Dec 31, 2010

2010 round up

Here is this year's version of the quiz I have done in the past.......


What books and/or magazines did I read this year?

Real Simple.  Travel + Leisure.  A million and one chick lit books.  I finished tons of books I have started and never finished.  That was the biggest accomplishment.

What movies and/or tv shows did I watch this year?
Greys.  I found the season finale two of the most intense hours of television I have ever watched.  I have healed along with Yang.  When she said "Being a hero has its price."  Some of the most truthful piercing words ever uttered.  Feeling the sunlight on her face and remembering to let go and embrace the tears.  Waiting for my Meredith to stand by my side and lay on the floor of the ER with me.  Where is she?

What special days did I celebrate and how?
Ten year wedding anniversary on my favorite place on Earth - Cape Cod.  Stood on the beach in front of the sunset with my favorite people to recommit myself to my true love.

What gifts did I give and/or receive?
I have crafted lots of things this year.  Hopefully they are appreciated by their recipients.  Made with love for sure.

What illnesses or health concerns did I have?
Everything.  Doctors trying to help me find my baseline.  My normal.  I haven't seen it in years.  Feels like an elusive goal right now.  Getting there piece by piece.  Part of a sacrifice I made that can never be recovered.

What fun things did I do with my friends and/or family?
The summer of sun.  Beach, beach, and more beach.  Wake up, pack a cooler, sit on the beach.  Hang with family and friends. The perfect summer.

What new foods, recipes or restaurants did I try this year?
Hibachi.  We all love it except Curly Q who jumps back every time the fire flames up.  More sake, more happy.

What special or unusual purchases did I make?
Cars!!  About frakkin time.  Both cars practically fell apart seconds before being traded in.  Totally could not afford it, but really had no choice.

What were this year's disappointments?
I have realized that sometimes I just cannot count on others.  It really is up to me.

What were my accomplishments this year?
Putting myself first and doing what mattered to me.  Standing up for myself.  Being my own damn cheerleader.  Becoming more of the wife and mother I know I can be.  Spending more time with my family, and enjoying more time with my friends who are there for me.  Lots of discovery.

Anything else noteworthy to record?
I am on an upswing I think.  I have only good wishes and expectations for 2011.  I am becoming the me I know I can be. 


Dec 16, 2010

fond thoughts of the library

This month I have been spending every evening sitting by the twinkling Christmas tree, Christmas music, a book or laptop.....   It has been one of my favorite places.

Another favorite place of mine is the library.  You could leave me for days there.  I love being surrounded by all the books, all the thoughts that people put down on paper and were fortunate enough to have published.  So many thoughts and ideas, so much knowledge.

I just love to wander through the aisles and browse.  I can spend forever in the fiction section, piling up a giant stack that I will never be able to finish in the allotted one month time period I will spend with them.  So many stories, I will never live long enough to enjoy them all.

The nonfiction section is its own little wonderland.  I can completely feed my thirst for knowledge there.  I wish there was a way to absorb it all more quickly.  One section leads to another and another..... so many things to know and explore.

I love to find a quiet spot in the library to sit and read.  It is so very peaceful there, which is an amazing respite in a supercharged world. 

I always preferred to study at the campus library when I was in college.  I just could feel the vibe of knowledge buzzing around me.  Sitting in the coffee shop among people on the same quest was so energizing.  Finding a quiet cubby up in the stacks was where I did my best cramming.

I haven't been lately.  It has been way too long.  Especially considering I still have that stack of fiction books.  I did finish them all this time, but I will definitely be making my annual contribution to the library fund when I take them back!

Dec 7, 2010

christmassy quiz

Let's get in the spirit with a little Christmas meme.  It's been a while, right?

1. Have you started your Christmas shopping?   I shop year round.  If I see something that fits a person, I buy it.  Problem is, around now, I forget what I have and duplicate my efforts.  It's time to get everything out and see what I have.

2. Tell me about one of your special traditions.  We always get a tangerine in the toe of our stockings.  Nobody really even eats them in this household, but the tradition predates me in this family, and it hasn't stopped yet.  One of the girls was looking at the stockings on the mantle, and pondered aloud, "I wonder if we'll be getting a tangerine this year?"  I'm quite sure we will.  And I am also quite sure we will pull it out and exclaim, "Ooooh!!! A tangerine!!!!"

3. When do you put up your Tree? As soon as possible after Thanksgiving, but not too soon that we are just left with a dead stick on Christmas day.  Usually 2-3 weeks before.

4. Are you a Black Friday shopper?   Ok, here's how it goes down.... we spend weeks talking about what's going to be on sale, and saying we are going to get in line the night before, and circling the ads, and making lists, and asking each other if we are in line yet.......  And then on Friday we wake up at like tenish... throw on some clothes, leave the children with the men (they don't really notice - they are watching football), and head out, stop for coffee, miss all the good sales, pick up wrapping paper, walk slowly through the stores, laugh at all the maniacs, and go home and shop online for what we really need.

5. Do you travel at Christmas or stay home?  We used to travel like maniacs, but now we stay home if I can help it, or end up at my parents, where we park it for a few days.  No more running around.  The kids want to open their stuff and play.  It should be a relaxing day.

6. What is your funniest Christmas memory?   I lost my wedding and engagement ring set.  I was devastated, and knew we would not be able to replace them.  It really tore me up.  DH surprised me with a replacement wedding band on Christmas.  I cried.  It meant so much to me!

7. What is your favorite Christmas movie of all time?  Elf  really cracks me up.  I can watch that over and over.  But my all time favorite is It's a Wonderful Life.  You know, because it is.

8. Do you do your own Christmas baking, what’s your favorite treat?  I love baking Christmas cookies.  I think our family has the best cookie recipes.  They are all my favorite, but I think our sugar cookies are the best I've ever had.  Mmmmm!!!!!

9. Fake or Real Tree?  Real.  We get out there like troopers and cut our own.  It is always a blast.  We spend forever out there because I am indecisive and picky.  We always say we are not going to get one that is too big for the living room, and we always end up with one too big for the living room.  And it always smells divine and looks beautiful.

10. What day (as a mom) does the actual panic set in to get it all done?  I don't really panic about it.  I am particularly relaxed about it all this year.  But if there is going to be a panic, it is on Christmas Eve, right about the time I send DH and sis to Walgreens for something.  (Yes, every stinkin' year.)  Thank goodness for 24hr Walgreens.

11. Are you still wrapping presents on Christmas Eve? Always.  It is such a bad habit! 

12. What is your favorite family fun time at Christmas?  All of it.  The past few years we have been together with my side of the family, and we laugh every minute until it's over.  I can't wait!

13. What Christmas craft do you like the best?  I scrapbook a Christmas card every year.  I make a scrapbook page on paper, scan, and print as photos.  I love putting it together.  I hope people enjoy receiving it.

14. Christmas music? (Yes or No) If yes, what is your favorite song?  Nonstop.  It's a sickness.  Favorite song is O Holy Night.  Just about any version of it.  Sooooo beautiful that song is.

15. When do you plan to finish all of your shopping?   Hmmm.  Hopefully by this week or next.  Since I do most of it online, I really need to take stock and finish up while there is still time for shipping.  Oh - and of course that last minute Walgreens item on Christmas Eve.

Dec 6, 2010

christmas dork

This is my favorite time of year.

I am a total Christmas dork.

It's not everyone's thing to get all excited about it and to get in the spirit, but I just love it.

Not being employed and starting to feel better has allowed me to be more on top of my game this year.  DH and I keep commenting to each other how well we are doing so far.  I made and sent out my cards, we put up the lights Thanksgiving weekend (come to think of it, not traveling that weekend gave us some extra Christmas prep time too that we are not used to having), we put up the village, and cut down and decorated the tree.

I've been listening to Christmas music nonstop.  I finally found the radio station that plays the more upbeat songs.  (That first one we were listening to was like Christmas on too much Prozac....)   I asked my youngest if the music was getting on her nerves.  She told me she would like hearing it even if it was July.  (She might just be one of us!)  She has alternate lyrics to all the songs.  Some of them are pretty hilarious.

My oldest put on the tree skirt like a real skirt and twirled around the living room.  She does this every year.  She wears her Santa hat around the house pretty frequently.  (She too may be one of us.)

DH put out the nativity and told the story like he does every year.  The funniest year was when he pulled Joseph out of the box and he was headless.  He said, "Well, that's a new twist to the story.  It's more of a horror story this year!"

The lights on the house are ridiculous, and I think they could probably guide space shuttles back to Earth with them.  I love them anyway.  The kids can see them from school.  Haha!

The new kitten has left the tree alone so far, but she keeps jumping in the village.  I am trying not to kill her.  Daughter calls her Catzilla.

We found a thing that goes in the tree that tells you when it is out of water by playing music.  Turns out there is not an off switch, so it doesn't stop until you get the water into the tree stand.  O Tannenbaum is starting to make us a little jumpy.  But we still laugh every time.  Even when it went off at 4am.

I've done most of my shopping online.  I have boxes everywhere!  I put a bin out on the porch for deliveries, and the delivery people never use it despite the LARGE sign on it stating what it is for.  Sometimes they put it on top of the bin.  We're getting closer.  They will probably get the idea just in time for Christmas day.  It's a long training process.  I need to make sure soon that I have something for everyone.  I keep feeling like I am forgetting someone.  I should make a list I guess, but I am just winging it.  I hope everyone likes what I found or made for them.  I try hard to find the right gifts for people.  It is one of my love languages.

Merry Christmas to you and yours!!!

Nov 4, 2010


I have been to various doctors' offices about a dozen times in the past several weeks.  And it's not over yet.  Sometimes I get real tired of all this nonsense, but I really need to get better, so I am pushing on.

The kitten is snoring.  I've never heard her do that before.  The older cat snores all the time.  Weird.

My neck hurts.

I was gluing a craft project, and now I have a headache.  I think I needed to get away from the glue sooner than I did.

The car needs gas.

I am going to WalMart in the morning, and I don't think I've been there in a while.  I made a list.  I hope I stick to it.  When I go into stores like WalMart I walk up and down all of the aisles, and I don't have time for that.

I need car snacks and table snacks for the trip.  I can't remember if we will have a refrigerator or not.  I don't think we do.

I bet I laugh super hard all weekend long.  I can't wait for that.

I haven't been home enough from my last trip to be leaving again.  I am going to miss my family a ton.  And I'm even going to miss being at cheerleading.  Never thought I'd say that.

My husband did the laundry because he is awesome.  He knew I needed clean clothes for the trip.

My favorite road trip food is twizzlers.

The last time we went there we got all kinds of lost.  And I think we were using GPS.

I appear to be GPS challenged.

I have like ten overdue library books.

Maybe I will go out for breakfast tomorrow to motivate myself to get out and get my errands done.  Maybe Kelli has the morning off and we can go see Teresa at work.  Which is a nonsense idea because I don't have time or money for all that.

My neck REALLY hurts, and I need to go take something for it.

It is so quiet and peaceful in here right now.

I have so many things I am worrying about right now.  Soooo many things.

I'm trying to write more.  Are you reading more?  Please comment more.  I like that.

My blog post titles are never capitalized, which I guess I do on purpose, but I have absolutely no reason for doing so.

If you're still with me, thank you for following along and reading all this nonsense.  That is the third time I used the word nonsense in this entry.

Oct 31, 2010

week of wacky

hurt my ankle night before my flight leaves to take care of mom who dislocated hip.
need wheelchair assistance in airport.
family fight.
family talk and make up.
can't sleep.
sleep too much.
act as lawyer for my sister.
sister acts as doctor for me.
ask underage niece to grab wine and needles from the house and meet me at the curb.
realize this is grounds for a DCF visit.
trunk flies open three times during car ride.
jump out at a red light to close said trunk.
eyebrow threading makes me look like I've been in a fistfight.
food court people assault me for my business.
spice cake is sold out at the store so I protest by throwing brownies on the floor.
everyone at the grocery is dressed in costume.
we drive around town wearing a top hat.
someone stops us to find out where to purchase said hat.
sitting in the car I receive a call from my sister on her phone directly outside the car.
meet new pets and have a pet funeral.
experience three seasons of weather.
shower with a crazy centipede.
say hello to various random strangers.
say and hear "I love you" a million times.
leave with soul restored and new perspective.

Oct 30, 2010


5 things you are good at........ wow.  Isn't that a tough question?  I always see and feel the weight of my faults so deeply that it is a true thought provoker.  I find it hard to be that introspectively positive about myself.  But here goes......

1.  Analysis.  I see big picture.  I see the end result, and can figure out how to get there via the most efficient route.  I have a very logically-minded thought process.

2.  Humor.  When I am not using it as my coping mechanism, people seem to find me funny.  In my head, I am usually thinking a smart remark to everything I see and hear.  I probably only articulate a third or so of what's going on in my mind.  Good grief!

3.  Quick Problem Solver.  That's not working?  Fine, try this.  Not that?  How about this?  I can adapt quickly in most situations, and can offer solutions that others might not think of.

4.  Negotiating.  I know what I want, I know what I want to spend, I know what my limits are, I know what my terms are going to be.  And I know when to walk.

5.  Reading People.  I have a gut instinct about people and their intentions that has rarely led me wrong.

What about you?  What are some things you are good at?  What are some things you think I am good at?  How we see ourselves is often so different than how others see us.  Let's talk about it!  :)

Oct 27, 2010


Somebody asked recently why I don't trust people.

I had to really think. 

Is it that I DON'T trust people, or that I CAN'T trust them?

I'm not sure.

I think I don't know how.  I think I am always waiting for people to let me down.  And they always do.  Which feeds my feelings of mistrust. 

Who have I always been able to count on?
No one.

Is that a true truth or just my interpretation?  A truth.  Really.  I have had so much violation of trust.  Deep cutting violations.  From people close to me.  From everyone I have ever let in.  And now I don't.  I can't trust people and let them in.  I can't trust them not to hurt me.  Which brings the deeper pain of loneliness.

I think I have to fix this, but it isn't easy.  I'm stuck in a horrible circle and breaking this thirty year old habit is so very difficult.  I have to choose people who won't let me down, and then I have to trust that they won't.  And then hopefully, the trust becomes restored. 

Help me trust.  Reach out to me, and I will reach back.

Oct 26, 2010

the wall

I feel like being honest and I feel like talking and I feel like saying all the things that I always want to say but nobody asks and nobody cares and nobody listens and nobody thinks my problems are big enough to matter in this great big world to offer a shoulder or hug or companionship.

It's a lonely world and I have so much and have done so much but I still lack so much and have done so little.  And I don't matter much to most in a way that I can feel.  Maybe they can, but I can't.  In a way that makes people want to reach out and know me.  In a way that makes people want to spend time or space with me.

My flaws run deep so so deep.  They must.  I fail at making the loneliness go away.  I fail at making the people stay.  I fail at being able to find my way.

I keep trying, I keep asking, I keep meeting, and I keep being alone.  I wonder how many feel this way?  I wonder what makes everyone stay away. 

I built my walls so high that nobody can or wants to get over them.  Because to do so would mean understanding a girl who yearns to have someone want to do it badly enough that she can break the walls down for you and let you in.

There's always pain and loneliness in the end.  There is always abandonment in the end.  A world so large and so crowded and lonely and filled with acquaintances and never best friends.

And I can say it doesn't matter to me, but it does.

Oct 8, 2010


Insomnia.  But fatigued.
Exploring why, but not done yet.
Miles to go before I sleep.
Miles to go before I sleep.
It doesn't help to count the sheep.
I can't rest my mind to close my eyes.
I can't close my eyes to rest my mind.
I miss the girl that I once was.
I long for the woman that I could be.
It's all lost in the swirl of my lost dreams.
My lost dreams.
My missing dreams.
I long to find them in my sleep.

Jun 24, 2010

summertime 2010 thunks

Thursday Thunks: Welcome to Summertime 2010!

The TT questions are brought to you by Bud, the color of Atlantic Ocean and the number 3.

1. It became officially summer on Monday. What's your favorite part of winter?
Holidays - Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Otherwise, I hate winter.

2. What was your worst summer vacation ever?

I so rarely go on vacation, that I don't have the luxury of ever having thought one was bad.  I am always feeling so lucky to be away that I just enjoy it.

3. Kimber's husband just got the dream job that he's hoped for. So a big shout out to her and Anthony! Tell us about the best job that you ever had.
Real job - the last job I had (that I got laid off from, boo).  It was a good combination of my strengths and interests.  Teenie bopper fluff job?  DQ.  Per the owners request - we ate our way through all the blizzard flavors, and then made up our own.  Yum!!

4. Who is probably talking a load of crap about you right now?

Probably everyone.  I provide lots of smack talking fodder.

5. An alien appears and offers you the opportunity to repeat one year of your life. You will still know everything that you know now. He explains that no matter what you do differently, when you are returned to the present nothing will have changed. What year would you pick and why?
1994 would have been the year that I could return to with my current knowledge to change the whole course of my life and still keep all the best parts that are important to me.  If everything is going to stay the same......  I can't seem to pick a single year to live over again.  I would reject the offer.

6. Name three things you have on you at all times. Explain why.

Crackberry.  (They call it that for a reason.  I'm a total addict.)  Lip Gloss.  (I'm dry.)  A book.  (Just in case.)

7. When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone on paper and mailed it?
Ummmmm............  ???????   Yeah, I don't remember.

8. If you could have everyone in the blogosphere read just one of your posts, which post would you pick and why?
A letter to myself at seventeen.   Please go read and enjoy getting to know me a little.

9. I recently read that the music industry continues to decline at an alarming rate. In the last year it said the sales of Michael Jackson's and The Beatles' music are the only artists who sales continue to climb. The article stated that the two are holding up the industry. Have you bought a CD or mp3 of either artist recently?
Does Beatles Rockband for Wii count?

10. What radio ad right now do you find so annoying that you'd rather have a tooth drilled than hear it again?
Although I always have music going, I usually only listen to the radio in the car, and I station hop.  I can't even think of one commercial that is on right now.

11. Berleen walks into a bar on a hot Minnesota day. At the bar sits a priest, a rabbi and a minister. A ten foot duck walks into the bar right after Berleen. What drink do you think Berleen orders?
Huh.  Lots of irrelevant lead-ins today.  I am going to say she orders a Divine Mallard.  It has Barcadi Limon, Melon Schnapps, Grand Marnier, and Ginger.

12. There is a knock on your door. It can be anyone in the world. Who would you want it to be?
My family - telling me they are moving to the neighborhood.

13. What would be the worst entertainment or sporting that you could be forced to watch?
Golf.  Ick.

Have a great Thursday Everyone!!

Jun 12, 2010

100 Books: The Time Traveler's Wife

I can't believe I have not talked to you about this book.  Mostly because I was completely obsessed with it.  So much so that I couldn't put the darn thing down.  I tell you, that book came at just the right time - my mind was racing, I hadn't had a moment to relax in forever, and I couldn't tell you the last time I had picked up a book.

Then this came along.  The perfect love story.  The perfect romantic escape that I needed.  It envelopes you in its simple complexity.  You believe, you root for, you care.  You find yourself allowing the suspension of disbelief required to make the story plausible.  The author has such a knack for character development, that I felt myself missing those who had to be cut when I finally allowed myself to view the movie.

If this is your kind of thing, give it a try.  For me, it was the catalyst that got me back into the world of books.  And I tell you this, it had been far too long.

My only postscript would be to stay far far FAR away from the author's sophomore novel - Her Fearful Symmetry.  While her masterful character development carries through, her storytelling does not, and it leaves you cold at the end, as if she ran out of time or ink.  My advice would be to allow The Time Travelers Wife to transport you through a mystical timeline of love and hope, and to let it end there.

Jun 11, 2010

my lame return to blogging continues....

The TT questions are brought to you by Berleen, the color of my rocking tan I've got going and the number 45.

Did you pass your driver's test the first time you took it?
I totally rocked it.  I took the test at the easiest test center in the whole world.  It was like - drive down this empty rural street, turn around, drive back.  Hooray - you passed!!

You are sitting outside on your deck in your comfy lawn chair, feet are up and the temp outside is perfect. There are no bugs to bite you and ruin the night... it's peaceful and all you can hear is the birds singing and an occasional cricket. Whats in your hand?
A beer.  Duh.

How many graduation parties and weddings do you have to attend this summer? Ok.. how many are you invited to?
Good job on the correction - I am already feeling the dread.  So far, it's one and one.

There is no other choice in the matter - you must transform into a different race, but the catch is that you get to pick which race. What will you now be?
Weird question, but I will go from one mix  to another.  How about a mix of Black and Asian.  It seems to be working for Tiger and Kimora.

Someone once said that the grass isn't greener on the other side... are you jealous of your neighbor's lawn?

No.  We live in some black hole of darkness where the grass refuses to grow.  I am, however, jealous of the houses at the end of the street that seem to be graced by the sun and are thus partial to photosynthesis or whatever it is that is making them so lush and weed free.

Bud is walking along a beach barefooted and steps on a piece of glass buried deep in the sand. His foot is bleeding... does he cry, swear or stomp around on his other foot?
Yes.  In that order.  And then he finds the biggest boobed bimbo on the beach to nurse him back to health.

I'm gonna take you fishing... are you going to be a whiney baby and not bait your own hook and when you catch a fish am I gonna have to take it off the hook for you?
No.  I am going to be a man, and bait my own hook, and gut and clean my own fish.  Then I'm going to season that son of a gun up, and cook you the best fish dinner you've ever had in your life.

From a Facebook friend: When asked what would you bring with you to a deserted island, why doesn't anyone answer "a boat"?
The same reason that they don't ask the genie that offers them three wishes for an infinite number of wishes.

Hamburger buns - sesame seeds or not?
Seed 'em up.  But I'm not gonna cry if you offer me one without.

From Demon #1: Whats your favorite flavor of water?I didn't know water came in flavors.  I guess I like water flavored water.

Eclipse is coming out this month... are you going to see it?No.  Not gonna read it, not gonna see it.  You Twilight-obsessed people scare me more than the Harry Potter people.  Really.

Happy Thursday!!

May 17, 2010

100 Books: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

I haven't been updating you all, but I have been reading some books.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is one that I have seen recommended often, and I already had it on my bookshelf.  I truly enjoyed reading it.  It is a coming of age story set in the early 1900's in Brooklyn.  It was interesting to watch how Francie and her family grow, change, and adapt to their circumstances.  Francie and her brother grow up a bit blissfully unaware of just how poor they really are, and I think that innocence in a child is something to which I could relate.

The book gave an honest and vivid snapshot of life during those times, but at the same time showed the struggles that any family faces.  The character development is natural and engaging.  The reminders to take in each breath and to live life are refreshing.  It was a wonderful picture of the everyman's quest toward the American dream.

If you read or have already read this book, I would love to hear your thoughts.

May 16, 2010


Oh my goodness - I have a blog!!  I forgot for a minute.........  Oh well, here I am again.   I don't even have anything to say.  I just figured I better check in.  I see that I left you with some lovely snow to look at.  I guess I should be about changing that.  Maybe a project for next week. 

I am blown away lately at how fast things change.  And how people change.  And also how much some people NEVER change.  I am an astute observer - I notice every little detail about things.  A question was recently posed about whether one is or is not a diva.  I think I can be.  Because I am always noticing everything, I am painfully aware when things are out of place or not as they should be.  I don't always feel it necessary to comment, and I actually think I do not advocate as much as I should for some things, but I am always aware.  I always notice.

In contrast to that, or maybe because of it, I have been moving around in a bit of a numb state.  Trying to detox, to shed the old skin, and grow into the next phase.  Not sure where that is leading me at the moment, but feeling the shift and leaning into it all the same.

Mar 29, 2010

down with the sickness

Oh my goodness...... I feel like garbage.  Breathing is so much more challenging than it needs to be.  Nothing is helping.  I am so overly medicated right now.  I am definitely going to have to visit the pharmacy, sign away a child, and get the good stuff.

I just want it to end.

I am so minimally exposed to people, I can't even believe I caught this thing!  I am so disappointed!

I have a feeling my immune system is compromised by my state of mind.  I think this is how the stress is manifesting itself.

Hopefully all of it exits quickly.  Because I am so NOT down with the sickness.

Mar 16, 2010

delicious endeavors, vol. 2

There are some yummy yummy in my tummy ideas this week.  (Like these.......mmmmm.......)

Please stop by Delicious Endeavors and check out volume 2.  Challenge yourself to trying something new this week!

Happy Eats!

Mar 15, 2010

mushroom onion pork chops

I do not typically cook from a recipe.  Even when I do, I find myself not measuring, tweaking and changing things, and always adding extra spice.  With this in mind, I want to give you a "recipe" for a meal I made last week. 

It started with me having pork chops, and not knowing what to do with them.

I heated my frying pan and added olive oil. 
Added the pork chops to the pan.
Seasoned with salt, fresh ground pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and adobo.

As they were frying, I chopped an onion.  I flipped the chops when they had browned on one side, and added the onion to the pan.

When the chops were cooked through on both sides, I think I added a pinch of minced garlic to the pan, then removed the chops to a plate.  I put about a half cup of white wine to the pan, and used a whisk to deglaze the pan while the wine reduced.  I then whisked in a splash or two of half and half, and added a can of cream of mushroom soup. 

Once blended and heated through, I added the chops back to the pan, covered, and reduced the heat to med-low. 

Cooked a pot of white rice, and served the chops and sauce over the rice.  Add something green - this meal cries for a salad, green beans, steamed broccoli, etc.

Yum yum!!

And for something I threw together, it was a delicious dish that tasted complicated, but wasn't.  I will definitely be making this again.  I could see adding mushrooms or broccoli to the dish as well.  Play and have fun - that is the point after all.  Don't let a recipe bind you!


Mar 11, 2010

100 Books: A Million Little Pieces

Last summer I expressed my desire to try to become more well-read, and somehow I have actually managed to squeeze in some reading here and there.  I have been adopting the method of reading two books at once - one on the nightstand, and one in my gigantic purse.  Having that book on the go is great for me.  It is amazing how often one is idly waiting while out and about, and having the book handy fills these moments quite nicely.

First up was A Million Little Pieces, by James Frey.  This was already on my bookshelf from when it first came out.  In fact, it still had a bookmark in it from when I had begun reading it in 2006 when it came out, and then real life got in the way.  I just pulled the bookmark out and began again.

I breezed through it pretty quickly and easily.  It nicely coincided with a series of appointments and monitoring and dealing with doctors for surrogacy #2 (failed attempt #1), so I was able to appreciate his sterile and under the microscope existence in the rehab facility.

I related to his defiance to following the rules and insistence that he would succeed his own way.  I understood the powerful draw of addiction, and how it manifested itself in other things when the main source was removed.

And here's the thing..... I read it as a work of fiction.  I waited until I was through with the book before looking into the controversy surrounding it upon its release.  It seems that the mistake that was made was that the author/publisher categorized the book as non-fiction, and then everyone began challenging it's validity.  I'm not sure how it was ever possibly allowed to be that way, as there is no way that he would have been able to accurately remember or portray the first third to half of the book as he was still detoxing at that point.  I am quite sure he has no clear memories of that time, and there was certainly no mention of him keeping diaries through that time.

But he messed with Oprah.  And nobody gets away with making Oprah look like a fool.  So I suppose he had to pay.

Overall, I would recommend the book, as long as you take it as a work of fiction about conquering addiction, and not a non-fiction how-to guide.  And as long as the f-word does not offend you.

Mar 10, 2010

more open letters

Time for some more open letters........  Sometimes people just need to know.

An Open Letter To.........

LINDSAY LOHAN:  Tell me that this lawsuit is all just some publicity stunt, and that you don't really think the e*trade commercial had anything to do with you?!  Because if you did, I don't even know where to start.  Crazy narcissistic fool.

MEDIA:  I don't care if Tiger cheated or not.  As long is he didn't cheat on me.  So stop chasing him everywhere.  Nobody cares.

SPRING:  Where the heck are you??  Let's do this thing already!!

TIM BURTON:  Stop making movies that make me pee my pants and have lifelong recurring nightmares.  And no, adding 3D doesn't make it better.  It makes it creepier.  Yikes!!

BANANAS:  No worries.  You will be yummy muffins in the morning.  Mmmm.

NBC:  Wow.  You really messed up.  But I would like to thank you for the fact that Conan's Twitter feed is now one of my favorites.  He's even funnier now than ever.

COMCAST:  I'm not buying it.  I think "xfinity" really means "we are charging you more for the same thing."

U-VERSE:  Any time.  Really.  Anytime you want to round the corner and be available in my neighborhood is more than fine with me.

AGAIN TO MY READERS:  Thanks so much for reading and commenting.  I appreciate you taking the time to stop by my little corner of the interwebs.

Mar 9, 2010

delicious endeavors, vol. 1

Welcome to the first edition of the Delicious Endeavors Blog Carnival.  Please visit the link, and enjoy the wonderful recipes and tips share by the amazing contributors.  Be adventurous and give something new a try!  And then let me know what works and doesn't.  Then we can use what we've learned to bless our families with some home-cooked love.  (My kids always want to know "What's in that?"  "Love," I tell them.  "I baked the love right in....")

Here are some that caught my eye:

Over at Goodies From Granny's House they are cooking up some pumpkin squares.  I can vouch for these - they never last very long around here.

Recession dining tips can be found here .  A lot of the standard meals in our family's repertoire are adaptations of the depression meals that my grandmother made.  They are warm, comforting, easy, and inexpensive.

And soon to be appearing in my kitchen, Upside Down Meatloaf.  I have not made meatloaf in ages as it is not my husband's favorite, but I am going to give it another shot.  Maybe this recipe will change his mind!

Go check out the carnival and don't forget to leave some comment love.

Happy Eats!!

Mar 8, 2010

ranch dressing

One of Outback Steakhouse's little secrets, is that they make everything homemade, fresh daily.  It is why, in my opinion, their bread, dressings, and croutons taste so darn yummy.  I love an Outback salad more than most salads (once I have scooped the yucky tomatoes onto hubby's plate, of course).  :)

My favorite is the ranch.  They serve is as a salad dressing as well as a condiment.  Mmm mmmmmm.  I suggest you make it, and then eat it with everything until it's gone.


1 tsp Ranch salad dressing mix (the kind in the packet - buttermilk recipe is best)
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup mayonnaise
1/8 - 1/4 tsp (to taste) fresh ground pepper
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp paprika

Mix all ingredients together until well blended.  Cover and chill (overnight if possible).


buttermilk and more

I have been on a cooking streak lately. 

I pretty much run hot and cold with cooking - I'm either into it or I'm not.  When I'm not, my family suffers.  Luckily, my husband and daughter are pretty good cooks on their own.  It is just easier on everyone when I am contributing. 

Furthermore, I don't particularly enjoy cooking for people outside my immediate family because it triggers my perfectionist tendancies, as I don't usually cook with recipes and I like to use spices.  It is hard for me to cook to appeal to the masses.  I already have one steady dissenter in my own ranks, I'm not sure if I could take any more than that.  

This past week I went out of my way to put food on the table every day.  I went so far as to dig out the cookbooks and try some new recipes.  It was like jumping through rabbit holes.... one recipe required buttermilk, and once I had purchased buttermilk I needed to find ways to use it up, which led to a whole slew of new recipes. 

In the end, we made two new main dishes, salad dressing, bread, chicken salad, pot roast and mashed potatoes (yummy comfort food), and used the buttermilk in four separate recipes.  Good eats for sure.

And since I am on a roll, I will be participating in the Delicious Endeavors Recipe Carnival.  Look for it Tuesday!

Feb 26, 2010

can mommies have fun? are they even allowed to?

I am following a blog about marriage..... ready, set, wife ....... check it out!!  It is co-written by Cathleen Carr and Robin Okrant (author of the fabulous Living Oprah .... check that out too!).  They posted recently about marriages and babies, and city artsy folks vs suburban mommies.  With one foot firmly planted in each camp, I felt I may have a unique perspective on this dichotomy.

To say that these are two separate worlds is truly an understatement.  As much as I would love to blend them together, it never really fits.  It is more like that pair of really cute shoes that you buy even though they pinch.....  The thing is, you can never be quite free and uninhibited for the non-parent crowd, and you can never be quite super-mom enough for the suburban mommy set.

I live in a community of Stepford Wife Super Moms.  If you want to feel inadequate about your parenting, move here.  Maybe it is just my insecurities speaking, but I feel surrounded to the point of choking by stay-at-home moms who do nothing other than run their over-scheduled toddlers from activity to activity.  Of course there are exceptions, but for most of them it seems that their very lives have been reduced to nothing else.

On the other end of the spectrum, are my free-spirited childless friends.  They are generally this way by choice and are happy with that.  To them, I am the old-fuddy duddy who can't go out on a school night or doesn't fathom whisking off to Vegas for the weekend.  I am the one who needs notice to make it out on a Saturday night.

Somewhere in the middle is me.  But the thing is, it is just where I belong.  I am not sure I would ever be content to be squarely in either category.  We had kids young, young enough I suppose to not truly appreciate how exhausted and inexperienced we were at the time.  We made mistakes, learned from them, and grew into an indestructible unit.  Now my carefree side needs to have crazy nights out with wine and dancing, and the other side loves my children deeply and infinitely and cherishes quiet nights reading stories and playing board games by the fire.  The women who gave me the most pressure to go out to the club when I was a young mom who spent Saturday nights home with my baby, are the same ones who look down on me now when I choose to trust a family member to watch my not-so-little ones while I enjoy an evening out.

I think the key to this balance for me lies in the fact that I have such a supportive husband who is an active parent.  He does NOT call caring for his children "babysitting."  He trusts me inherently and knows that at some point in even the wildest nights out, all I want to do is get home and lie in his arms.  We both know that being parents does not mean surrendering your entire former self to the job.  It also requires knowing when to stay home and nurture those babies and squeeze every ounce out of those fleeting childhood moments.

Everyone lives the life they choose, and for me, it lies somewhere in the middle of these two opposite worlds.  It is where I belong.  We live in a stable, quiet community where our children can thrive, and we have a network of friends who like to have fun.  I have happy, well-adjusted kids, and I have amazing friends.  I would never be truly happy giving up one for the other.  And at the same time, I respect the lives that others have chosen to live as well.  I would just ask that they do the same and not judge me.  And more than that, I wish the gap wasn't so large between the various camps.

To answer the question posed in the article, how does having children affect a marriage?  The answer is Profoundly.  And forever.  And as much as you allow it to.  And hopefully, if you are as lucky as I, you will be able to be who you are, and have a partner for the journey who makes the experience as incredible and amazing as my husband has.

Feb 18, 2010

thunks by teens

Welcome to the February 18th version of Thursday Thunks!

This week we will answer some crazy questions brought to you by Berleen's demon spawns (teenagers), the color of snowflakes, and the number 7200.

They are 15 and 13... that is your warning.

1. Why are computer mouses called mouses?
Well, I call them computer mice.  Because it is grammatically correct.
But if I am to reveal my inner computer geek, I would suggest asking Douglas Engelbart, who would probably tell you it had something to do with how the cord looked like a tail..... or something like that.

2. If a guy has no money and he goes into a bar does he get kicked out?
I wouldn't know.  I do know that this this is not a problem for a girl though.  :)

3. Why does Taryn hate rat terrier puppies?
I don't understand the question.  Is this because I am old?

4. Why do polar bears not moo?
If polar bears mooed, what would cows do?

5. Why do people let doves fly at their weddings?
People like to spend lots of money to show off.  Nothing about doves does anything to solidify a marriage.

6. Why are no two snowflakes alike?
How do we know for sure that their not?

7. Why do people want things that don't work? (ads in newspapers - like junk batteries wanted)
I have watched hours and hours of that show Hoarders, and I still couldn't tell you.  I do know that cleaning up their house doesn't fix what's broken there though.  This is more of a refusing to throw out what breaks situation.  I truly have no idea what compels a person to get in their car and drive to where the junk is and bring it home.  Let's assume that have a really good idea for repurposing the item.

8. Why do we have to wear shoes at school?
There is no dollar amount that would be high enough to compel me to walk around barefoot on the floors of a school.  Ick.

9. Why do people wear socks with sandals?
Ummmm...... because all the cool kids are doing it?

10. Why do we always want bear hugs?
I don't.  Hugs shouldn't hurt.  I do like regular hugs though.  May I have one, please?

11. Why do dogs lick people's toes? And why do they like to lick lotion?

12. Why do people get this little thing pierced - as she points to the little thing on her ear.
You see, dear sweet teen, some people like to go all out of their way to make a statement.  Even at the risk of personal injury and pain.

13. Why do dogs like to eat out of litterboxes?
Ok, seriously???  What is wrong with your dog???
Make this reason #437 why I will never own a dog.

14. Have you ever eaten a sandwhich that had really weird things in it?
I think weird is subjective.  To me, tomatoes are weird.

15. Why isn't snow purple?
When are the adults getting home to write the questions?

16. When the earth was made why was the sky made blue?
Please see answer above.

17. Why do cats like laser lights?
I don't know why, but I do know that they are compelled, to the point of exhaustion, to chase them.  Just be careful not to give yours a seizure, k?

18. When someone invented Santa Clause, why did they make him fat?
There are a lot of WHY questions this week.  Reminds me of toddlers.
Oh, and because he is a right jolly old elf, and we all know that only fat people are happy.  Skinny people are hungry.  And angry.

19. What do you think Santa does when he's not making toys?
Adorable.  Really.  We all know that the elves make the toys.  Not Santa.

20. Why is it that suddenly I don't care anymore?
Because this was waaaaaaayyyy  a lot of questions compared to most weeks.  Don't overthink.

21. Why are the healthiest things for you most expensive?
Beauty is pain.  And expensive.

They did warn us.....

Feb 4, 2010


I really don't like to be scared.  I don't read Steven King, and I don't watch Final Destination.  Silence of the Lambs made me scared of the dark to this day.  I always assume there is a man standing in the corner that I can't see wearing night vision goggles.  When I go to the bathroom at night, I always half think there is some killer standing in the shower waiting to get me.  I can't tell you for sure if there is or not - I'm too scared to peak.  :)

I am always much more terrified of the realistic.  Serial killer on the loose?  Possible.  Someone standing outside my window watching me?  Possible.  Freddie and Jason?  Not so much.

One of my favorite shows is Criminal Minds.  Except every now and then an episode is so terrifying that I have to take a break from it for a while.  In the meantime, it builds up on my tivo, until there is practically an entire season on there.  Lately I have been filling my insomnia ridden nights with episodes.  So far, so good.  I just hope I don't run into an episode like those kidnapped soccer girls, or the guy watching people through their webcams.  Cuz that episode made me scared of my laptop for weeks!

Feb 3, 2010

simple woman's daybook - 2010.02.02

FOR TODAY... from My Daybook

Outside my window...  a groundhog who saw his shadow, and letting us know that this winter will be continuing on and on and.....

I am thinking...  I need to get away.

I am thankful for... the time I spend each day with my beautiful children and getting to witness their creative imaginations and growing senses of humor.

I am wearing...  yoga pants and a t-shirt.  My standard uniform.

I am remembering... a time when things made sense.

I am going... to start planning some vacations.

I am currently reading... A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.  Amazing so far.

I am hoping... for some warmer weather.  Winter is not my thing.

On my mind... what do I want to be when I grow up?

Noticing that... The days are running together.  I can go quite a long time without leaving the house or having anyone check in on me.

Pondering these words... "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

From the kitchen... DH made some delish chocolate peanut butter squares.  Yum-O!!

Around the house... laundry, laundry, and more laundry.

One of my favorite things~ laughter.  There is never enough.

From my picture journal...

Feb 2, 2010


The problem with doctors is that they never have enough information.  The problem with the internet is that it has too much.  I am forever self-diagnosing myself with things.  Extreme things.  Unlikely things.  I think the most recent is Lupus.  (haha!!)

I think this self-diagnosis, for me at least, is that I can explore several opinions all at once.  I can see which things match my symptoms, and I can see which symptoms are typical of different diseases.  I don't know about you, but for the past decade or so, every time I have gotten desperate enough to take my ailments to a medical professional, I am looked over, hear "Uh huh, uh huh," and am prescribed an antibiotic or physical therapy to fix that UNKNOWN ailment right up.  NO DIAGNOSIS.

And don't even get me started on the whole "You want to see your DR???  Uh no.  You can see a PA or nurse practitioner, who is 5 minutes out of college and has less of a  freakin' clue what's wrong with you than even the doctor does."  And oh, don't forget to write your copay check on your way out the door, thankyouverymuch.

One of my personal frustrations with this tireless process is that I tend not to have typical reactions to things.  For example, I normally have a low blood pressure, so by the time a doctor decides it is high, my heart has practically beaten right out of my chest.  And EVERY SINGLE TIME I am seen by a doctor for any reason, they ask me if I have had my thyroid checked.  And then they send me for the bloodwork, and later tell me my results are "normal."  For whom??  If my symptoms are enough to flag every doctor to the problem, then perhaps my baseline is not in the normal range!  But when I suggest such a thing, I am summarily dismissed.

My last visit to the ER was on Thanksgiving, and was only at the insistence of my entire extended family.  After enough pressure, I went.  An exam by a PA, a chest x-ray, an EKG, blood test for Lyme Disease and some other unknown ailments, and an exam by a doctor who never let me finish an answer to his rapid fire questions and refusal to look me in the eye later........  I left with a prescription for an antibiotic and no diagnosis.  Somewhere after all the exams and waiting to be discharged, I began to unleash my fury at the inept medical system on my husband, mother, and sister.  My sister who will hopefully become my doctor once she completes medical school, and was able to obtain me a diagnosis with two second opinions via text message as she sat and watched the debacle unfold in front of her.

And I guess I am not dying from anything, since they never called me with any blood work results.  (*insert eyeroll here*)

So as I sit here in wait of doctors to yet again interpret what is not within normal levels (for whom???) and avoid self-diagnosing and mapping every possible scenario, there is nothing I can do but trust my body to do what I know it can do, and trust God to provide as only he can, and continue to have faith. 

Jan 31, 2010


I have incredible faith.  It is what has carried me through my entire life.  When I have been the most lost, it is what has guided me.  I don't understand why it seems that there are so many rough roads I must travel in life to reach my destination, but it has always been my journey.  I have to be broken down before I can be built up.  It is why I have such a deep appreciation for what I have and it is also why I always have the resolve to continue forward.

Jan 28, 2010

thunking in abscence of original thought

Welcome to the January 21st version of Thursday Thunks!
This week we will answer some crazy questions brought to you by Berleen, the color white chocolate caramel and the number 0.   (My answers in bold.)

1. Pants on the Ground....  No.  Stop it.  I don't watch that show anymore, and refuse to Google the video.  I also would not watch that baby dance video.  I also don't post copycat Facebook statuses.  Really, stop it.  Right now.
2. To compliment Kimber's question from last week.... have you ever fell down the stairs?  I didn't do last weeks thunks, so I don't know what the question was, but I fall down AND up the stairs with more regularity than what is probably normal for a person my age.

3. Have you ever written to a company about their product? Ever called them?  Oh, hell yes.  I am one of THOSE.  I have worked in customer service enough to have both a high tolerance for the poor saps doing the job, and a breaking point and persistence to know that when I have had enough that I will keep going until my voice is heard.

4. Your dog/cat/snake/iguana/pet skunk (or just fill in your pet's species) goes to the vet. Ok, you take them to the vet... most pets wouldn't go on their own. The vet tells you that your species has cancer. Do you:
  • a. tell them to pull out the needle and put them to sleep on the spot
  • b. take them home and let them live out their life until the end
  • c. same as b. except you don't let them get to the suffering stage
  • d. go full steam ahead with cancer treatments
Ohhhhhhh.  My cat has cancer and had surgery this week.  It didn't work.  Days are numbered.  :(   
I am not a pet person, and if you asked me I would tell you that I would NEVER drop a bunch of cash into saving a pet.  Until the rare occasions that my pets need it, then I get all soft and sad and do what I have to do for them.
So, to answer the question, we are probably at c.

5. What is your favorite comfort food?  Carbs.  Or ice cream.

6. If your child was put in jail for putting a gun in their spouses mouth and pulling the trigger (even though the gun wasn't loaded), strangling them and breaking their arm... would you post bail for them?   Is that what Charlie Sheen did on Christmas?  I doubt I would ever have the cash to post bail for anyone.  But for my child I bet I would work it out.  Plus, I have girls, so if they are capable of doing such a thing to their spouse, the spouse is either way weak, or has it coming.

7. If elephants had wings, how many feathers do you think they would have on each wing?  Really?  I don't even care how many feathers are on the wings of animals that are supposed to have them.

8. Is there anything growing in your refrigerator right now?  Cleaned it out yesterday.
9. What did you do with your Thursdays while we were on a break?  I didn't thunk.  In fact, I didn't even blog in protest.  Did it work?  :)

10. Would you donate to the Kimber Ark Building Fund and donate wood? She is about to float away after all...   Is this like that Evan Almighty movie?  Drowning in snow this winter, Kimber.  Trade?

11. If I were to send you a letter and I wanted to put a little heart sticker on the back of the envelope, what color sticker would you like it to be?  I love mail!!  Let's be penpals!!  Use any color you want - just write!!  Too desperate?  Then just leave a comment, ok?  Somebody??  Anybody???

Jan 21, 2010


I have not been able to figure out what to write here.  I hate staring at the blank page and not having any inspiration.  I hate that I haven't been up to much or interacting with people or working so that I have precious little anecdotes to share.

Instead there is only this blank page...............

Any requests for a topic???

Jan 6, 2010


I was going through my archives, and found the following in my drafts, which I wrote last year.......... wrestling as I always do, with who I am and where I fit in this world.  All I know is that it is a constant search, and a journey I may be on for the rest of my life.  But as long as I keep moving forward, the discovery will be worth the effort.


Sometimes I feel like an onion who is not able to peel away the layers. It's like I know they are there, but don't feel safe to expose the center. I feel like my time has come to get right with myself and true to myself. It seems as though the more I am able to see my true self the more I am realize that not everything I am doing fits just right, and at the same time I see more clearly the areas that I enjoy and can put more attention into. There are some things that need to change. I wish I had the courage to move ahead. Sometimes I can be so strong, but mostly I feel so weak. I think that sometimes it takes a long time to get to the point where you see the truth, and then the next step is mustering the courage to take action on it. I am starting to see that the layers need to be peeled, I just need the strength it will take to peel them.

Jan 3, 2010

this is my time

A new year has started, and it seems the overall opinion has been good riddance to 2009, and welcome 2010.  I can't say that I disagree.  The year was certainly filled with its fair share of personal struggles and challenges that I am glad to leave in the past.

In  order to see things in a better light, this is also the end of a decade. When looking at the larger chunk of time, things were not so bad.  My family has still had struggles and challenges, but they have mostly made us stronger and better equipped to handle the new challenges we face. 

I am still unemployed, and apprehensive and nervous about how it will play out.  I am trying to approach it as an opportunity to make changes for the better.  Hopefully I will receive the support I need to do so, and more importantly have the strength regardless of the support.

The past decade has included our wedding, births, deaths, the purchase of our first home, sacrifice, reward, and the shift from entering adulthood to settling into ourselves. 

If asked then where I would be today, I know I thought I would be more settled and secure than I am.  Now I wonder if that will ever be the case.  I was so much more carefree back then and always had a good time, but made bad decisions that have followed me.  Fortunately, I also made some good ones that are also still with me.

Overall, I am hopeful and excited that this next decade will be our time.  I had a mentor once counsel me strongly to examine what it is I truly cherished in life, and to make it my reality.  This is my time.  THIS  IS MY TIME.