogs the "Google" search terms that lead people to their blog. It's kind of scary stuff. But it makes me wonder how people google onto my site. Anyone who can share the secret to finding out your google hits, please share.

PB and I had an interesting debate the other day. It was the evening that Oprah interviewed the woman who had her face mauled by the chimpanzee. PB doesn't think this woman needs a face transplant. If surgery can help her eat and breathe, he thinks a transplant would be cosmetic surgery. I don't agree. I think she needs it to resume a semblance of a normal life. It's like a kidney transplant. You could live on dialysis with bad kidneys for a long time. But with a transplant you resume some semblance of a normal life. Same thing with a new face.

Anyhow, time go get back to the grindstone. Have a good one folks!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Traveling Thursday: Green Lakes State Park

Hmmm, this feels weird. I'm posting on Thursday. But I was over visiting Pseudo, and it's Traveling Thursday over there. As I was looking at some beautiful pictures of Hawaii (are there ugly ones?), a thought occurred to me. When you think of beautiful places, my home state does not come to mind. It is one of the most beautiful places I've ever been and had the privilege to live. However, the beautiful countryside is overshadowed by a culturally diverse, hopping city. Yup, nobody ever thinks of the mountains or the lakes when you say New York. They think of the big apple in the south (and, ironically, not why they call it the big apple...)

Anyway, I want to share my favorite NY State Park with you guys. Just a little sample of the wonders of upstate NY.

I'm not sure what you call this purple stuff, but it is all over the park. It doesn't really have a smell, but in late July it is this beautiful purple.
Like most of the state parks in NY, there are tons of walking paths that bring you out into the woods. Most are just dirt paths through trees. This one has a fence to keep the peoples from slipping down into nothingness to the lake.

Because the lake formed above an underground glacier, the water is this amazing color green. Not brown and muddy, not green with algae. Think Coke bottle green. Almost as though it were the ocean in New England. It's also cold as the Artic, though.

When PB and I were last at Green Lakes we took a short hike after dinner. Above my head I heard a clicking noise, only to look up and see two large owls about 7 feet away. Do you have any idea how big owls are? HUGE! Seriously, the one clicking looked like he was contemplating me for dinner. I would love to say something about how you should visit a state park in NY the next time you're over this way. I'm not naive enough to think people will, though. Because, let's face it, if you come all the way to NY, you're going to the city. For a show, or food. Or just to see the craziness that is NYC. And I don't blame you. Hopefully, though, I've shown you the other side to NY. The side the grows apples, and has some of the best skiing mountains around. The side that makes up 85% of the land of NY and less than half the population. My NY.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Spin Cycle- Free Spin

So, in this weeks spin cycle I have to tell a story. I promised Maureen, and will finally come through for her. When you're through laughing at my family's craziness, go see Sprite's Keeper and find out what other spinners are doing in their free time...
Maureen inspired this memory by talking about a time when she was younger when she used a picture of herself as a child to tell people she had a new younger sibling. It didn't last long, and she had to fess up eventually. If you want to read the actual story, go visit Maureen. She tells it way better...
Onward, though. Marueen made a long story short. I'm going to make a short story long.
I should start by setting the stage a bit. My brother is 4 years older than I am. We grew up in the 70's in a small town in upstate NY. There was nothing progressive about us, or our environment. We went to a small school, with the children from about 6 other towns. My parents had very little contact with my brother's teachers. They went to a parent teacher conference twice a year, and that was about it. My brother walked to the bus stop by himself, and walked home again. No dropping off at the classroom door for our generation. Most communication between the teacher and the parent happened by note, or if the situation warrented by phone call (gasp). I tell you all of this because in today's society, my brother would have never gotten away with this at all.
During one of the first days in kindergarten, my brother F was asked to draw a picture of his family. He drew a Dad, and a Mom, two boys and a baby. Those of you that know me already see the problem. For those who don't: read on. From here on out, the teacher assumed we were a family of five. When asked about his siblings, F told the teacher about his little brother Tom, and his new baby sister, MB (me). The teacher thought nothing of it. And the school year progressed this way. When prompted, F would answer questions about his family in the same way- all 5 of us.
Then came the aforementioned parent teacher conference. You know, the one where the teacher gives the parent all the great artwork the kid has done for the past 3 or so months. Yeah, and my Mom got a picture with 3 kids. One of whom she knew nothing about.
You see, Tom was a complete fabrication. He never existed. My brother had managed to pull the wool over this teachers eyes for months. Think about it, a lot of the 70's kindergarten curriculum was focused on the people in your life, so Tom came up quite a bit. My mom suggested maybe he was an imaginary friend. The teacher insisted, no, F said he was a brother. She knew quite a bit about him. What he liked, where he slept. They talked about it a bit, and after deciding that my brother did not have any psychological issues, decided to do nothing about it. No fuss, no seeing a psychologist. Just let it go (yup, it was the 70's- you were still allowed to just be "a little odd" back then).
I'm not sure if the teacher was disappointed or astounded. She simply corrected my brother the next few times Tom came up, and Tom magically disappeared.
And you'd think that's the end, right? Ahhh, no. That would be far too simple. You see, I had this teacher 4 years later for kindergarten. And one day, as my brother met me at my classroom to walk with me to the bus, the teacher asked him if he ever thought about Tom. He smiled. As we walked away, I asked who Tom was. And he responded that Tom was our brother. He had died when I was little. But he cautioned me not to ask my Mom or Dad about him because it would make them really sad. So, I never did. Every once in a while I thought about how nice it would have been to have another brother. And I did wonder how he died (lest it happen to me...) On occasion my brother would hint that it had something to do with something my Mom did or didn't do, but he would never get specific.
I can't tell you how many years I thought this was true. Then one day I wised up. There were no pictures of Tom, no memories what so ever. Even the most distraught of grieving parents keeps something. A relative or friend slips up. Nothing. I was probably about 8 when I finally asked my Mom. And she laughed so hard I'm pretty sure coffee came out her nose. F had duped someone else. That was the end of Tom, though. The only times he was ever mentioned again was when my Mom wanted to threaten us. She would tell us she'd do to us what she did to Tom.
And now you can sit and ponder how I ended up even remotely normal, coming from this.
Have a good week, all. MB

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Random Tuesday Thoughts- I'm baaaack...

Yes, people, it is Tuesday. The day when our thoughts turn to all things random. And we visit with the Un-Mom (who unlike your real Mom will not mention the state of your house, or how well your sister is doing). Read on, and then click on the nice picture above to get on with the visit (and bring some coffee and donuts for your visit. I hear she likes that). Oh, yeah. I'm back at work, so I can make the links work again. Woo hoo.
Firstly, is anyone else experiencing the great waffle shortage of 2009? LG is a big waffle fan. Specifically, he likes the mini waffles. But every time I go to the market to buy them, they are out. For weeks now, they have been out. There is a sign on the freezer case saying that the Kellogg's people are having some Eggo issues, but they are working to clear up the problem. Really? A waffle shortage? This is absurd. Fix the problem people. My kid is getting bored of french toast sticks!
Have you ever noticed that the things your kid likes most are the ones that annoy the living hell out of you? For instance, that song that Rosie O'Donell and Elmo sing together? Makes me cringe, but makes LG dance with glee. Grrrr.
Speaking of Elmo, Happy 40th to Sesame Street. Sesame Street was first broadcast the year before my brother was born (sorry Uncle F, didn't mean to give away your age...). Which really makes us first generation viewers. Back in the day when there was no Elmo, and Mr. Hooper still ran the store. Many a good hour was spent learning to count with the Count, and doing "the pigeon". Props to them for making it 40 years on TV. And still one of the most popular shows out there.
What the hell has happened to our national psyche? I can remember not ten years ago, when people realized they were a few pounds overweight, they joined Weight Watchers, cut back on the Twinkies and Yahoo and sighed about it. They realized that the problem was them. We all felt sorry for them, and didn't eat our cookies in front of them.
Now? Not so much. Obesity is an "epidemic" now. Which really makes it sound like a disease. Something you couldn't avoid with a little excersize and fewer McDonald's visits. Don't beat me, I realize for some folks it is caused by a real life medical condition. But let's be honest, those people are few and far between. And stop calling your overweight condition hereditary. Your propensity to gain weight might come from your Mom's side, but your Aunt Sally isn't stuffing cream puffs down your throat. Stop blaming ad campaigns, too. It's not Krispy Kreme's fault that their de-lish donuts have gone from a Friday morning office treat to an everyday habit for you.
I think the heart of it lies in the same place that the debt problem does- our mis-conception that we can and should have it all. All the designer clothes we want. All the cheese burgers we want. We shouldn't need to deny ourselves. Nothing is a "treat" anymore. I didn't grow up this way. Most of us didn't. But I'm a little worried my kids will. In recent months, I have had to resist buying LG everything I saw that I thought he would like. When I do buy something, I've tried to put it away for Christmas or his birthday. It is hard, though. The first step is admitting you have a problem, right?
Ahhh, I told Maureen from Island Roar that I would tell a story today and totally forgot. Uhm, next Tuesday. I promise.
Ok, folks, back to work for me. Have a good week, and we'll see you next Tuesday for more Random.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Spin Cycle- I hate to admitt it...

This weeks spin is supposed to be the hidden thing you don't talk about that you hate about being a parent. But you'll have to go see Sprite's Keeper and the other spinners to hear about it. It would be a really bad thing for me to start down that track right now. Not enough sleep. Too many sticky finger prints all over my house. I'm like the Pandora's box for parenting angst at the moment.

I did take o for his first afternoon of daycare today, though. That being so, right now I'm alone. All alone. I ate lunch. Nobody was on my lap. I drank hot tea without worrying about who it might spill on. The TV has the volume on and the captions off. And about every 3 minutes I remember that he's with someone besides me or PB and I want to go get him. For as much as he's a needy 2 months old, he's also cute and cuddly. And he won't be that way forever. Sniff. I'm a wimp.

LG made my night last night, though. Lately, he's only wanted PB at night. If he wakes up and needs attention, only Papa will do. Which isn't fair because he only cuddles at night. But last night was different. I had a dinner event to go to. So the boys were on their own. PB gave everyone a bath, and went through the whole bedtime routine. Apparently, LG kept saying, "Kiss Mama. Kiss Mama." Awww. PB ended up leaving him in his crib wide awake. Which is where I found him 20 minutes later when I got home. And I got an hour of snuggles that made up for all the ones I've missed recently. Woo hoo.

Oh, but I guess I do have one thing I hate about being a parent. Professional relations who refer to me as "Mom". Yeah. Not so much. Last night was a business event. I didn't have to go, but I did to keep my fingers in the proverbial pie. And almost everyone I saw called me "Mommy". Now, technically I'm not back from leave yet, so this is the first time they've seen me since o was born. I would agree that congratulations are in order. But to call me "Mommy" in front of other professionals? Grrrr.

Ok, enough for today. I have a refrigerator to clean and a car to empty of child shrapnel. And then maybe some shoe shopping, who knows. I say it again, one day a mom who's kids are in school is going to take over the world. Right after she gets a pedicure.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Random Tuesday Thoughts!

This will be the last RTT during my o leave. This time next week, I'll be back at work. So, enjoy the last of the garbled wreckage that is my "stay at home" mindset. Then go visit the Un-Mom and see how the random falls.
First, Halloween. Oh, it was fun. LG trick or treated for the first time. He went to 5 or 6 houses, and by the last ones he was saying "Trick or Treat" and "Thank You" to the people at the door. He was a little lion:

While this happened, o hung out with me by the nice bonfire our friends made and handed out some candy.

My favorite part of the night was when two high school age boys showed up to trick or treat. It was a little later in the night, but they were both dressed up (one was in a home made "Max" from "Where the Wild Things Are" costume!) and very polite. They were really excited to see o dressed up as a penguin, which kind of surprised me.

It's my last week home with little o. Sigh. We had just hit a rhythm to our days, and now they'll change again. It'll be good to be back at work, though. As you can see from my blog posts, staying at home all day does nothing good for my thinking. Too much daytime TV for me.

PB and LG have started cooking together. When PB asks if LG wants to help, LG will go into the kitchen and drag a chair up to the counter to get ready. Anytime the whisk comes out, he automatically needs to help. And he's pretty good at it!

Last night they made me the turkey burgers from a recent post. Yummy. And look how happy he is to stick his hands in the icky turkey goo!

So, PB and I listen to CD's very differently. I put the CD into the player in the car, and unless I absolutely hate the song, that's it. I listen to all the songs in order. PB, on the other hand, skips over any song he's not interested in. Which means we listen to the same 5 or 6 songs over and over, or we listen to it for five minutes and then the radio goes on. Argh.

Ahhh, o has woken up (might have to do with the fact the PB just woke LG up, and he's screaming at the top of his lungs. Not a morning person, apparently.)

Have a good week folks.

Friday, October 30, 2009

The world keeps on Spinning...

Happy Halloween! This weeks Spin Cycle is about Halloween. No specifics, just Halloween. Here goes:
Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. Why? Because it gives people an opportunity to do fun stuff. Bring cookies to work, have a party, do something special with your kids. No, we shouldn't "need" an excuse to do those things, but we do. And I like all those things. The cookies, the parties and the fun stuffs. I like seeing how creative people can be, and trying to think of new things to be. Until this year, I decorated the house and all. Woo hoo!

I really like the holidays now that LG is getting older. Here is last year's picture:

I love this picture. He was so happy to put on his costume and crawl around the room. We didn't go out and trick or treat, but he wore it to his parade at school. My little giraffe.

Now this year:

Not the greatest picture (and sideways, to boot), but he still likes getting into the costume. This year, he's a lion. And he roared and stalked around. He even wanted me to put his hands into the mitten paws (yeah, I was amazed, too). Fun stuff. He's excited to go trick or treating. We'll probably only go to a few houses, but it will be fun. o is going to be a penguin.

I think, more than anything, I like what Halloween symbolizes. Maybe it comes from working retail for so many years, but to me Halloween is the beginning of the "holiday" season. I don't mean just Christmas and New Years, but the whole year end holiday season. From here out, we only have a few weeks between big holidays. Days off from work and school, eating too many treats, going to parties. I just love this time of year. I like all of these holidays. I like baking, and shopping, treats, getting dressed up in clothes you wouldn't wear any other time of the year. The stuff most people hate? Yeah, I love all of that.

One weird question about Halloween, though. How old is too old to trick or treat? When do you go from being happily received at the open doors to skulking around corners with shaving cream and tp? When I was a kid it was 12. Once you were a teenager, you were done. But the last time we had trick or treaters, there were high school kids coming to the door. With real costumes on. Uhm, to me that says get an after school job and go buy your own darn candy. What do you think?

Ok, I'm done. Go see Sprite's Keeper and see all the other spooky posts.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Random Tuesday Thoughts

It's still Tuesday, right? I haven't missed it? Time for some "Random Tuesday Thoughts". Read here, then go see Keely and the other Random players...

Tonight is my "off" night, so I have time to hang out with the laptop. What's an "off" night? That means from midnight to 4:am I am not responsible for children. No monitor, no 2:am bottle. I will put in my earplugs, only to be awoken if there is an emergency (or two kids screaming at once). Ahhh, the off night.

I went to buy new glasses today. LG seems to think my glasses are the holy grail of things to swipe. As a result, they look like I went to war and back in them. And PB reminded me that I haven't had a new set in a while, so off to the "Eye Glass Store" I went. And the whole experience reminded me why I wear contacts. Argh, with the trying to find decent looking frames (and the annoying sales woman who kept steering me to the half frames that make me look geriatric). Then I got to sit with annoying sales woman to decide what kind of lenses to get. I will give her this, she was rather kind when she saw my prescription. The last lady asked when I'd be putting the down payment on the seeing eye dog... At least this woman was honest enough to admit that if I only wear them once in a while, I didn't need the top of the line, Scotchguard lenses (no krappe, they Scotchguard the lenses for an extra $75!). I apparently got off cheap. Only $300 after my 30% discount and mail in rebate. WTF, people. How do people with multiple children in glasses, and glasses themselves do this? This is just wrong.

The mall had the "Santa" area all set up already. It wasn't open yet, but it was there. I suspect that on Sunday, all Christmas hell will break loose. It did look festive, though. Almost had me humming a Christmas carol. I will hold out until black Friday, though.

I realized today that I only have two more weeks home with little o. Then back to work with me. While I think I suck at the whole "stay at home Mom" thing, I will miss spending my days snuggling the little guy. It's a whole new perspective when your biggest goal is to get in a load of laundry and a shower before noontime. Now, I know real stay at home Moms do a heck of a lot more than that, but in my short siesta from the labor market, this is what I do. And I only have two more weeks. Poor o, though. This is really the only time he'll get me all to himself. LG had me for almost two years. o will have to share from now on. Sigh.

Ok, time to go watch the dancing show. Good times. Have a good week folks.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Spin Cycle- Yummy Stuffs

This weeks Spin Cycle is supposed to be to share one of our favorite recipes. I found this one earlier this year, and we really like it. And it's actually pretty timely. So, maybe you won't be having one of those leftover turkey sandwiches where you try to squish everything that was on the table between two pieces of bread this year...

I bring you- The Best Turkey Burger EVER!!!

1 1/2 lbs ground turkey
1 medium sized zucchini grated
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp dried basil

1) Arrange the racks in the oven so that your top rack is about 2 inches from your broiler (this assumes you have a top broiler). Do this before you turn on the broiler, trust me. Get the broiler nice and toasty.

2) In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients. Form into your favorite patty shape.

3) Place them onto a broiler pan and cook them for 6-8 minutes each side (12-16 in total).

These little lovelies are great. Put them on any kind of roll you like, with almost any condiment. Both PB and I warn that you should give them a nibble before you start adding stuff, though. They taste pretty good without anything!

Now, for all those people saying, "My kids would never eat zucchini!"- No worries. They will never know it's in there. I promise. PB had no idea until I told them. The only purpose for having them there is to keep the burgers moist (which they do surprisingly well).

I usually hate a turkey burger. They tend to be dry and tasteless. But not these guys. They are yummy. Even LG eats them without blinking.

Go, try them. And then head over to Sprite's Keeper's place for other yummy things to get you through this winter!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Spin Cycle- A Photo Something or Other...

This week we're supposed to do a photo essay spin. Woo hoo. This I can do. If you want to see more pretty pictures, go to Sprite's Keeper's site and take a gander.

These little lovelies are a scant two weeks old. I now present:

The Prince Picks a Pumpkin... Or Four.

"Why, yes, PB, I do think I'll go for a ride in this nice wagon.""This one will do for Mama. No, thanks, I don't want to get out of the wagon. I'm all good in here. You just go where I point.""And this next one is mine, thanks. Nope, still not getting out."
"This one is Papa's. He needs a big pumpkin. No worries, I'll hang on to it."

"This little one is for that kid Mama's holding. Tell him I gots one for him. No worries."
"Oh, yeah, there he is. Good, you didn't leave him out there. No, no, we wouldn't want that. Not at all.""And now I shall tell the lady behind us in line every thing I know about gourds. And not a word of it will be coherent. But she thinks I'm cute, so I'll keep talking." "Papa, did you pay the man? Cause we're ready to go now. I gots all the pumpkins I need right here. Slide on up here, o, and lets blow this pop stand."
And that, folks, is why I have a porch full of pumpkins that I will end up carving in the middle of the night, lest someone scream bloody murder...

RIP Captain Lou.

Is it me or are a lot of people dying this year? Or is it just that I'm of an age where my childhood icons are getting to that age? Or that I'm just noticing more?

Whatever the cause, another icon from my childhood has passed away. And this one might mean more to me than all the others combined. Today, Captain Lou Albano died. Don't remember Captain Lou? He was a pro wrestler, then a manager. He also played the Dad in Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" video.

Why do I care? I actually knew Captain Lou. Not knew him to sit and have a beer with him, no. But he went to my church. And he was really friendly. Just like us, he went every Sunday. He always put his hair into a ponytail for church, and stood in the back. He shook hands with the people around him at the appropriate times, and never acted like a celebrity. He was just another parishioner on Sunday. Some Sundays his whole family was there, and he'd hold his little granddaughter. He bought his car from my Dad at the local dealership. He ate at the local diner. Even though most people would recognize him as famous, in our town, Captain Lou was a regular guy. In today's day and age, you have to admire that.

RIP Captain Lou. Hopefully all the WWF followers of yore will take a moment to recognize the passing of a really great guy. As for me, I'm sad I can't drive home for the funereal. I'm sure there will be a long line of cars following the hearse to the cemetery (where he will be buried next to the locals, like my Mom and Dad).

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Random Tuesday Thoughts

Whew, it's Tuesday, and the littlest badger is asleep. During the day. With no one holding him. I know, you don't care, but it's a breakthrough around here. I'm going to join Keely and the gang at RTT, while I can. You should, too.

First, Happy Thanksgiving to all our Canadian friends. Hope you guys are celebrating with whatever it is makes Canadian Thanksgiving all that and more. Uhm, what do Canadians do on Thanksgiving?

I'm almost done with my Christmas shopping. Yeah, weird, I know. For some reason I thought I had to have all my shopping done before o was born. In September. What the hell kind of hormones cause that kind of thinking?

Insert cute picture to distract people from boring blogging:

This is from pumpkin picking last weekend. LG had a good time sitting in the wagon and pointing to pumpkins he wanted to hold. He wasn't as interested in stepping off of his royal throne and actually into the patch.

Fall is just zooming by out here in Ohio. It was in the 90's one day, and then the 50's the next, not joking. Now they're talking about snow. Eeek. Now that I'm not pregnant anymore, I'm wishing for those 90 degree days (when all I could do was wish them away in summer!). Dang it.

Have you noticed that people who hand out in craft stores can be a little weird? I went to the craft shop yesterday to look for something for LG and o to make for their teachers for Christmas. And it was packed. With people who look like they only crawl out of their sewing room for the Columbus day sale at the craft shop. People who stand way to close to look at what's in your basket (as though you might be hoarding all the good yarn or something...)

Ok, I'm going to run. Dishes to wash, laundry to do. How is it that having 2 kids causes 3 times the laundry?

Have a great Tuesday. Insert another cute picture to make it worth your while to have stopped by:

Friday, October 9, 2009

A Crafty Spin!

It's Friday. One rug rat is hanging out with our house guest, and the other is shopping with PB. So I can spin. Oh, wait. Hmmmm. Yeah, I'll spin. Go see Jen if you need real spin's, though...

This weeks spin is supposed to be about crafts. Uhm, yeah. So, I'm not so crafty. Or, rather, I am. I just have no follow through. I have closets full of half finished crochet and knitting projects, painting kits, stamping sets and more colored pencils, crayons and markers than I wish to share. I get the bug to do something, then I get busy, set it aside and it ends up in said closet. It's really rather sad. And I can't blame it on my kids. I've always been this way.

On the other hand, PB is a man to follow through. He has painted both of LG's rooms. I don't have a picture of the most recent room, but here's a picture of the nursery (now o's room).

I decorated, but PB painted the tree on the wall. And in the new room, he painted a really cool airplane and clouds on a bright blue wall (I'll try to get one for the next spin). Again, I decorate, but the hard part is all him. I'm really an ideas person.

Now, we have other crafty people in our lives. For instance, Grammie is the master knitter.

o's blanket is the grey and white and LG's is light blue and dark blue. And these take her about a week to make. And when they snag in the wash or on a toy? She comes and fixes them. I've actually had people try to buy them off of me. Crazy. But we love them. I've been the beneficiary of a few beautiful sweaters, too. She's just an amazingly talented lady. It must run in the family.

I've also surrounded myself with people who can sew (I can do hems, but we leave it at that), people who take pictures, and all sorts of other crafty stuff. While I don't get it done, I do like to be around people who do!

And that's about it. I got nothing. I just married into talent, thank god. Have a good weekend, see you on the next spin!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Spin Cycle- Tradition

It's like a merry go round of fun and excitement. Reach for the gold ring, then go see Jen, over at Sprite's Keeper (where most people probably got their spin's in on time...)

Ok, I'm late again. I know. It's been a busy week. But I have to spin. Why? Because all week this song has been going through my head, from Fiddler on the Roof. Why is it that so many spins end up with me having a random song in my head???

"Tradition" was the subject of a late night conversation last week. Christmas tradition, to be specific. Because it feels as though it's right around the corner. As would be expected, PB and I were raised with different Christmas traditions. Everybody does it different, right? But now we have to decide who's to pick for LG and o. Because they can't really be integrated.

We're not talking about dinner, or church or any of that stuff. We're talking about the man in red. The flying UPS man. Santa.

PB was raised in what I've assumed to be the most popular way for "Christians" these days. Let the little ones believe in Santa until a reasonable age, or some older kid ruins it for them. I'm pretty sure his parents weren't those overboard types who did foot prints on the roof, or carrots for the reindeer (but I can't be sure). They still went to church, everybody knew it was Jesus birthday and all that, but to them Santa was real. And he brought toys. If I'm understanding my MIL right, it was only toys. Everything else came from Mom and Dad. Sounds reasonable, right?

Here's the catch: we were never brought up to believe Santa was real. Not at any given moment did I think Santa was any different from Frosty the Snowman, or the Grinch. A fun Christmas story, and that's all. I knew all about him, but was not taught that he was real today, flying around giving out presents. Presents came from Mom and Dad, and relatives, to celebrate Jesus birthday. And you'd better believe that we had to go to church and thank Jesus for letting us share his loot before we could touch so much as a stocking sitting under that tree. Don't get me wrong, we made out like bandits. All the traditional bikes, and candies. But we thanked God and Mom and Dad. Not some mythical dude with flying herbivores. ( I should mention here that we were instructed NOT to speak of Santa to other kids. My parents did not want us ruining the neighbors Christmas traditions.)

So, the crux of the problem- to Santa or not to Santa? I would vote no. I don't even like Santa statues. I don't like cards with Santa. For me, he blurs the message. And it feels like I'm lying to my kids. To PB, it feels like he's stealing a little bit of their childhood by not letting them have the Santa myth for a while. And I can see his point. Part of childhood is believing in things that don't exist. Like fairies, and trolls, and honest politicians.

But to me, Santa is a tradition for the want to be Christians. The people who don't go to church, and don't really celebrate, but need something to allow them to buy presents and put up a tree. And I'm ok with that. They can have Santa and the Easter Bunny, too. Everyone should have a reason to give at the holidays.

And so we sat at 2:am, discussing the pros and cons of the situation. At times like these, I wish we were Jewish. Don't see the little Jewish kids hoping Hanukkah Harry will leave them extra geld for playing dreydl with, do you? (I might add that this was one of my favorite times of the year to visit our Jewish relatives. No Christian game holds a match to dreydl. Lions and the Romans aside.)

In the end, we resolved nothing. We're pretty sure LG and o are still both going to be too young to care this year. Which gives us another year to decide, I guess.

Throw your thoughts at me. What's your take?

And then have a great week. We'll see you next week, when the spin will be about arts and crafts. And I might be on time since we have an auntie visiting for the week to help out. Woo hoo.