Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Dinner Par-Tay!

Tonight's dinner event was a fantastic success, some of the best food I've ever prepared, some of the most fun I've had in quite a while:-)
To recap, I made:
A brined and butterflied turkey, baked at a high temp on a bed of homemade challah bread stuffing: the turkey was moist and flavorful, the stuffing hands down the BEST I've ever put in my mouth.
Praline sweet potatoes (of which I made waaaaay too many. There'll be leftovers for manymany days to come)
Kobucha squash (a bit overkill in the squash department, but it was a savory complement to the sweeter stuff)
Mashed potatoes and gravy: the gravy was *delectable*. Honestly, it was tasty enough to eat plain with a spoon, which was good considering it took about 3 hours to make.
Roasted brussell sprouts with brown butter and hazelnuts: excellent, truly. And well worth the hour I took to crack 80 gazillion hazelnuts 'cause no store in boonieland had shelled hazelnuts. Ow! My poor, sore crackin' hand:-(
Toasted rolls
Homemade cranberry orange sauce
I made the other cookies, too, that I listed previously, but man! What a waste of time and valuable cream cheese... the cocoa nut (?) and phyllo cookies were just plain gross, flavorless, nasty. The date nut balls more than made up for the yuckkiness, but what to do with all the other cookies??? (can chickens eat chocolate? I guess we're about to find out...maybe it'll inspire the little leakers to give me more than an egg every few days, those naughty girls.) I also made waaaay too many of those maple nut cups, hope the ladies at work are hungry tomorrow...
And to top it off, I made the bittersweet chocolate roulade cake, which was okay. Perhaps a little too much on the *bitter*sweet side, and very, very rich. Gorgeous, tho, and a lovely presentation.

It frightens me how well I can cook.
Yesterday, I baked from 10 am to just about 10 pm, sometimes prepping 3-4 dishes at the same time. I was cool as a cucumber, incredibly focused as I switched from one dish to the next, all the ingredients lined up, all the tools in order, the recipes on all the counters around me. I felt a bit like a conductor in the midst of my concoctions, tweaking flavors, enhancing this, blending that, putting it all together into a fantastic medley that was really incredible today, better than I could have ever imagined (altho with almost 20 hours of prep work and cooking, what else could it have been?).
Good, good stuff!
Note to self: the Heath dinnerware was handy, so so glad I was able to pick up about $3000 worth of it for $50 at the local resale shop, yippie yahooey! The serving pieces were perfect for all the side dishes, and we had more than enough place settings. We just need to pick up some glassware, pretty napkins, and more stemware, a few items I noticed we were lacking as Jake was pulling out the McDonald's commemorative Disney glasses (ack! My dirty little secret... those suckers NEVER break, and as such are some of the only glasses we own right now).

And finally, for all the work and effort, it was the most fun ever to have people over, having folks talking, eating, having a good time. Jacob was kindof frazzled to have to entertain little kids, but it's good for him, a bit like the little brothers I didn't provide for him;-)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

33 Miles:

I've fallen off the "Fat Flush" wagon in a major way today, making (and eating) cookies, scarfing on Triscuits.. (I <3<3 me some munchy crunchy triscuits!)

And after that admission, be both entranced and horrified at my new favorite spin class song:
"Up 2-3-4, Back 2-3-4, Sit 2-3-4..." over and over and over again, wheeeee! I could do it all dang day~



On a whole 'nother note, I made the date nut balls (recipe below) yesterday, and I have to tell ya, they're AMAZING! Kindof like the center of a 1000 Grand Bar, wrapped in coconut instead of chocolate. Yum like times a million... you can really taste the butter and richness of the dates, the vanilla, and the airy crunch of the Krispies, sooooooooo good!
I also made the "Chicken Kick" recipe (below), but skimped to make it a whole lot more time friendly: I couldn't find Andoullie sausage in these parts, so I bought some artichoke/mozzarella sausages instead and some jarred Bertolli Alfredo sauce, tossing in a chopped tomato at the last minute (vs making the relish). It was one of the few meals that ms. picky puss ate in months and months that she didn't grumble about; so for a brief shining moment, it was if the heavens themselves had parted and all was well with the world (cue hallelujah chorus, i.e. one of the less dim adolescent moments I've had in a while. Now if I could just figure out a way to include Captain Crunch and Alfredo sauce in every meal, it's sure to be bliss 'round here).

Oh, and I got a call tonight 'round about the time little dude's bus was to arrive back at school from skiing. Turns out the little goober went missing and was holding up the WHOLE SHOW. I wasn't sure if I was supposed to be worried or just feign surprise for the lady who called, knowing that Jacob is mr. disappear-o when he doesn't want to stop doing something. Great. Three years ago he got lost on the ski hill when he and another 8 year old buddy somehow ended up on the biggest, baddest run they had (the dreaded Black Diamond, OooooOOoooooooo!). But other than looking a little freaked out, those boys were no worse for the wear. ME, on the other hand, OY! Anyhoo, all my little bugs are getting snug, and since the pellet stove is hooked back up, I'm ready to cozy up myself.

Gar!


Sunday, December 7, 2008

More of My Favorite (Forgotten) Recipes/Teriyaki Chicken Pita, Chicken Kick

Chancery Teriyaki Chicken Pita
4 chicken breast halves (about 5 ounces each), cut in bite-size pieces
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup pea pods, stems removed
1 cup broccoli buds
1/2 cup red bell pepper strips
1 cup cut yellow squash, sliced in half-moon shapes
1 cup cut carrots, cut in very thin julienne strips
1/2 cup teriyaki glaze (see recipe)
8 slices jack cheese (1 ounce each)
4 pieces Greek pita bread
4 large lettuce leaves
4 pickle spears
In large oven-proof skillet, saute chicken pieces in oil. When chicken is almost cooked through, add vegetables and cook an additional 1 to 2 minutes. Vegetables should be bright and firm to the bite. Do not overcook. Add teriyaki glaze to coat vegetables and chicken. Shingle cheese over chicken and vegetables and set under broiler. Broil until cheese is melted, 1 to 2 minutes. Microwave pita bread 10 seconds. Pour vegetable-cheese mixture over pita bread. Fold pita over and secure with decorative pick. Set on large leaf of lettuce and garnish with pickle spear. Serve with french fries, 5-bean salad or pasta salad.
Makes 4 servings.
Teriyaki glaze:
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup plus
2 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of minced fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons dry sherry
1 1/2 tablespoons pineapple juice
2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds
In small, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine soy sauce, sugar, ginger, garlic powder, pepper, sherry and juice. Bring to simmer. Combine water and cornstarch; whisk together. Add to simmering liquid to thicken; continue to simmer 10 minutes. Put small, heavy-bottomed saute pan over medium heat. Add oil and seeds. Toast seeds until lightly browned. Immediately pour seed mixture into thickened teriyaki glaze to stop seeds from overtoasting; mix to combine. Use 1/2 cup with chicken/vegetable mixture. Reserve remaining glaze for another use.
Makes about 2/3 cup.

Chancery Restaurant Chicken Kick
Spicy tomato relish (see recipe)
Alfredo sauce (see recipe)
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cubed
1/4 cup vegetable oil
6 ounces julienne-cut red bell pepper (1 large)
8 ounces cooked andouille sausage (or precooked spicy Polishsausage), sliced on the bias
11 ounces dry penne pasta, cooked
1 tablespoon Poultry Magic (Cajun seasoning blend forblackening)

Prepare spicy tomato relish.
Prepare alfredo sauce and keep warm.
Saute chicken in oil in large, deep skillet. When half done, add red peppers and sausage. Cook over medium heat until chicken is cooked through.
Add Alfredo sauce, cooked pasta and poultry seasoning. Cook, tossing regularly, until mixture comes to a boil, then pour into serving bowl. Garnish with tomato relish.
Makes 4 to 6 servings.
Spicy tomato relish:
1 to 2 fresh jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely diced (or to taste)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 cup finely diced onion
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon Lawry's seasoning salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup diced fresh plum tomatoes cut into 1/4-inch pieces
Juice from half a lime
Combine all ingredients in bowl. Mix well.
Alfredo sauce:
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
3 tablespoons chicken base
3 cups whipping cream
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons water
Place garlic powder and chicken base in saucepan. Add cream and heat, stirring occasionally. When hot,add Parmesan, stirring regularly until cheese melts. Add cornstarch that has been dissolved in water andcontinue to cook until sauce thickens enough to coat back of spoon. Remove from heat and keep warm.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Gone in the Morning:


Just heard this song on the local radio station (WBSD, again the coolest radio station around)-- never heard it before, and what o what could it be??
Well, how great is it that I have this nifty application on my iPhone that can listen to any song and tell you what it is, and then gives you the option to purchase it via iTunes. So within like 15 seconds I not only knew what the song was, but bought it, watched the YouTube video, and then looked up the hilarious lyrics and laughed and laughed ("I'm gonna live inside a tiny zoo"???? Bwahahahaaaaaa!).

Lovelovelove my iPhone, glad to see that all the things I thought should have been invented eons ago finally exist.

One last thing:

I think I finally have my St Nick dinner menu planned. I'd like to make:

**Turkey a la Cooks Illustrated, roasted at a high temperature (with the breastbone removed, the turkey pounded somewhat flat, placed on a slotted rack over a tray of homemade challa bread and sausage stuffing)

*Praline sweet potatoes (more like a dessert than anything, but oh sooo goooood)

Oven roasted kobucha squash

**Toasted hazelnut and brown butter green beans or brussels sprouts

Mashed potatoes (yuk! but the kids like 'em...) (can you tell I've been reading Cooks Illustrated? Can't wait to try these):

Boil 2 # scrubbed russett or yukon gold potatoes in pan filled with water, covering the potatoes one inch. Bring to boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium low and simmer until potatoes are just tender, about 20 to 30 minutes. Drain. Set food mill over warm pan. Spear potato with dinner fork, and then peel back skin with a paring knife. Working in batches, cut peeled potatoes into rough chunks and process with food mill into pan. Str in 8 tb of butter, melted, 1 cup warmed half and half, and 1 1/2 tsp salt. Add pepper to taste.

*Gravy

**Baked Brie with cranberries

*With an assortment of cookies and a dark chocolate roulade cake for dessert.

Turkey???? You might be asking yourself... but since we don't host Thanksgiving, we don't get any leftovers, and thusly we were all left craving turkey and the subsequent Wild Rice and Turkey soup that's sure to follow (see post below for recipe) this year. So a fabulous brined and roasted turkey it will be!

*these can all be made in advance, **these can all be prepped in advance

Christmas Sweets/Date Nut Balls, Roulade Cake:

Date Nut Balls (can be made ahead and stored)
Makes about 6 to 7 dozen

1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1 ½ cups sugar
2 cups finely chopped dates
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, well beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped nuts
4 cups crispy rice cereal
Sweetened shredded coconut (about 3 cups)

In medium pan, melt butter and sugar. Add dates and cook until mixture boils. Remove from heat. Whisk eggs into milk and stir into hot mixture with salt. Return to heat and boil 2 minutes. Remove from heat, add vanilla and nuts (tester used pecans). Cool completely, then stir in cereal, mixing until well coated. Shape into 1-inch balls, then roll in coconut.

What I'll be making for St Nick dessert:
Bittersweet Chocolate Roulade (from Cooks Illustrated): (make day before)

6 oz bittersweet (semisweet) chocolate, chopped fine
2 tb cold unsalted butter, cut into 2 pieces
2 tb cold water
1/4cup dutch process cocoa, sifted, plus extra for unmolding
1/4 cup unbleached, all purpose flour, plus more for baking sheet
1/8 tsp salt
6 large eggs, separated
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp cream of tartar

Adjust rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray 12 by 17.5 inch rimmed baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray, cover bottom with parchment paper, and spray parchment with nonstick spray; dust surface with flour and tap out excess.

Bring 2 inches of water to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat. Combine chocolate, butter, and water in small heatproof bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Set bowl over pan, reduce heat to medium low, and heat until bitter is almost completely melted and chocolate pieces are glossy, have lost definition, and are fully melted around edges, about 15 minutes. Do not stir or let water boil under chocolate. Remove bowl from pan, unwrap, and stir until smooth and glossy. While chocolate is melting, sift 1/4 cup cocoa, flour, and sat together into small bowl and set aside.

In bowl of standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat yolks at medium high speed until just combined, about 15 seconds. With mixer running, add half of sugar. Continue to beat, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary until yolks are pale yellow and mixture falls in thick ribbon when whisk is lifted, about 8 minutes. Add vanilla and beat to combine, scraping bowl once, bout 30 seconds. Turn mixture into medium bowl; wash mixer bowl and whisk attachment and dry.

In clean bowl with clean whisk attachment, beat whites and cream of tartar at medium speed until foamy, about 30 seconds. With mixer running, add about 1 tsp sugar; continue beating until soft peaks form, about 40 seconds. Gradually add remaining sugar and beat until whites are supple and glossy and hold stiff peaks when whisk is lifted, about 1 minute longer. Do not over beat. While whites are beating, stir chocolate mixture into yolks. With rubber spatula, stir 1/4 of whites into chocolate mixture to lighten it; fold in remaining whites until almost no streaks remain. Sprinkle dry ingredients over top and fold in quickly but gently

Pour batter into prepared pan; using an offset icing spatula and working quickly, even surface and smooth batter into corners of pan. Bake until center of cake springs back when touched with a finger, 8-10 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking. Cool in pan on wire rack for 5 minutes.

While the cake is cooling, lay clean kitchen towel over work surface and sift remaining tablespoon cocoa powder over towel; with hands, rub cocoa towel. Run paring knife around perimeter of baking sheet to loosen cake. Invert cake onto towel and peel off parchment.

Roll cake, towel and all, into jelly roll shape. Cool for 15 minutes, then unroll cake and towel. Using offset spatula, immediately spread filling over surface of cake, almost to edges. Roll up cake snugly. Set large sheet pf parchment paper on overturned rimmed baking sheet and set cake seam side down on top. Trim both edges on diagonal; spread ganache over roulade with small icing spatula. Use fork to make wood grain striations on surface of ganache before it sets. Refrigerate baking sheet with cake to set icing, about 20 minutes.

Filling:
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tsp finely ground espresso beans
6 tb confectioner's sugar
16.5 oz mascarpone (or cream) cheese

Bring cream to simmer i small pan over high heat. Off heat, stir in espresso and powdered sugar; cool slightly.
Beat mascarpone cheese and cooled cream until fluffy. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Dark Chocolate Ganache:
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 tb unsalted butter
6 oz chopped bittersweet chocolate
1 tb cognac (optional)

Microwave cream and butter in measuring cup in high until bubbling, about 90 seconds. Place chocolate in heatproof bowl (or bowl of food processor fitted with steel blade). Pour hot cream mix over chocolate and sit of a minute, then mix until well incorporated (or pour hot cream thru feed tube and process about 3 minutes). Cool at room temp about an hour until spreadable.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Holiday Food that Rocks/Praline Sweet potatoes, Maple Phyllo Dessert Cups, Wild Turkey Soup, Baked Brie:

Tried and true holiday food that will make your eyes roll heavenward in fits of ecstasy, but your booty more -licious than you might prefer:

Praline Sweet Potatoes
6 cups baked, mashed sweet potatoes (I mash 'em in the mixer, lazy girl style!)
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 tb pumpkin pie spice (or equivalent)
1 tb grated ginger (we likes the ginger!)
4 eggs
1 cup heavy cream

1 stick butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups chopped pecans

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In a mixing bowl, combine the sweet potatoes, syrup, vanilla extract, spices, eggs and cream. Whip until light and fluffy, and spread evenly in buttered casserole dish.
Prepare the topping by combining the butter, brown sugar, flour and pecans (I used the food processor and pulsed until crumbly). Sprinkle over sweet potato mixture.
Bake for at least an hour in the preheated oven, maybe longer, until casserole is puffy in the middle and pecans are toasted.
Eat until the point of sickness like a little piggy.

Maple Phyllo Dessert Cups
two, 8 oz packages of cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup (real) maple syrup (preferrably from your own maple trees, he he. Martha ain't got nothing on this girl!)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp maple extract
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

40+ phyllo prebaked phyllo shells

1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup pecans, toasted and finely chopped

DIRECTIONS:
Blend first four ingredients together until well mixed. With balloon whip attachment, slowly drizzle in 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream until fluffy (3-5 minutes or so). Place mix into pastry bag fitted with star tip, and pipe into phyllo shells. Chill at least 3 hours. Drizzle each cup with remaining 1/4 cup maple syrup (1/4 tsp or so for each) and top with the pecans shortly before serving (any leftover mix is pretty fan-freaking-tastic on plain bagels the next day, mmmmm~).

Someone made a Baked Brie with Orange Cranberry Sauce for our work party yesterday, it was AMAZING. I'll try to weasel the recipe somehow and post it when I can:
(Updated ACTUAL recipe follows... I was close:)

1/2 package Puff Pastry Sheets
1 egg
1 tablespoon water
1/2 cup +/- cooled cranberry sauce (recipe follows)
1 (13.2 ounce) round Brie cheese, rind intact

DIRECTIONS
Thaw pastry sheet at room temperature 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Mix egg and water.
Unfold pastry sheet on lightly floured surface. Roll into 14 inch square. Cut off corners to make a circle. Spread preserves to within 1 inch of pastry edge. Sprinkle cranberries and almonds over preserves. Top with cheese. Brush edge of circle with egg mixture. Fold two opposite sides over cheese. Trim remaining two sides to 2 inch from edge of cheese. Fold these two sides onto the round. Press edges to seal. Place seam-side down on baking sheet. Decorate top with pastry scraps if desired. Brush with egg mixture.
Bake 20 minutes or until golden. Let stand 30 minutes to allow cheese to set. Serve with crackers, or a fork, whatev. I was craving this the whole dang week after I had it.

Cranberry Sauce (modified from Cooks Illustrated)
3/4 cup orange juice (or water)
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tb grated orange zest

1 bag fresh or thawed frozen cranberries (12 ounces)

In a medium saucepan, combine first 4 ingredients; bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves.
Add cranberries and continue simmering until cranberries pop and mixture has thickened; about 5 minutes.
Off heat, stir in 2 tb orange liqueur (Grand Marnier or Triple Sec)

After Thanksgiving Soup:
(best when prepared with Jake's wild turkey, but he didn't get one this year, bummer)
Place turkey carcass (as much of it as you can fit) into a large crock pot. Cover with water and a splash of apple cider vinegar (leaving room at top to boil), and heat on high until mix starts to boil. Turn on low, and forget about it for a while (or overnight).
Strain the broth, picking out all the decent meat off the bones, and save for the soup.
*The vinegar removes a lot of minerals from the bones, making the broth super rich and the bones really soft. I feed the softest, mushiest ones to the dogs for treats.
Cool the broth until the fat is solid and can be removed with a spoon; put fat aside in a bowl.
In large dutch oven/soup kettle, sautee in 1/2 cup of the reserved fat (or butter) until tender but crisp:
1 medium onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, sliced
2 carrots, sliced (+/-, we like a lot of carrots)
2 cups sliced mushrooms (the hen of the woods we find across the street are always nice, but you can use white or baby portabellas, whatever you can forage at the grocery store, lol!)

Reduce heat, and sprinkle in 1/2 cup flour, stirring until bubbly and well mixed. Add broth slowly, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil, and add:
2 cups cooked wild rice
2 cups half and half (or heavy cream, or even whole milk if you prefer. It's all good.)
2 cups cooked, diced turkey
Parsley, pepper, garlic powder, dill, and chicken base to taste
Simmer for 30 minutes.

Jacob wanted me to add this one:

Jacob's "Da Bomb" (don't ask) Peppermint Fudge:
2 bags (11 oz) Ande's Candies chips
2 bags (12 oz) chocolate chips (your choice: milk, chocolate, semisweet, whatever you fancy)
2 14 oz cans sweetened condensed milk
dash salt
1 tsp peppermint extract

Heat the above in a large, heavy pan (we used our largest dutch oven), stirring constantly until melted and well incorporated. Pour into a 9x13 inch pan lined with wax paper. Crush as many peppermint candies as you feel like (up to a cup), and press into top of soft fudge. Cool slightly, and cut into 1 inch squares. Chill.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Floor, part deux:

We're just DAYS away from having a new hardwood floor in the living/dining room, yay! Jake has been working at an insanely industrious clip, getting the particleboard ripped out, the plywood cut and nailed in place, and now is putting the planks in place.... what an amazing guy <3<3<3:-) We've really improved this rinky dink house 100 fold, having gone from particleboard floors, thin, barely insulated walls, and painted (!) countertops and cabinets that were falling off the walls to ceramic tile floors, gorgeous maple cabinets, stone fireplace (that used to have a pressed faux brick face that was ug-a-lee!), and soon, a beautiful honey oak floor. Now if we could only get the basement finished and the master suite done, we could rest easy for ever and for always and maybe FINALLY have people over (naahhhh, we can have people over once the furniture goes back to it's usual spots. I just really stink as a hostess, vacillating somewhere between Martha Stewart and Roseanne).

I would have preferred to put in a maple floor, but the oak was such a good bargain that we could hardly pass it up (almost 1/2 off per box!). And now that it's down, it looks perfect, a nice match for my Heywood Wakefield furniture (which is maple, but the color of the finish matches the floor pretty well, yippie yahooey...) Maybe an endless sea of maple throughout our tiny house would have looked tres monotonous, so the serendipitious bargain may have saved the place from looking goofy (like when my initial choice of countertops, the "black with groovy reflective specks in it" was no longer available...prolly would have given me a seizure or flashback every time I glanced at it).
Tired! More later...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

What's Wrong With This Picture?

This song made me really sad, and I can't articulate exactly why.

Here's a comment from another viewer, which is great, since I'm completely dense and missed all these nuances:
"Maybe I'm just up late, but I've been watching the Mes Aieux video several times, and, coming from a very rural area, I find it so poignant -- the teen girl trying to stuff the soil in her purse and running and running, yet stopping to get the purse when it falls -- symbolizing either trying to escape the land into modernity while not being totally willing to relinquish it, or desparately trying to hand it on to the young boy, who simply uses it to bury the picture? Either way...it moved me."
More discussion here:


I'm a big time cutter and paster today since I am engaged concurrently in a heated text discourse with my teen, who desperately wants to be ungrounded. I let her out for a couple hours yesterday after school, and sure 'nuff, shows up with a group of guys (where are the girls???) who look 'less than wholesome', shall we say.


I am sooooo tired of the overabundance of parents who could care less about their children, who have created a world of no rules and no expectations that has become an intoxicating lure for my daughter.

If I had my way, we'd have the basement finished and set up for the kids so they could have a (semi) private area to go when they have friends over. As it is, the kids have no privacy except in their rooms to visit with their friends, our house isn't too "kid friendly", and I don't know how to fix that. I hear stories of parents who have all their kid's friends over *all the time*, and I wonder what we're doing wrong.

Here's my best guess:

Neither one of the kids have friends whose parents are still together, and they have next to nothing in the way of limitations or boundaries. One boy's dad lets him watch rated "R" movies, play "M" rated video games, etc, "'cause I want to expose him to the world and so we can talk about it if he has any questions". Um, yeah. (and that was when the boy was 9. He has "girlfriends" now that he is infatuated with, kisses even, and the little guy is only 11 now. What's next?)
And I don't think any of the friends ever have chores or family responsibilities, so compared to other families we look like mean tyrants, making Jacob wait to play until his homework and chores are done, eat wholesome meals (with VEGETABLES, much to the horror of his friends, who are terrified to eat with us. The neighbor boy has to forage whatever leftover macaroni and cheese/bag of chips he can find on his own when he's hungry, doesn't often have family meals), and not allowing him to watch certain movies or play certain games. No wonder no one wants to come over:-(
We've tried to get the kids involved in local church activities over the years to meet kids who come from traditional families so we don't seem so foreign, but with only 1-2 kids of compatible age or gender who attend, it never seemed to work out. Now, the oldest one will only seek out kids whose lives are in chaos, doesn't even approach straight laced girls... (or girls at all. She likes to hang out with groups of scruffy guys, go figure).
In addition, my family is too far away, and after all these years am starting to feel really isolated on our beautiful 3 acre spot far out in the country. Boo.

Ok, melodramatic rant over.... I just feel a little sorry for my kids, is all. But that doesn't change the fact that girl child is still grounded, much to the pain of us all.

I've tried to isolate some of the issues we've had with her lately, and it's all common knowledge stuff for me, who has tried to keep certain crap out my house forever. After months of begging (from my husband, no less), I agreed to get better cable a few months ago, and so it's been a steady stream of junk TV in the house, stuff that's gross and vile: anything on MTV (that "Sweet 16" show makes my stomach turn, and it's not even that bad..), those modeling shows (again, not so bad. But a show that tears a girl's heart into pieces and stomps on it is just wrong), "Bad Girl's Club", "Housewives of Whatever County", ick and ick. I know the world is a soulless pit, and I don't want to be intimately exposed to it hour after hour (girl watches a lot of television, flipping and flipping and flipping the channels, it's completely maddening. And since the only TV we have at the moment with our remodeling is adjacent to the kitchen where I spend most of my time, I have to be a witness to it a great deal more than I care to).

In an effort to get my house back, I cancelled the extended cable today, but would find it the fulfillment of my greatest dreams to get rid of the stoopid cable altogether. I hatehatehate TV with a mad passion, and have since I was a kid. Never in a million years would have thought that I'd be assaulted with an idiot box in nearly every room of the house... gar! Grace is going to be even MORE mad when she finds out... but the remaining issue is that she makes it next to impossible to regulate anything, flies into shrieking hysterics anytime we restrict or limit access something she wants. So instead of saying "you can watch this show, but not this one" and having her honor that without much drama and misery for everyone, I know I just have to cancel it. Which is too bad, 'cause some of the shows on the History and Discovery Channel are pretty nifty, but we didn't get to watch them often anyway with girlchild forever stationed at the helm of the remote.

I also did something very dumb, but don't know how to rectify it. A couple years ago, daughter got an MP3 player and it was nothing but grief for the entire family. The music she put on it was ghastly (seriously, it was BAD-- really, really bad.) and it was a constant struggle to find out what she was pumping directly into her brain at all hours of the day and night. She completely disengaged from the family every chance she got, wearing that thing so she never had to be present with us, and made every limitation of volume, listening times, a battle to the death. Finally, one day it suffered some sort of tragic accident (can't remember if I was responsible or not, girl is pretty hard on her stuff) and life has improved greatly ever since then. Now, she just listens to her "gangster rap" (wo knew so many songs could be devoted to women's vaginas?) on the dreaded "My Space" and tries to push the envelope that way, sharing it with the whole family so we can be collectively horrified at the vagina songs. But it's better than it was, there's no denying that.

So what does yours truly, Queen of Stupid, get her daughter for St Nick???

Another MP3 player-- gar! It's not like I've given it to her yet, so the stupid can be undone, but WHAT DO I GIVE HER INSTEAD??????? It's the only thing she requested, so the sheep in me was more than happy to pick one up and not have to think too hard, but I KNOW it will be a tool of my undoing in a few months when her attitude becomes even more unbearable-- and I will only have myself to blame.

Any and all suggestions will be graciously appreciated. Seriously. Her only interests are television, My Space, and really bad music. I'd love to sign her up for an activity or lessons, but have no idea what to try anymore (tried to get her interested in being in a band a couple years ago, gave her a year of $$ bass lessons, to no avail).

Jacob got a season of skiing, how cool is that?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Let It Rock:



Another profound spin class song, frought with meaning:
Even tho the lyrics are sort of disturbing, the beat gets you in a sexy frame of mind... and before you know it, your floppy spots are flapping, sweat starts dripping in your eyes, and you and everyone else in the class is making sweet bumipty love to their spin bikes.
Gawd! I loves me some spin class!

Having recently recovered (sortof) from a GI illness this weekend, every time the instructor had us bend over and hover low in the seat tonight I could feel my stomach contents start to churn, and I had to keep telling myself: "If I hurl during spin class, I'll be too humiliated to return. Don't barf don't barf don't barf." So even though it was a pretty wimpy, no-barf workout (but 21 miles aren't so bad for a sickie chickie, no? I just didn't crank it like I usually do), I give myself snaps for making what was involuntary at home a bit less so, albeit temporarily.

Not pooping in spin class is ever so much appreciated, too...another one of those useful things you take for granted until your body decides to go a little wonky.

Sooooooooo, all I can say is after the past few weeks of suckitude: I can eat now (1 day post GI illness), I can chew (1 week post root canal, finally healing), and I can breathe (after 2 months of a sinus infection); I'm all healed up, so it's time to BRING ON THE TURKEY!!! Yayyyyyyyy!

Have a good one, y'all!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Things We Said Today:


I totally recorded this with my phone at the concert the other night... lol!


Don't thing I've ever heard this song before, and it's quite the catchy tune. I stumbled upon it while trying out new channels on satellite radio in hopes of finding one that comes close to "Sirius Disorder". Today, it's been the "Underground Garage", a welcome relief from my days of previewing "The Loft" (which is NOTHING like Disorder as it's been touted to be, BTW--it's more like the REM sleep inducing "Coffeehouse"-- ack, bleck!). I've grown so attached to my satellite radio that it's been hard to cut the cord, so to speak, and call and cancel since it's looking like all my favorite channels are gone forevermore. Sigh!

I've been kindof stuck in the house today, even though the weather wasn't too bad. In my efforts to be superwoman and work while I was sickly all week, it seems I picked up yet one more affliction that requires me to stick fairly close to home, wheeeeee! Not like there's a whole lot going on in these parts (I really missed bowling last night with the Irregulars tho; ironic that this is the crux of my troubles of late, ho ho no!)... but I wouldn't mind going shopping and pick up a few more cold weather clothes. Since I've been shrinking, I don't have all that many shirts that fit me properly-- the most fun and least fun part of dieting (I'm not much of a shopper, go figure! And my favorite store is packed to the gills on the weekends). Mebbe the latest installation of my sickitude will bring me thru my weight loss plateau in spite of all my carb eating, the silver lining I'm trying to find at the end of a pretty nasty week;-)

p.s. the neighbors got a dog, so ours of course has been barkingbarkingbarking all the day long-- gar! Make her stop!

p.s.s. what is it about this time of year that makes me feel like a crabby old woman? Everything irritates me, and it's not even that special PMS time... I guess for starters: I hate the holidays with a mad passion, and I don't even know why-- it's not like my parents didn't buy me a pony for Christmas or got all sauced up on Christmas eve and beat us or *anything* like that. I have a deeply held suspicion that it's because I'm the cheapest and laziest girlie in all the land and don't want to spend any money on anyone or go out of my way to do anything I don't feel like. And sadly, once the mercury dips below 65 and there's no sunlight, I don't wanna do ANYTHING except maybe eat and sleep (so maybe a trip to parts south would increase my festive spirit-- no?)

On a serious note, a large part of it right now is that I see all these appeals for food drives, making donations, etc, everywhere-everywhere-everywhere and it rankles me, offends my stingy sensitivities... and then of course, throws me into fits of guilt for the rest of the season that I don't move out of my comfort zone and give my stuff away. And what would be more painful: giving away my $$ and missing it, feeling like an ass, or the guilt I feel at not donating? Cause for me, both are about the same.

I used to be bone poor, too, and it was a very traumatic experience for me; hated it, fear it constantly to this day, and thus my fear motivated me to take the opportunity to return to school. I was a single parent to a very demanding baby, racked up all kinds of school and living sorts of debt, had to drop my precious baby off at the daycare (which broke my heart of course), and now make as much in an hour as I made in a DAY at the job I was working just prior to starting school. Did I want to be a nurse? Was it the fulfillment of my dreams and hearts desire to be exposed to infectious body fluids and have my heart ripped out on a daily basis? Nooooooo. I picked nursing from the community college catalog and Occupational Outlook Handbook, calculated the choice carefully to select the best paying, most mom friendly occupation, and have wrestled with the benefits and consequences ever since.

So I think I'm just the slightest bit bitter when I hear of people living in poverty, not taking advantage of the opportunities to better themselves that they have, that I had, that would pull them out of poverty such that I wouldn't feel obligated to give above and beyond the programs funded by my tax $$. When I was poor, I lived a very spartan life and thus always had enough so I didn't go looking for free turkeys or presents; I didn't smoke, go to bars, wear brand new clothing, drive an expensive car, bla bla bla, so when I see people with nicer things than I even have now lining up for free stuff it kindof bugs me-- and it bugs me that it bugs me.

Even now, we watch every penny, have little debt, so we will be prepared if the economy bottoms out even more than it does (and it will, I have no doubt): so when the fun-living, recreating, "live for today", and/or self-actualizing folks start lamenting, I'm sure I'll feel even less charitable, and I'm tired of feeling bad about that. Cause at the heart of all this angst is my contention that when you make poor decisions (as I did when I married a meatball and ended up a single parent), it's precisely the pain of those bad decisions that will motivate you to better yourself: get an education, get a better job, pare down expenses, make wiser choices. And every time someone rushes in to save your ass and take care of your responsibilities, how motivating is that? Feel the burn: learn a lesson, change your life, the lives of your children. My Existential Dilemma of the Moment is not so much that I don't want to part with my hard earned money (although that's certainly part of it, I won't lie to you), but that giving it away won't be terribly useful anyway.

I would rather shove a stick in my eye than give my children a gift someone donated, eat beans out of a can for two months straight before asking for free food with a $4 pack of smokes hanging out of my leather jacket I got from the mall (even now, most of my jackets and those the kids wear are second hand); I would suck it up and take that opportunity to teach the kids about responsible spending and the true meaning of Christmas, and hopefully leave them with a lesson about how un-fun it is to be poor. And I'm tired about feeling bad about that, too.... it's not even fricken Thanksgiving yet, and I'm already awash with guilt and wrestling with the conflicting messages of the season. Maybe I'll donate to the local church that's holding a holiday meal and be done with it, until the appeals for saving the starving children in Africa start rolling in. At which point, I can get thrown into an even faster twirling tailspin at how large and hopeless this problem really is, and wrestle with even more complex issues such as saving AIDS babies, rapes in refugee camps in war torn Darfur, the conditions in Iraq, and make this season even *more* filled with soul scorching angst. I'll be sure to send an extra special thanks this year to the little bebbe Jesus for candy cane martinis and Tom and Jerry's... looks like I'm going to need a steady infusion from now until January 1st, oy!

On a while 'nother note, if our economy is so washed out that the elderly can't pay their bills, afford their medications, etc, then we need to take a look at that and fix whatever it is that's the cause of it. I'm guessing a large part of it is the medical system for these folks, the consequences of how the pharmaceutical industry is run and what our medical system has become as a result of it, etc and etc. I have a lot more charitable inclinations regarding the elderly, but even less resolution for them than the able bodied people standing in the turkey lines.

Is it too early for a cocktail (it's 10 am the following day...)? Really?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Train Wreck:

First off, I have to apologize, for it seems that every time I have anything to say lately, it comes out all whiny and negative... but what can I say? It's been a fairly craptacular past few weeks, and with my recent root canal that hurts like a mother (a repeat from January, boo), and a case of full-on laryngitis, not to mention a big old honkin' bunch of oozing, weeping cold sores on my nose, I've been feeling ever so much like a train wreck. I need the $$$, too--BAD, so instead of calling in sick and resting my sickly head with it's draining, swollen orifices like I SHOULD have, I've worked the **busiest days we've ever had** (on record, no lie!), croaking and squeaking and generally scaring the nice patients who think I'm "Laryngitis Annie", all set to infect them with my boojum.
I've enlisted every remedy I could dig up from my enclave of natural remedy texts, even resorting to swallowing cloves of raw garlic to scare up my immune system into shaking the crud from my nose, lungs and throat. The peridontist gave in to my appeals to prescribe me an antibiotic, a big leap for an au naturale girlie such as myself, but desperate times call for desperate measures... and the 4x/day yeast infection pills can start to work ANY-TIME-NOW (really, any old time. Now would be great!).
After two sleepless nights, the guy also finally prescribed me something-ahem-a little stronger than ibuprofen today, so I'm hoping tonight I can sleep like a wee, little baby (who's stumbled upon mommy's vicodin stash), yippie!
I'm off tomorrow, so things are looking up all over... I hope to lay in bed and surround myself with a brand new box of tissues and all the magazines I haven't had the time to read, so I can honk and ooze and snooze, all by my lonesome, all day long-- heaven!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Suspicious:

OOOOkkkaaaaaaayyyyyy: What is a parent to suspect when her kid gets up early (that alone is frought with implications... early?!?!) and catches a ride with a kid you've never met an *hour* before school, and only just tells you 5 minutes before the ride arrives? Hmmmmmm? Granted, it's a guy she works with, and I made her bring him in the house so I could grill him (and make him a tasty cappucino, gar! So not a good intimidator...).
Well I hope the girl makes it to school in one piece, makes it to school AT ALL. I'm running out of punishments... child is grounded, no TV, no car, and now is volunteering once a week at church, not sure where I could go from here (someone mentioned a year long missions trip, but I suspect there's plenty o trouble to be found even in the swamps of the Everglades, and then I wouldn't be available to levy my limp wristed hand of discipline and be the cappucino-bearing heavy...).

It's getting to be that time of year when I want everything to hurry up and get here so it can get gone: shorter days, longer nights, occasions frought with festivities and too much food I shouldn't (and won't) be eating: last night, a coworker had a bag of some peanut butter/chocolate bells that I tried-- yuck! Tasted all waxy and plastic-y--bleck! Good to revisit junk every now and again, makes me appreciate a worthy splurge when it presents itself (think I'm going to make this cranberry ribbon pie and see if it's up to my "good standards", lol). It's not that I've given up on my diet, but acknowledge that this is a nearly impossible time to refuse sweets, so I'm going to be very selective, and indulge when the right occasion presents itself. I also plan to keep going to the gym for spin and other classes at least 3 times/week... and when we've FINALLY passed the winter eqinox, when the days start getting longer and the holidays are over, I'll crank back up to the first stage of the "Fat Flush Plan" or something, and hopefully jump start myself back into losing that last 10# I'd like to.
On a whole 'nother note: I recently got a book promoted by a magazine I read that claims that I need to be 120# to be my "ideal weight". Wow! I can't even imagine being 120#, not even in my wildest fantasies! Cause even with months and months of low carb, no sugar, hard core spin classes, I've not even come close, ohwell. It's not a goal of mine, realize that that short of a large-limbed amputation or a virulent GI illness, this weight wouldn't be healthy for me, and am surprised that a well respected weight loss book would recommend a weight that seems highly unrealistic for someone who wasn't even that heavy or out of shape to begin with (maybe there's a chapter on "Bulimia: Weight Loss' Greatest Secret" that I haven't gotten to yet that might explain this).

You know what else won't be helping me make it through the impending darkness?
My favorite Sirius radio station "Sirius Disorder" (and all the other few stations I actually listened to: "Boombox", "The Beat", and a few others).
What am I going to do without David Johansen's "Mansion of Fun" show??
There was a time when I would rearrange my work schedule so I could be off on Tuesdays and listen to his show throughout the day while I was home, but no more.. and wouldn't you know it, the DJ's shows that I didn't care for are still going to be on other channels (i.e. the loquacious Vin Sclesa... good lord! The only DJ who rambled and rambled and rambled more than he played music-- he drove me nuts, and to change the channel to other stations once I couldn't stand his talking for one second longer). Did Larry Kirwan end up somewhere?? I loved his show, too.
I like change as much as the next guy, but am now stuck listening to stations such as "80's at 8" (which is kindof fun for a few songs, but after a short while makes me feel like a stalker of my youth and overly reminiscent, which I'm not; I'm just too lazy to keep changing the channel to give me a Disorder-like music variety).
And they don't even have channels that play some of the fantastic oddities David J did, boo!
Mebbe much like the flavorless chocolate peanut butter bells, satellite radio for me is no longer splurge worthy. I'll give the new line up a try, but unless they come up with something more interesting than what I've seen so far, I'm likely to cancel and save my $$ for iPod downloads, especially in this economy...

P.S. I just realized that I've been home now for 2 hours, and haven't turned the radio on *at all*. The thought of a day of endless 80's tunes is just, well, depressing. David J, Larry K-- wherefore art thou??
Sigh!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

New Leaf:

I've spent a lifetime renewing my batteries in the bath: everytime I've felt sick, or sad, or confused about something in my life, I've retreated to the warm, secure waters of the tub to soften the rough edges and clear my head.
It's also one of my favorite places to read; and as such, my favorite books all have warped pages (and why I own more than a couple library books, oops!). One such book is "Parenting With Fire", a book I've eagerly read, digested, wrestled with in the bath, and then promptly forgot about, as if I had never read it. Contained therein is the most marvelous, transformative parenting advice I have ever been exposed to in my life, but is so contrary to the lives we have all created for ourselves to date that implementing even the most minor of suggestions would require more than a couple painful adjustments, and more soul-searching than I am able to muster at the moment.
Buy it. Read it (it's on sale. How could you not?). Just be prepared to be challenged to a higher and more meaningful level of parenting, if not discover more than a couple reasons why your kids are struggling, and no one's having any fun.
Ask yourself, as I've been asking myself all weekend: why even have kids, if you aren't going to parent them? Even if you aren't very good at it, the very least you can do is stop making excuses and try.

I've spent the entire summer in a horrible cloud of narcissism; with the advent of fall, the reflective season of our lives, I'm more than long past due to turn over a new leaf.
Time to discover ways to renew my committment to my family and get back more of the life I didn't even realize I had lost (which had nothing to do with school, btw... but certainly didn't help).
More later-- I'm off to Wii Bowl with the kids:-)
Delightful and stirring coincidence here:

Friday, November 7, 2008

Spin Crack:

I discovered a new form of spin crack, a delightful combo that revved me up for class quite nicely this morning:
To prepare, you must first stop drinking coffee for a few days (I tell ya, I burned out my adrenals over the last couple weeks with the school stress, drinking too much espresso, and taking this stuff. I went into work on Monday this week all amped up, almost shaking, for no good reason except a lingering adrenalin high from writing those papers in a panic, the post-trauma from the surgery, and 1/2 cup of coffee. Sheeeeeeooooot. Me no likee.), and then:
1) sip a nice, strong espresso.
2) and eat one of these.
Mmmmm! Crack-a-licious! And guaranteed to keep your wheels spinning for *21* miles, a new record (and without the fans! I know a lot of people hate those, so I didn't run over and turn them on today..).
I'm trying to get the kids rustled together to do something fun today, since we're all off. But the teenager doesn't want to do the "stoopid" thing that the 11 year old wants to do, and vicey-versey. Getting these kids together to do something is worse than wrestling a sack full o monkeys, sheesh!
Had an epiphany momnent in the afterglow of my workout this morning, which made me realize how funny it is that it takes weeks and weeks after something happens to make sense of it sometimes. I realized that I like to keep a visible undercurrent of chaos in my public life (changing jobs, shifts, etc) to serve as a foil to conceal the genuine chaos I have in my head all the time. It's a (deeply flawed) ADHD coping technique, one that seems to have backfired (according to the therapist), since the kids can't handle it. Bummer. And what do you do when there's a mismatched fit between kids and parent? That's the question of this stage of our lives, one that's not likely to have an answer:-(

I'm off to wrestle some monkeys, hope we get out the door sometime soon:

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Quitter/Apple Pie in a Bag:

Cyndi's Totally Copied from the Elegant Farmer Apple Pie in a Bag Recipe (made with our very own apples, how cool is that?)
Whenever you get around to it, preheat oven to 375.
Filling:
10 apples, peeled, cored, and thickly sliced
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (+/- to taste)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (+/-)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg (+/-)

Pour into deep dish unbaked pie crust (I just buy them. Who the hey can make good pie pastry anymore?? I sure can't...)
Topping:
Pulse in food processor until crumbly and pile on top of apples evenly:
1 cup butter
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar

Slide pie into a brown paper bag that's placed on it's side. Fold up the opening a couple times and staple, and nip and tuck the back part of the bag and staple so it doesn't touch any part of the oven once it's placed inside.
Bake on a large baking sheet for one hour; cut large circle in the top part of the bag so the crust is exposed, and bake for another 20-30 minutes until the crust is toasty to your liking.
Cool for a while, and serve with vanilla bean ice cream.
MmmmmmMMmmmmmmm! Another totally wonderful and evil cheat-worthy dessert, damn!

Why o why am I baking, might you ask, when I am still trying to diet and be a good girl??
Because I've had a rough week and I'm soothing my poor, battered soul (ok, that sounds pretty dramatic, n'est pas? but it really did suck):
My vision is still a little wonky; have received tons of conflicting information about whether or not the haloes will improve. Don't think I'll be able to drive ever again at night if it doesn't get better, and am already the big fat scaredy baby when it comes to night driving (driving in general, really, so it makes me sad to face a lifetime of sitting my ass home night after night if I ever DO get a life...) I can read better now, so that's a plus...
But I still spent THREE completely awful hours last night working on a research article, to only come up with TWO LAME PARAGRAPHS. I was soooo relieved to even get that done, but once I compared it with those the other students wrote, I knew in my heart of hearts that I just don't have what it takes to work on my degree right now. And after talking with a coworker, I was no longer convinced that I wanted to be a nursing instructor, anyway. I like to teach, but am honestly not the finest representative of my profession (never having kept the same job for more than 2 years, never worked Med Surg or ICU, the meat and potatoes of our craft, and what I'd likely get stuck "teaching").
Consequently....... after being a total witch (no pun intended) to the kids as they were getting ready for Trick or Treating (the day I was furiously trying to write my last round of last minute, half assed papers) and working SO HARD last night, it dawned on me that I just needed to quit/call it a day/throw in the towel/whatevvvaaaahhhhhhhh.

And so today, I did.
Ahhhhhhhhh! Wonderful relief, to have my life back; to cook dinner, make a pie, eat with my family... go the gym, hang out with friends, clean my house, even BLOG-- free from guilt that I should be doing something else.
Yay!
I still have to pay 300 some $$ since I didn't quit a couple days earlier (story of my life...), but it's PRICELESS to have my life back, with a fresh perspective on how nice it is to just be me:


Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! And damn proud of it, too!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Waaaaahhhhhhhhhh!

I only worked TWO days last week (plus my little 1/2 day at Gateway..) and I'm horrified to report that I got little to nothing accomplished; my house is a MESS, didn't blog nary a single day, didn't hardly get any of my assignments done (I find I'm sucking at being a student so far, quite the slack off procrastinator.... I had only TWO medium sized projects to do all week, and guess how many I have done? Um, none of them. They're both due by 11:59 pm today and I'm just hoping I can squeak them in before 11:57 or so...) It's not for lack of trying to get things done this week, but I had my LASIK eye surgery to anticipate on Friday, which had me in such a dither (and not of the fun, KK kind I'm afraid) that I couldn't focus on any one thing long enough to get anything completed... boo.
SO here I am, two days post eye-zapping, which was ony the tiniest bit traumatic-- between the fact that they clearly wanted to get to lunch asap and stuffed 4 people in this creepy little room with the lights dimmed, took our glasses away so no one could see how freaked out we all were, put funny scrub caps on all of us, slipped a tablet of something under our tongues... there was a chick in there with a bad perm who craftfully dodged every quesion I asked (HEY! Thought I was the only one who was good at that...), and we had to sit there while they played the WORST new age-y music ever (like whale sounds under water, quite nausea inducing) and wait as they took us, one by one, into the even smaller creepy room to get zapped. It reminded me of something out of "Logan's Run", as each of us saps was waiting to get made into soilent green. I was third, so I had to sit there, and sit there, and sit there, listening to the people in the other room shout something undiscerable to the patient, listen to the loud "zap zap zapping", and then see the disconcerted patient stumble out of the room in a daze...
I know they slipped me a mickey of some sort, but I wanted to scream "it's NOT working" as they came to get me, but instead like a good little sheep, wandered in the room and laid on the table like they wanted me to, ready to pretty much pee on myself with sheer terror. I had no freaking clue what they were doing to my eyeballs, only that I probably wasn't doing it correctly, likely risking permanent blindness and/or disfigurement as they kept (really loudly) reminding me to "look into the orange light, look into the orange light Cyndi"-- well, sometimes I couldn't see the damn orange light-- in fact, they did something after getting that suction cup thingey on that made me only see stars for a while. Man! Was I freaked out.. I could smell the delicate flesh of my eye being zapped off and I was fairly certain I was about to pass out, when all of a sudden, it was over. The only thing I could see was the guy painting the flap back over my eye, but couldn't see all that well afterward; perm girl showed me a clock as we left the room and I suppose I was to be overwhelmed with joy at how well I could see it sans glasses, but didn't see it any better than before (everything was all coudy, as if I was down in the ocean with those damn whales). I got scooted out of there pretty quick and Jake and I found a Panera to grab a sandwich, and all I remember was having him lead me out of there like a drunken sailor, as my drugs must have finally kicked in, wheeeee!
Next thing I knew, it was 8 pm, I had a couple children climbing on me and Grace was blasting some gangster rap in the room next door, and Jake was asking me to come and eat PIZZA of all things... in my drug induced haze I wasn't about to turn down forbidden carbs, so my ass blames the ativan for eating 2 pieces of tasty, spinach artichoke pizza. Somehow I was then able to help the kids make caramel apples, roast pumpkin seeds, drink a (forbidden) martini, and then wander back off to bed.
Anyhoo, I tried for several hours to stare at the screen to write one of those damn papers last night, but I can't focus enough to really read what I write to discern if it's completely legible. I know that's normal, and anticipate a full return of my vision, but for now it's really really hard to write anything--the screen glows too much (I tried to drive home last night from Racine, yee-haaaa~ the lights were all haloes and it was pretty hard to see, gar!)

So I had a request for a new blog, and here it is, in all it's whiny glory. Bet you'll think twice before asking again, no?

Ok, one last whine before I get my ass in gear:
As I lay in bed this morning, I came to the awful realization that because I voluntarily chose to become a student again, I will be cursed to have a monkey on my back forever and always for TWO WHOLE YEARS!!!! WAHHHHHHH!!!! Never again in the next 24 months will I have a moment of free time that isn't frought with angst and/or guilt that I should be working on this project, writing this paper, bla bla bla. Dumbass! The only good thing I can see at the moment is that I'll have enough $$ left over from my student loans to pay off the kid's medical bills that insurance won't pay, and maybe enough left over to pay to have my root canal redone (since I had it in January of this year, and it's apparently still infected, insurance won't pay for it. But if I wait 3 years until the bone is degenerated and I need radical surgery, it'll probably get paid for, der!). Mebbe that's why I've felt so crummy the past few months despite all my herbal concoctions... my body has been brewing up a low grade infection for all this time and I've stayed fairly healthy, so hey! My immune system DOES kick ass, after all--some good news, finally:-) I think I'm going to throw caution to the wind and give the dermatologist a call tomorrow, too; as long as I'm swamped with medical debt, might as well get that biopsy done I've been putting off for years, tee hee. Get the whole schlomozzle done, so I can greet 2009 with a healthy, yet debt ridden, conscience, yippie-flippin-skippy!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Let The Games Begin:

Today was the day I was all set to download the documents I need for the first week of my classes, and all was well with the universe... until the Road Runner decided to up and quit on the only other working computer in the house (other than the phones, tee hee).
So I got to put life on hold *yet again* for another hour to mess with cables and wires and connections behind the dusty computer, but finally got it working (and clean!) again, wheeeee! It's great to be techno-savvy, but soooo perplexed as to why this process of starting school seems to be frought with monkey wrenches of all sorts (I must got me some bad Master's degree mojo goin' on, woo wooooooooo!).

So now, at the end of another busy day filled with more cupcakes (the co-workers weren't sated with the vanilla cupcakes and soon demanded chocolate... I'm too busy to get very creative, so I just made chocolate espresso cupcakes with whipped hazelnut ganache buttercream, no filling), visits from the grandbaby, loads of laundry, dinners planned, shopped for, house cleaned, organized, kid's lives in order for the school week, activities/transportation arranged, and now I *finally* have pages and pages of syllabi, assignments printed and highlighted, textbook chapters marked... all in anticipation of turning in my first assignments in a couple days (first 3 page paper due by Friday, gar!). Sigh!
And life is good... just wish me luck, k? Still need to get those &%$@# cupcakes frosted, and it's getting late:-(
p.s. exactly one hour later...
If my encounter with the vanilla cupcake last week was a wee little affair, what I've since done with the chocolate cupcake could only be classified as a full blown romance: I had no shame WHATSOEVER eating a whole one (covered in chocolate sprinkles, no less!) and even licked the beater with great, sinful delight after the last cupcake was frosted.
My rationale for the big cheat was that it was best to enjoy it while the gettin' was good: I was there, it was there, the moment was *perfect*-- the cake fresh, the frosting creamy and soft... I plan on absolving myself of my indiscretions tomorrow with a 2 hour session at the gym after work, but will no doubt be replaying the scene over and over in my head, hoping to relive it a little as it will be my last for a long time to come, tee hee.

A Boy and His Dog:


Maggie and Jacob's first pheasant; awesomely, fantastically cool, and 100 times better than sitting on the couch (even if it IS cold and windy outside, no?).
p.s. Click on the picture: doesn't Maggie look a little freaked out? And what's up with that boy's hair? Oy!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

I wish I knew you...



This tune came on the Celtic Crush show early this morning and it got stuck in my head. Something about that note she hits when she sings "and we'll meet some daaaaaaaaaaaay" and the simple guitar riff she plays over and over that my brain got fixated on (which, after many hours of deep thought, I realized reminds me of this). Should pull out the violin and find out what note it is... my niece had her teeny tiny 1/4 size violin out last night and it was fun to try and knock out a few tunes on it, even downloaded a tuner onto my iPhone so I could make the little thing sound like it's supposed to (tough to tune a wee instrument like that, was hoping I wouldn't pop a string).

Much to my sadness, I able to access my classes today, even tho they don't officially start until Monday:
I found out yesterday that my laptop is, in fact, dead, as the new cord didn't bring it magically back to life as I had hoped....but-HEY! Called the folks at Compaq and was thrilled to discover that not only do they now employ tech support people that speak an understandable form of English, but that my sad little laptop has *30* days left on it's warranty (vs 30 days out as I had feared)! Woo hoo! There is a slight suckage factor that I'll have to start classes using the kid's computer (with the wonky keyboard), but hope it's only temporary. Oh, and that it doesn't look like going back to school will be much fun, lol... one of my instructors is located in Saudi Arabia, which I don't hardly even understand, but ya gotta love technology nonetheless... here's to hoping the guy speaks English.

Fascinating discussion here: This is my favorite blogger in all of Blogland, always good for thoughtful discourse. But I must warn you: if you get lost in the comboxes, you'll quickly become mired in despair at how soulless we've become as a society and how far we've fallen... but the good news is that as long as there are people like Rod around, there's still hope for us (and not of the creepy, political variety). Major snaps to Rod for reminding me each day that all is not lost.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Obama vs McCain Dance Off...


http://view.break.com/592648 - Watch more free videos

Tap that ass? Bwahahaaaahaha!
More people have told me that I look like Sarah Palin in the past week (cause I've had a lot of older, vision impaired patients at work lately perhaps?).
Politics at it's finest...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Say Hey!



Heard this song on the way home today, and instantly, I really liked it... has a nice island feel to it,which I'm sorely craving as the weather turns colder and colder each day. And the performer doesn't look like the type of guy who would run the streets singing "I love you, I love you, I love you", does he? Makes the song even more fun.

"Seems like every where I go, the more I see the less I know"; so, so true.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

So Far Away...




from my brain, that is...

Maybe I shouldn't have gotten the flu vaccine while I'm still feeling rotten... dang that hospital peer pressure! They have a list up on the wall at work with the names of the people who have/have not gotten the vaccine so it's apparent TO ALL if you've been a wussy bad girl and therefore open to all forms of nagging. If I was the hypochondriac type I'd say I could feel the viruses hooking up and mutating in my brain, creating the fog I've felt all afternoon, sleeeeeeeeeeeeeepppppyyyyy!

But being the fully rational and unimaginative girlie that I am, I'd prefer to think it's just 'cause I had quite the whirlwind of a weekend; entertaining visitors, running amuck, preparing for a busy week-- not to mention recovering almost 20 patients yesterday all by my lonesome. Fortunately, the work dried up early in the afternoon today so I was able to get home a little sooner and rest my weary head to ready myself to do it all over again, and again, and again. In the big picture it's all good, I'm so grateful to have a decent job in these goofy times, but I REALLY wanted to extend my week of leisure just a few days longer, waaaaaahhhhhhhh!

Also, my laptop died a few minutes ago, and am hoping a new cord will bring it back to life before my class begins next week; really, it's my own fault at this point, since the dog chewed up the cord months and months ago and I should have replaced it then. Jake did such a nice job of MacGyver-ing it back together that I took it off the "to do" list, I'm just glad it croaked now vs. in the middle of a 20 page paper... yippie yahooey, and thank God for Ebay ('cause I got one for $17 postage paid vs some $80 at Best buy, and this girl doesn't want to go there anyhow).

Addendum: I have a confession to make...

After many painful and wonderful moments of loyalty, discipline, and devotion, I'm ashamed to admit that I cheated.

And who ever would have thought? I was never the kind of girl who lacked in self control, never one to cave in to temptation, even when something lovely was right in front of me, enticing me...

But I did it... and in the grand scheme of things, in spite of the risks, it was quite nice, *completely* worth it :-)

I can't say that I'm looking forward to getting myself in that situation again, but if another vanilla cupcake brushed with lemon juice, filled with raspberry jam and topped with a mountain of lemon meringue frosting comes my way, I'll be better prepared (damn my good baking skills, and my nice coworkers for being cupcake worthy! Who ever could guess that I couldn't bake a few dozen and never eat one... it took a couple days, but I finally caved, sigh!)
My next object d' affaire:

OOOoooooooOOOOOooooooOoooo! So dirty, yet soooo delicious;-)

p.s. Was it cheating if I thought of a salad while I was eating it? What if I ate it in the bathroom so no one could see??

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Yay!

It's amazing how many people are on the roads at 6:30, at how dark it already is at this time when at the beginning of the week it was still light...
Getting up early to get the girl to the bus isn't my ideal early morning scenario, but so far it hasn't been bad. There's a dreamy quality to jumping out of bed the instant the alarm goes off vs laying in bed for 1/2 hour and waking verrrrryy sloooooowwllly:
For the first 5 minutes of so after you roust yourself, it's almost as if you're still dreaming, carrying the remnants of your last dream in your head as you rush to get ready, trying to make sense of who you are and where you are.
And it's GORGEOUS outside at this time of day; also dreamlike, misty, like the narrow and soft space between sleep and awake. Plus, it's wonderful then to have 20 minutes all to myself before the boy gets up and round 2 starts.
Speaing of wonderful, have I mentioned how fan-freaking-tastic it has been to have most of this week off? I am still a little sick (sinus infection?), but feel rested, better, more like myself. I couldn't have this amount of time to myself all the time, and it rots to get to the point where I need a break so badly, but it's another one of those push-pull situations in life where suffering thru the difficult things makes the wonderful things that come after so much more appreciated. So, YAY! And back I go next week to the grind: 44 hours, bummer:-( Hope I make it to the gym after work for a little sanity time...
Speaking of the gym (sorry, segueways don't come easily at 6:30 in the am..), I received the *best* compliment I've probably gotten in quite a while:
My spin instructor got off her bike 1/2 way thru class yesterday to check and see where our gears were, how hard we were working. With my cold, I've vacillated this week between working reallllly hard to knock the goo out of my head, and being pretty wiped out, yet still cranking it--but you still wonder where you stand in relation to the other people who have been taking the class a lot longer than I have.
When she came by my bike she said "wow, you're really working hard", and then pulled me aside after class to comment on what a strong rider I was, on my level of athleticism. And while I know my body has changed a great deal after a summer of heavy riding and daily spin classes, I have no idea if my change from an overweight, out of shape person to an avid cyclist (20# lighter, wheeeee!) is apparent to anyone else. Or if the new muscles, no longer covered by a layer of chub and lots of clothes to hide them, can be seen vs only felt (my glutes feel *really strange*, maybe it's from doing a few too many of these:

Time to get dressed and enjoy my last day of freedom, to one last morning at the gym for a while...
LATER: went shopping today, since my belt has become a fashion necessity again, and lo and behold, I'm down another pants size (the smallest I've been since the kids were born, yee-ha!)... LASK eye surgery scheduled for two weeks from today, too, but not sure how I feel about that; we're such pragmatists that something unnecessary like cosmetic eye surgery is hard to do without much guilt.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Be Ok:

This is the theme song of the day, serendipitously chosen by the local High School radio station (WBSD 89.1, best radio station *anywhere*) as it was the song that woke me from a deep sleep this morning:
(I couldn't have picked a better one if I tried)




This was the day where I was going to try and get my equilibrium back after the events of the past few days: getting sick, cars breaking down, children's secrets revealed... and as such, I've had to expend a great deal of energy to fix/arrange/organize things with only half the brain capacity and a full box of tissues at my side. Add to that the lovely weather that fairly screams "get outside and get stuff done!", and I'm so sooooo glad to have this day off to recoup and get my head straight.

Gracy pants' behavior and broken car earned her a month and a half of bus rides, starting this morning: wheeeee! It was a pain to get up at 6 to drive her maniacally do the bus stop, but I made sure she had something to eat, a little spot of coffee, and a jacket (yes, she's 16; tell me about it... but even naughty girls need some mommy time), so when I got her on the bus knowing she was going to make it to school on time for a change, a wonderful peace descended upon me. Getting home and having all that quiet time all to my ownself was very nice, too.
To put it in perspective:
I was in such a panic yesterday before I got the bus set up, wondering how I was going to drive the girl to school every morning at 7, run home, get Jacob ready, myself in order, Jacob dropped off at 7:50, and myself to work all before 8 am. Really, it was quite the dilemma, made my head spin. I've done it a couple times before, and it's no way to start the day, esp when work is soooo hairy right now.
But I have to tell you, getting Grace on the bus, having some time to myself, getting Jacob organized and fed, off to school, and my sickly self to the gym with nary a hitch this morning was bee-you-ti-ful, and for a brief moment as the autumn sun shone its warmth upon me this morning I truly felt at peace with the world, and it was GOOD:-)

Gardening tidbit (there weren't that many this year were there? Poor gardens have been neglected..):
In my boogery, sudafed induced haze I mustered up enough energy on Sunday to cut down the seed heads from all the perennial gardens on the property and wheel them up to the prairie (a necessary evil if you don't want to expand the gardens each year, takes at least a couple hours). How I pulled that off, I'll never know... drugs-- powerful stuff, I tell ya!
I used to really enjoy that task, too (somewhat... it's dirty and scratchy and hot), loved breaking apart the 80 gagillion seedheads one by one and distributing the seeds throughout the prairie in all the promising spots; I'd take a look and see where some rudebeckias might look good or where some echinaceas needed to go, like some benevolent God of my own little domain. But Sunday, I just dumped the plants in big piles and wandered back, glad to have it over so I could crawl back on the couch:-(
Feeling much better today, I tore out the huge tangles of morning glory that climb on the deck railing, chicken coop, and everywhere else it wasn't supposed to go.. they look so pretty and romantic when in full bloom, but after a frost look desolate, and are so covered in seeds that they need to be taken somewhere else. These insanely vigorous plants and their spawn are from plants we grew from seed at our old house 6+ years ago, crazy! They obviously love it here...
I threw the plants up by the fence in the front prairie, wonder how long it'll take before they take over up there, too?

For some reason, I lost all interest in the gardens this year, but hope taking a season off will get me yearning to dig new gardens and get my hands dirty next year... we'll see.
In the meantime, I'm just going to try and be ok:-)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Oy!

Did ya ever have one of those days where you felt like you could never focus on any one thing long enough to get anything done?
Believe it or not, I got all the crap stuff on my daily list accomplished (laundry, phone calls-- all the big items) but the *little* things like "remember to grab your vitamins so you can take them before you go into the other room" sort of stuff, the kinds of things that keep you from wandering aimlessly from one room to the next, over and over and over again in fruitless pursuit of what you were going to do... *that's* the stuff I've been having a problem with today.
And now my brain hurts now with all the futile remembering and forgetting and re-remembering; think it's time to grab a glass of wine and call it a day;-)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Sick:

So totally bummed, cause I'm siiiiiiiiick! My head is aching, nose running, froat sore, and worst of all, no energy to pretend like I'm fine (which is what I usually do).
This always seems to happen after a long stretch of working too much, as I have been the last 3 weeks: with all the changes at work, the stress of anxious co workers, uncertainty about my job (who knows what my job even *is* these days-- things are 360 degrees different over the past two weeks since they've restructured everything... used to have at most 9 patients to recover in the morning, which made for a mondo-schitzo morning, but now we are recovering 13+ patients in the same time span, with no breaks, no help--crap! You head into work and wait for someone to tell you how things are different today since yesterday, and hope that it all comes together and no one has a meltdown, wheeeee), it's made for a hairy past few days, and my body is crying "uncle"!
So very glad to have nearly a week off now to recover, before it all starts back up again and I pile on the stress of starting school in a couple weeks. Hopefully, when I am back to the crazy hours they will have it all figured out and I can become acquainted with whatever it is they want me to do and I can return to my happy autopilot that motors me numbly through each day.

Ya know, what truly rots is not the sickly part, but the fact that it is GORGEOUS outside, and so feel double the weight of getting off the couch so I can fully appreciate this fleeting weather; feel pressured to do something "fallish" like take Jacob to the pumpkin farm (he hates it anyway), or to a corn maze (ditto that), or really just anything other than being bundled up and shivering and wasting the lovely sunshine away.... gar! I would love a nap, if only to ease my headache, but feel too GUILTY about closing my eyes and missing a moment of this nice day... would love a tylenol, too, but can't seem to get off the couch:-(
(and in the meantime, Maggie keeps sneaking over and stealing my booger-y kleenexes off my pile; hope she eats them in their entirety so I don't have to pick them all up later when I finally muster the energy to get moving).

So here lays I, trapped between being unable to move and feeling too guilty to fully embrace any attempts at recuperation.... lame. We have Jake-events to attend this afternoon as well, boo. If I go, I'll be blowing my nose constantly, feeling tired, freezing, not at all in good form to socialize with strangers; but these events are *so* few and far between that I need to make an attempt: Need to eat something, need to wake up, need to get some tylenol.
Need to lay on the couch, need to close my eyes, need to nap away the afternoon... yeah.
(Also need to figure out how to get Grace to school all next week and then pay for her $$ car repairs, but that's a whole 'nother story...)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Endorphin Block...

Ok, first it was blogger's block, which all by itself was fairly sucky...
But now I've extended the suckage to include an inability to kick my ass at the gym:-(

I did a 30 minute sculpting class on Monday that hurt me bad for a couple days, but since then I haven't been able to reach the level of intensity in my spin class that I've really grown to crave (allright, it's more like an endorphin high that I've become addicted to, seriously).
I used to sweat so much during spin that it would drip on the floor under me and soak my clothes (gross, I know-- and at first it really creeped me out). Then after a couple weeks the perspiration dropped off a bit, but it was still enough to get in my eyes and fog up my glasses. But NOW, even tho I've been cranking up the resistance to crazy high levels (19 today) and spinning my pedals as fast as I can, I can barely break a sweat, barely get winded... in fact, instead of collapsing yesterday after my spin fix like I usually do, I still had so much pent up energy that I did a sculpting class AND Zumba afterwards, and could have probably done one more class if I wasn't overdue for a meal and a little dizzy. Gar! I felt so dissatisfied.

Is it all that common to max out so soon in fitness classes? Or have I just hit a strange plateau, where all my muscles have grown accustomed to their daily abuses and are like "yawn, bitch. Is that all ya got?"
Granted, I am on cold medicine cause I can hardly breathe as I have something nasty a brewin...
Is sudafed like some sort of exercise meth? And if I keep taking it before class, will I end up looking all haggard like those people in the "after" photos you see on the Oprah show??
Cyndi before spin class:
Cyndi *after* spin class:
Sheeeoooooot! Maybe it's time to cease with all the exercising for a bit and chill out on the couch with a tasty box o donut holes.... for my health, after all. I mean, I already feel like an endorphin withdrawing crack whore who can't score her next fix, no matter how many tricks she turns; don't want to find myself on an intervention episode of the Tyra Banks show, dressed in spandex... (at least not until I lose those last 10 #, tee hee).

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Kabir:

I laugh when I hear that the fish in the water is thirsty:
You do not yet see that the Real is in your own home,
and you wander from forest to forest listlessly...
Here is the truth!
Go where you will,
to Benares or to Mathura;
If you do not find God in your your own soul,
the world will be meaningless to you.

I used to like that poem, ages and ages ago... and every so often it pops back into my brain for one random reason or another--in fact, it woke me up this morning at 5:30 and I haven't been able to sleep since, go figure.
Personally, I think God took an extended vacation from my soul and thus have been moving about in a haze ever since... and unfortunately, even tho church and its accoutrements are a nice filler material, they haven't had the staying power to keep me from wandering the forest all these years...
And altho I enjoy the travails of wandering, find neither purpose nor direction lately and would like to focus my efforts, find a guidemap so I can make sense of where I am, where I've been, and where I'm headed.

Dreamed of my hometown last night, of no one event in particular... just of the feeling I get sometimes when I'm there, when I was there, and woke up with Kabir in my head.
Strange.

Another spin class song; usually I'm not one to form a connection to a song right away, but when you have the resistance cranked up to 17, your legs are on fire and you can barely breathe... closing your eyes and focusing on the beat, the voice, and the lyrics can really pull you through:

Sunday, October 5, 2008

I See You Baby...

Ok, for about 32 seconds I thought I would be able to pull off a wee little bit of a writer's strike, but even tho I am in a dry spell, blog-wise, it's far too difficult to NOT blog than it is to dry blog, so bear with me:


Not completely sure if this is meant to titillate those of my gender or not... but with my newly established identity as a gym dweller, made me laugh just a little...
Here's the original, if you wish to draw some parallels:

Being able to identify which one is your favorite will be very telling...

Me, I would love to get in on the girlie "stripper aerobics" class-- reminds me of my favorite pre adolescent television program "The 20 Minute Workout", woo hoo, in which I discovered that it was waaaaay fun to abuse my body to a perky, choreographed beat (and who knew you could find episodes of the show on line? I've been watching a few and it really explains a lot...)

I have many more things of a highly profound nature to relate, but it's all stuck in there and doesn't want to come out, boo. Maybe I need to let it fester for a few days until it's ready to explode... we'll see. In the meantime, I'm feeling achy and cranky and a bit blue today; clearly blog constipation has created a toxic overload to my brain and body.

Just for funs, I'm going to include this video:


This is the sort of stuff I pump into my head before starting work, trying to set the tone for the work day. The version I have stored on my iPod is a little more... nas-tay ("'cause you gots to be nasssss-tay!"), but I like the Fat Boy Slim nuances they added in this one. Since I'm leaving soon to see an 8pm Ani Difranco concert farfar away today, lord only knows what's going to get me revved up for work tomorrow morning-- double espresso with added espresso powder, with a side of amphetamine, perhaps?

p.s. even tho I hate to be cold this time of year, I just can't muster up the gumption to wear warmer clothes. Wearing jeans makes me feel like I'm suffocating in yards and yards of fabric; had a sweater on for a brief few moments yesterday and felt like I couldn't *breathe*. My clothes don't fit so great these days, and the low rise jean issue doesn't help: I'm yearning for a pair of fully fledged mom jeans that will cinch my waist so the pants will STAY UP. Hate the sensation that I'm only a bend at the waist away from some ass crackage, hate always having to crank the pants up, yank the pants up, pull the damn pants up all day all day all day...

Allright, wanted to change my original morose video to a more fun one, and discovered that there are NO Prince videos to be scrounged off YouTube.. guess Mr Prince doesn't allow such pilfering, ohwell:-( Seriously tho, they played a Prince song in spin class this am and I realized at that moment that I MUST get the "Purple Rain" soundtrack in it's entirety.... what a nerd!

p.s.s. the Ani DiFranco concert was very nice; she had a great xylophone player with her that really mellowed out her set... I could have 100% done without the political rhetoric, but what do you expect when you go to the most liberal town in a 500 mile radius to see the most liberal performer probably in existence-- and during an election year, to boot? I was just askin' for it, so I will limit my complaining, but it was painful and irritating and I will surely know better for next time;-)