Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Warming the Tundra

I am supposed to be writing. Instead I read several old posts on this blog. Reading the older ones made my life feel new to me. Nostalgia is a comforting waste of time. With Lee at college I find myself becoming more and more sappy. It is starting to become embarrassing. Drama Queen was describing a friend to me the other day. "She is so nice, she likes to help people, she is like you without the insults." That description of me was apt and made me laugh for days. I do not want to change, but having my heart broke, for what may be the first time in my life, has made an impact on me.
This is sad to say but I have met few people in my life I cannot live without. That is not to say that I do not like people, I just tend to enjoy whichever friends are with me and not worry too much about the ones who are not. In the same vein, even though I have married twice, there has never been a man in my life it would crush me to lose. That is why I was shocked to be standing in a produce section in September and realize that weird crushing feeling that I could not shake was heartbreak. Lee, Beezus, and Ramona had all left me for the school year. In the evenings I would wander around the house trying to find something to keep me busy.My mind was having trouble focusing. I could not remember ever feeling this way before. I can now truly say there are five people in this world I cannot live without. I wonder if this warming spot in my tundra like heart will spread and soon I will gush and love everyone. I hope not, that would be annoying.

Monday, October 11, 2010

My Cripple Creek Expedition

 Even though there happens to be  lots to do in Cripple Creek I did not really participate in many of these activities. Being too cheap to gamble, and on a rather wobbly wagon you may not expect me to choose vacations with gambling and drinking being the main themes; Dh, and our friends have drug me to the casinos again. Really I had a great time. I had intended to spend the day seeing the sites, and walking around gazing at the beautiful scenery.  Instead I read, napped, and observed several poker games.
It was already dark and cold when we arrived. I stepped out of the car in shorts and was shocked by the sub 40 temps. I found a few of our friends that had drove up separately, put ten dollars in a slot machine cashed out at twenty, and went up to read until one in the morning. The idea of reading so late was exciting because I did not have to work the next day; I could sleep in. At 7:30 my eyes sprang open and would not shut. DH had came to bed at five in the morning so I was trying not to wake him. This was difficult because the bed was smaller than a coffee table book.  I read until 8:30 when everybody else woke up. This was shaping up to be a lovely weekend. The whole group met downstairs for breakfast. Anna ordered a mimosa at the casino bar. The bartender had no idea what this was, so after several people tried to explain it to him he handed her a glass of champagne. She carried it into the restaurant and mixed it with two glasses of orange juice and handed me one. In my need to not be rude I drank it. So here I was on my year of no drinking starting the day with a breakfast drink. I thought of having another, but I resisted.
I watched a few hands of blackjack, a few spins by Anna and her husband on slots, then went up to read and have a nap. They woke me later when everybody decided to walk down the street and visit other casinos. They are all about the same. I spent a few hours watching a five card high poker game. There the mysterious allure of these places finally revealed itself to me. As I watched a nearly 80 year old man play and make friends with the other players, while he was addressed by all of the dealers by his first name, it occurred to me that this was a social club and the money spent betting was the entry fee. Much like all of the money spent on licensed sports gear. When you are wearing that new jersey, or a cool retro one, you are automatically in a club that gives you free high fives and conversation starters.Gamblers are the same. They meet in casinos, drink free drinks, and are a part of something.  Just by standing behind them and offering up cheers or condolences I was allowed free bottles of water and limited access to their club. That is also where the crowning moment of my weekend came. Under that too good to be true lighting I was carded twice. I was given a wrist band the second time so that I could readily prove I was over 21. Since I am closer to forty than to twenty-one this made me very happy.
After eating a large supper I watched some three card poker with my main goal being to score more free water. Oh, and during that supper I drank 1 1/2 glasses of Fetzer Gewurztraminer. Not being ready for bed, but bored with gaming, I headed over to a different casino where the The Family Juls Band was playing. I approached the bartender for a drink and was quickly carded. Of course I had not thought to bring id since I was not gambling or drinking. I explained that I had only wanted water and was only here to listed to the band. I was escorted to the band area and was told I would not be allowed on the gaming floor. I was beginning to love this place. The band was great. They did an excellent job on some of my favorite songs. 
The next morning I slept late and  then read until everybody had either spent all of their money or had gotten the gambling bug out of their system. It was nice to know we were driving to a place where winter was still a few weeks away.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Yes, I am a pig

Most days I believe I am a relatively sane person. Then occasionally a reason comes along to make me doubt that long held belief.
Monday, at work, it was just one of those days. Everything my boss said or did got on my nerves. I really was glad when she went to lunch, because this meant I could be alone for awhile. This is not meant to reflect on my boss, I get incredibly bitchy sometimes.
So there I was alone at work, a long line of customers stretched out in front of me, when somebody started persistently knocking on the back door. I thought it was the ups man even though he is usually patient. Smiling apologetically to the line I ran to get the door. Quietly I sang 'I'm coming' in a cartoon voice. I opened the door and there stood a  witty old lady holding out a plate of pecan bars. 'Not fast enough' she answered with a wink. I thanked her quickly and set the bars aside. I could feel through the plate that they were still warm.  Here it is worth mentioning that I had not eaten yet that day.
After the customers had all been helped I ate two of the six bars. They were delicious, a nice crisp crust covered in that sugar filled goo that fills pecan pies then a nice layer of pecans. I wish I had more right now. Usually when this kind of treat is brought into the office they are placed on the back table so everyone can have a share of the bounty. I set them on the back table and went back to work. Reasoning that she had brought them in because I had been extremely helpful on Saturday I decided to eat one more, that would half, that would be fair. I ate it slowly since it was my last one.
While I was working I remembered that Saturday I had been scheduled to work an extremely busy day alone. I had worked fast, put in an extra hour, and was still greeted on Monday with a list of complaints because I had missed a few of the deadlines by an hour. Yeah, I deserved another bar. So I ate one; the plate looked bare, nobody brings in just four cookie bars. It was going to be obvious I had ate too many. 'Fuck it,' I thought. I ate the other two. They were just as good as the first two. I threw the plate away and pretended they had never existed.
All afternoon I worried that the lady might come back and mention those damn cookies. She did not. Nobody ever knew about my cookie monster like act. Except that I had a tummy ache. Serves me right.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


I would really like to attend The Rally To Restore Sanity, but alas, taking a trip would be fiscally irresponsible right now. Instead I am going to use the next few minutes as personal rant time.

A while back I posted about Fria Chica's boyfriend, the father of her baby. Well they have been broke up for sometime now. Fresh out of  a six months in forced rehab  he came up for a visit. She made it clear they were still broke up, she would like him to be a part of their child's life, but she needed her space. He moved in next door. Being a group of optimists we tried to see the best. We thought maybe this would work, he could share the responsibility of raising a child while moving on with his own life. Deep down we knew this wasn't going to happen. It hasn't. He sits in his house with the door open, the sound of Eminem spills into the courtyard, watching for her to come in our out so he can rush out to speak with her. He calls the family or stops by to see if we know where she is. She parks her car at my mom's and sneaks back home so he will think she is out. She is starting to talk of moving back in with Mom so he will leave her alone. He is afraid of my mom. She has told him the police will be called if he sets foot on her property. No one doubts that she is excited by the possibility of this actually happening.
To flesh out this character I will explain more about him. He does not call his musical hero Eminem, he calls him Marshall. This is because he believes they are alike. When they meet they will be close friends. They are going to meet because he is working on a project that Marshall will want to be a spokesperson for. He is going to make it rich on the Internet by supplanting facebook. I have no doubt somebody will, that is the way of the Internet, but it will not be him. His only innovation so far is that his sight will be focusing on mentoring. Many people are great mentors, they have achieved something and want to help others to do the same. He has achieved several d.u.i.s , d.w.i.s a few stints in jail and rehab for an addiction problem he has not quit. His justification for not quitting alcohol and drugs is that when you are rich nobody cares what you do. He is working as a waiter, at least I think he still is, he has not kept a job longer than two months in all of the four years I have known him. So if you want him to teach anything to our high school students he is waiting for his chance. That is his target age group. He has already contacted our computer teacher in the hopes one of her classes will help him build his web page. That is right he has no computer knowledge either. She asked me later if I had any idea who this idiot was that had called her. He told her of his plan to make it rich in the networking business. When she asked what her students would get out of the deal he responded with 'the satisfaction of knowing they had helped'.  I do hope someday he pulls his head out and finds some success in something, maybe then he will pay some child support.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

The day off

I am hiding out in my house. Today is my first day off work since school started. With my first look at the schedule I was excited. A day off, home alone, no appointments to haul children to, this was a gift. A gift that needed protecting. I bluntly told Fria Chica, Mom, Anna and her husband, that they were not to come to my house on Wednesday; they would be locked out. I knew I could say this to them and they would understand. I informed them that if they told my brother I was to be home they would be killed. His feelings are more easily bruised. The only worry left was dh, his feelings are tender also . I did not tell him I was having a day off, and was just hoping it would not be a day where he popped in and out of the house several times.  Then during an unrelated conversation he reminded me that Wednesday was the start of dove season, not the chocolates. That meant he would be staying Tuesday night at the river drinking with his buddies. All day Wednesday would be spent killing God's innocent creatures. I was relieved.

As I have whined about in another post my several of my family members are going through rough times at the moment. Being a fixer and a worrier this has caused a lot of stress for me lately. My brother has a few personality issues and depression problems that have made being a part of the work force hard for him. Many times when he is between jobs Mom and I have been able to provide a bit of a cushion for him. This time however it just is not feasible. We make sure he has a place to come, talk, and have a meal, but today I need a break, for my sanity.
Miss Universe has been keeping to herself too much lately. I need to reach out to her and see how she is doing. This past year she has left her husband, lived alone, drank heavily, had boyfriends, moved back in with her husband, and is spending a few weekends in jail to atone for a crime she did or did not commit. I worry about her, but I always know she will come out of this just fine, she always does.
Drama Queen. What can I say about her. She hit a downward spiral four years ago and cannot make her way back up. Last spring when the girls moved in with me if felt final. All summer it felt final. Even when I cautioned myself that she would want the girls to move back in with her when school started my heart would not believe it. She entered and left rehab three times this summer. Each time she would call a family member and insist that they drive to Wichita to take her to rehab, if not she would kill herself. She has grown fond of talking about how suicidal she is. I always refused. Fria Chica and Mom started to refuse after she had checked herself back out after two emotional days of checking her in and making arrangements for her. She sucks the energy out of a person. Once when I was leaving Lawrence I had to stop by Wichita and check on her, Mom insisted. She let me in then passed back out on her couch. I made my way through the bottles and debris to the bathroom. Before I left I kissed her goodbye and asked three times if she was going to lock the door behind me. She called the next day to talk. She had had a vague dream about me. She had no recollection of my having been there. The unlocked door had bothered her all morning, she knew someone had been in her house, but had no idea what they had done. She was relieved to find out that it was me, and that I had not violated her. I didn't mention the kiss.
Since her family had quit answering her calls for help she called friend. Worried, her friend called the police to check on her. She was drunk and belligerent when they arrived on the scene. She was put into rehab, but had talked her way out by the end of the weekend. My sister is a beautiful, skilled actor. They agreed that she wasn't masking any mental illnesses with her drinking, she just need outpatient treatment to help control her alcohol problem. You and I would have believed her too. I have seen her in action, she is good.
While I was checking out of the motel to leave Ks. City she called to talk. I stepped out of line and sat in a large overstuffed chair to hear about her weekend. We laughed as she told me about stumbling in her apartment and hitting her head on the mantle. She had no idea where in Wichita she had left her vehicle. She had told off a few of her boyfriends. I was regaled by her stories. She was in a buoyant mood. Her enthusiasm was catchy. By the time we had hung up I was in a silly mood too. Later, in a rare book store in Lawrence, I talked to here again. She was drunk and crying hysterically. We talked for about ten minutes about how bad her life was. Upon hanging up the phone I instructed the boys not to answer if she called again. I was not going to listen to that all day. I didn't think about banning call from Mom also. Mom called Lane's phone. He answered and handed it to me. I was to go by Drama Queen's and take her to get her anti-drinking prescription filled on my way through Wichita. I grudgingly agreed. Drama Queen called constantly to see when I would be there. At an hour away she called. She called ten minutes later. As we were pulling into town she called. It was only then that I realized she did not want her prescription filled. She wanted me to take her to a dry out center. I told her we were thirty minutes from town, but would be there soon. I drove to a Cold Stone Creamery. We had been having a great weekend, and I was not ready to enter crazy town just yet. I apologized in advance to Lee, Lane, and Emma  for the whatever was about to happen. We made our way across town. Lee and Emma stayed in the car. Lane and I went up to her apartment. We had to shove the couch from in front of the door to enter. She was laying, shirtless, in the middle of the floor with a bottle and a butcher knife posed dramatically beside her. She fell over twice as we made her get up and get dressed, bumping her head solidly on the wall several times. She fought and yelled that she did not want to go to rehab, as I poured out all of the liquor and beer.  Finally I remembered that I had not wanted to take her to rehab, this was her idea. It is easy to lose sight of these details in the middle of a scene. Okay, fine, I said. Lane, let's go. We started to leave. No, she pleaded. I need to go, please take me. She left the apartment with us. We had to help her down four flights of stairs. She fell several more times. In the car she didn't want to go to rehab. She tried to jump out as I drove down Kellogg. Finally at the dry out center she refused to enter. They would not take her unless she walked through the door on her own. She stumbled out and lay face first first on a patch of grass. We sat in the car and watched her. Then a worker noticed her and came out to see what was going on. I went over and explained that I was not going leave her there. Oh she is with you. He looked relieved. He bent down and talked to her. She agreed to go inside if I would bring her a carton of cigarettes. She went inside. I drove to a gas station. Back at the center, cigarettes in hand, we watched an ambulance pull in. Ignoring it I knocked on the door. At least that can't be hers, I thought, she hasn't been here long enough. Slowly as no one answered the door it dawned on me that I was wrong.  I walked around to the back. She was laying on cement. She had been trying to climb the wood fence and leave, but had fallen backwards and smacked her head on the cement.  I gave the ambulance drivers her name as they loaded her up. I had to go inside and answer some questions that a worker asked me. She made it very clear that she was angry that I had brought her. Back in the car we watched the ambulance drive away. We agreed that it was time to go home. We tried to find somewhere to eat chicken and waffles, but the place was closing. We ordered Church's chicken instead. It had a horrible smell. We through it out, and drove home.
Now the girls are back in Wichita enrolled in school. My heart is broken, my worry about their safety is a constant companion.  Last night Drama Queen called to talk. Her boyfriend, the latest in a string that have not treated her nicely, has given her Chlamydia. She is angry. When she had made a snide comment about it the night before he had started to hit her. He was banging her head against the patio floor. She said he probably would have killed her if Ramona had not woken up. I let her talk awhile longer before I voiced my fear. What if he had not left when Ramona woke up? I insisted that she quit letting men like this into her house. She agreed, but I knew it was a promise that would soon be forgotten.
It was after ten, I had been making Jason a grilled cheese sandwich and a cup of noodles while I talked to her. Still talking I made Lane and myself a sundae. It was actually just vanilla ice cream covered with some strawberry-rhubarb jam I had made. I got off the phone and finished my ice cream. I had been planning to go straight to bed, but now I could not sleep. Dead Until Dawn was on my nightstand waiting to be started. At three in the morning I finished it. My mind was cleared. I slept very well for six hours.
I have been carrying this tale around, it feels good to write it down.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Man U live!

On Kansas City’s style of play
“Their entire team played very well today. They played with a lot of motivation because they played Manchester United. It's difficult to compare them directly to Barcelona because they're one of the best teams in the world to play that kind of football, but they play very nice and quick and they passed the ball well like a quality Spanish club. Their style was good.”

It was a great weekend for U.S. soccer. While we were cheering for the other team it was a win/win situation for us. We were there to see Manchester United play live, which has been a goal of Lee's for years now.It would have been nice to see them win, but it was good to see how high a level our clubs are playing at. Lee, Lane, Emma -Lee's girlfriend, and I loaded into the car Saturday morning and made the nine hour drive to KC. We arrived tired and ready for a swim, but we had a great time.
To have a weekend away was wonderful. We stopped in Wichita to eat Mongolian food, which Emma had never had, and to develop some film. By the time we made it to the hotel we were too tired to do much more than swim, shower and go to bed. The next morning we wanted Cold Stone Creamery for breakfast. The g.p.s. led us to one that didn't open on Sunday's, a shopping center with one that must be invisible, and to a field that held one with a cloaking device. We had a frosty instead.
At the stadium I made an exception to my no alcohol rule. They had a Thai beer that I had never seen before and wanted to try, so I bought one, at $7.50 a bottle I was only going to get one. It was good, not great, but good. My family is still giving me a hard time for making the exception.We went to our seats, which were awesome, they were first row by a corner. I never thought I would see so many Man U fans concentrated into one place. It was exciting. The red was everywhere.  The KC fan base were impressive. They were loud. excited, and later in the parking lot, belligerent. At first this offended me, but they were young excited fans with a big win to boast about. Sure they were sore winners, but that is a problem with every soccer game world wide, we are finally catching up.
On Monday we decided to make a slow trip home. We stopped in Lawrence did some shopping for body jewelry and books. We went to a Cold Stone and got huge ice creams. We drove on to Wichita. We picked up our film and found another Cold Stone and had another huge ice cream. I have left out a bit of family phone calls which affected the rest of the evening. I will talk about those some other time. For now I want to focus on a great trip. Two XL ice creams in one day is a signal of a good time. 

Thursday, July 22, 2010


As the kids were leaving they asked what I was going to do with myself. Here I was all alone, the possibilities were endless, would I read, write, watch tv, do yoga? I locked the door in case somebody stopped by I did not want to waste my free time on. I put on the tea kettle, watered some plants, started a load of laundry. I through the skirt I had been wearing into the wash. I noticed Fria chica walking up the drive at the same time the phone started to ring. Running to unlock the door I looked around for  the cordless phone, which is the only one with caller id, I could not find it so I grabbed the wall phone.
It was Drama Queen. She was crying. Drunk again she asked me to check her in to a rehab, a different one than the one she has walked out of three times since April, a better one, that she would enjoy herself in. I explained that Disney hadn't made a rehab center yet. She cried and reminded me that she is suicidal. There was a knock at the door. I hollered for Fria Chica to come in. Drama Queen kept talking. There was a constant, insistent knock on the door. I interrupted the conversation and ran to find pants. At the door I found two of Jason's friends. They left. I ran back to the phone. We talked for  a while longer then I talked to both of the girls. They are staying the summer with me, but are visiting their mom this week. We decided to make jam and french bread next week when they are back.
I decided to come here to update with my free time. My mom called. The reception was bad, because she was outside in the wind, I could hear enough to know she wanted me to drive to Wichita to get the girls. I hung up as soon as the reception became bad enough to warrant it. Dh came home he told me how depressed he has been over losing his top teeth and getting a plate, which he rarely wears, then we decided to watch a movie. My mom came to the door. She told me Beezus wanted to come home right now. I told her I had just talked to her and she seemed okay for the night. She wanted to talk about how unfit a mother Drama Queen is, but I could not do it. Dh seemed happy to join in. I stated that I was not going to speculate about it now. I was ready to watch a movie and would call Drama Queen tomorrow to make arrangements for the girls. My mom left. We started the movie. The phone rang. It was Ramona. She said grandma told her to call and tell me they were ready to come home. When I asked if she wanted to come home tonight. She said that grandma told her to call and tell me Beezus was ready. So much for  a peaceful night.
Tonight I wish that I had not arranged my life so that there was no one for me to lean on. I have spent most of my adult life trying to keep my family together. I have planned holidays and steered through many family emergencies. Of course maybe I am exaggerating my role and the family itself has not changed course by the force of my energy. Either way I am sensing a different type of crisis. A slow moving storm that I can not keep us together through. I feel myself cutting them loose and holding only my immediate family on the raft. I worry that  it will not even be enough for the five of us, yet I am pulling the girls on with us. Is this the point where I stand back and let my family choose its own course? I am tired of constant manipulation, and am in the hopes that writing a note in the void will be a form of catharsis.

Friday, June 04, 2010

So far so good

I was worried about the temptation to drink at events. These are days when I know I am going to have a drink or two because everybody around me will be drinking too. Two have passed by so far and they have been easy. Two graduation parties on the same weekend flew by with me having no problem saying no. A softball tournament came and went without the thought of beer crossing my mind. This year may be harder than I expected.
You see it was the big events that I expected to give me trouble. Mentally I had prepared myself for them and was ready. Surprisingly it has been normal spring evenings that have been tempting me. After a long day of hauling dirt up ladders to finish my living roof I had a pounding heat headache. The thought of a cold beer seemed lovely. After a evening of planting herbs the red sunset brought to mind a glass of Merlot with Anna. I find myself socializing less. The ritual of a drink or two always called for a friend, now when I dismiss the plot of relaxing over alcohol I also toss away the idea of sitting with a friend. I am going to have to do something about that.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Luckily the years are flying by

The Friday before Mother's day dh asked if I wanted to go out for Chinese food for Mother's day. I agreed. Then he added that first we had to drive to Woods to pick up a lawn mower, and that another couple were going to join us. While driving back towards the restaurant Anna called to ask if I was coming to her party that evening. I had forgot about the damn thing. She was hosting a party for some scented product for the home. My home always smells like dirty teenage feet, no matter how many products I use. I told her I would be there, but that I would be late. After we ate I informed the other lady, who I do not know very well yet, that I was taking her with me to drink. And drink we did. She had to run/walk a 3k the next morning and I hear that her question as she collapsed at the finish line was "Do I smell like vodka?"
I woke the next morning and while still lying in bed I felt pretty good. I felt at peace like I had gotten a reprieve from the stress of everyday life. Going over the night before in my head it occurred to me that  I was beginning to have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol. Like many teenagers I drank too much on the weekends, then I went shifted to rarely drinking when my children were young. Now that they are older I drink once or twice a month and that hasn't changed. What has changed is the way I drink.  My rule had always been drink my first one at a normal speed, nurse my second one, then have a glass of water, repeat through the night. Somewhere along the way I have dropped that rule. I have been speed drinking with the intent of drunkenness. Dressed and ready for my day I feel ok. I arrived at work early. Five minutes later I was throwing up and felt like I might die. Somehow I struggle through the work day and then retire to my room for the rest of the day. Sunday morning I drove to Liberal to do my grocery shopping. Smiling and cheerful I walked through stores greeting everyone I met. Humanity looked lovely to me, beauty was evident in every rough face I found. For some inexplicable reason I am happier and feel better about life on Earth after a night of excess.
That was the problem with my drinking habit, I was using it for stress relief. Had it been working I would just stick with it, but I was feeling more stressed than ever these days, so it was time for a change. I am sticking with my promise to abstain from drinking until next mothers day. In this year I plan to find better ways of dealing with the stress of everyday life.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Where's the lamb?

A couple of months ago on a cold Sunday afternoon I sat down with my family and watched Julie and Julia. It reminded me of how much I love cooking. In my life I cook almost daily, and I enjoy it, however, it has been a long time since I have tried anything more involved than risotto. After the movie I decided to try cooking a more difficult meal each week. That never happened. I did do eggs benedict one Sunday morning, I'll count that as one meal in two months. Now that I have five children in my home,and one of them in that dreaded senior year in which the time it takes is only outpaced by the amount of money it costs, I spend a good part of my time in the kitchen. Did I really want to try anything too taxing?
On a feild trip to Topeka last week I read an article in Food & Wine that included three Morrocan recipes. Surely I could do these. Sunday night while on my bimonthly shopping trip I picked up the few ingredients I needed. Everything I would need, except for the main ingredient for my Lamb and Noodle stew. The week before Easter I had bought a beautiful lamb roast at Dillons, so I had not expected any trouble. I had roasted the lamb right away with a simple garlic and salt paste rubbed on it, why hadn't I saved it? Sunday at 11:00 pm there was no lamb to be found in Liberal. Not to be detered I pulled a beef arm roast out of my deep freeze to make Beef and Noodle Stew.
Wednesday was to be the day. The weather was forcasted to be cool and windy, so I would not want to be outdoors, and I had nothing else planned. Of course work got in the way. I worked a half an hour late in the Elk office and needed to put in a couple of hours at our local office. I made it back into town at five and decided to put off the local office until I had put the girls to bed. I didn't read the recipes thoroughly before I started, which is unusual for me, normally I visualize the whole thing to help make a plan. Diving right in I did not notice that the noodles were to go through a longer process than simply boiling them. I started with the eggplant dish since it seemed to take more time. While the eggplant was charring in a stainless steel pot, not the cast iron cassarole, I started the beef dish. The recipe called for a cilantro bundle. For a second I stared at the cilantro thinking it would just be easier to chop it and toss it in. "Are you going to do this or not?" I asked myself. Had I really become such a lazy cook that walking into the next room and cutting a piece of string was too much for me? I tied the cilantro and tossed it in the pan. It was not difficult. I put the saffron into a skillet to toast for ten seconds. I pressed it with a wooden spoon and started counting. Miss Universe walked in with Huggy bear. I grabbed my tea and walked to the sofa to talk with her a second. While we were talking the fire alarm went off. The saffron was black. I started over with a new batch. The eggplant dish was finished earlier than I expected. I put it in the oven which was still warm from toasing the almonds. It was then that I noticed that the noodles required two forty minute steaming sessions before they went into the water. As I reached the point where the lamb was almost done I stressed out and started to think about skipping one of the steaming sessions. It was already after seven-thirty, I needed to get the girls in the shower by eight-thirty. They were outside jumping on the trampoline with Huggy bear and Sebastion. I decided not to skip on the noodles. I started the pear desert and made myself another cup of tea. By the time I sat down to drink my tea I realized that I was almost done. The noodles would need a two minute boil and the pears could poach while we ate.

The dinner was delicious. It took three hours for me to cook it, but I think I can cut that down to one and a half next time. The girls did not get into bed until ten, which meant that I didn't finish up at the local office until midnight. It was good though, and it made great leftovers on Thursday.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Here we go again.

Just when I quit expecting it Drama Queen had a crisis. She is in rehab, and the girls are back living with me. It is always amazing to me how we manage to fit two more kids in our three bedroom home, but kids are like tupperware, they stack.I was worried about how hard it was going to be to bring them back at the end of the school year. I was afraid it would be especially hard since it was a promotion year for Beezus and she would have to miss her field trip and the ceremony. They are troopers though and have not complained at all. In fact they seem cheerful about the whole situation. Yesterday I was up on my roof working while they ran around the yard in their swimming suits playing in the numerous mud puddles. Ramona said 'her first day of school was excellent, thanks for asking' before anyone could think to ask her how school was. She added that the food was better here than it was in Wichita. I will have to tell Anna that. since she is cook at our school.

*I have picked new names for the girls now that they are not really babies anymore. You probably noticed from context they are Ramona and Beezus.

Friday, March 26, 2010

A second pro-choice post; I am getting predictable

Not one of the news stations I listen to have mentioned the school in Washington that allowed a fifteen year old student to leave school for a medical procedure, that happened to be an abortion, that is probably because they were covering acutal news. With a couple of wars, healthcare, and violence against legislators they have been a bit busy. However, their unthoughtfullness left me unprepared this morning when I was faced with this question, "Have you heard about the school in Washington that hauled a fourteen year old girl off campus for an abortion? Her mother had signed a consent form for them to take her child off campus for 'treatment' at the start of the school year, but it never mentioned abortion." I bet it did not mention stitches either.
Since I was unprepared my only two responses were, "She should have read that paper a little more closely; she should have looked into that better," (I will explain why I even said the second half of the sentence in a minute) and "If her daughter got pregnant, had a pregnancy test, and an abortion without consulting her maybe she should be looking at her parenting skills."
When a teenager in our area has a child the first response I hear is "That is another one of our babies," said in a snide tone. This is to point out that our tax dollars will go towards raising this child. If we do not want to pay for the child, or provide for family planning where do we expect teenagers who have made a mistake to go for help? Since it was a private clinic that made arrangements with the girl the only role the school played was letting her miss class without a note from home.
Teenage pregnancy is a sad situation with no great solutions, but the private clinic, not the school,stepped in and did what they thought was right. The girl made her decision. No laws were broken, and now the mother is spending her energy railing against the school. Will she still have energy left to go home and build a relationship with her daughter? Will it occur to her that she should?

As for that unexplained half of a sentence that looks a bit random I was just being an ass. Earlier this week we were talking about healthcare reform and the problems we as a nation are facing. We both agreed that malpractice insurance is a problem. Her solution was that people should not be allowed to sue doctors who make a mistake. "Not even if they cut off the wrong leg?" I asked. Her solution does not allow suing at all. It is the patients responsibilty to research the doctor, with a mistake like a wrongly cut off leg on the doctors record no one else is likely to choose that doctor. If they are not allowed to sue patients will do a better job of choosing doctors in the first place. Which is great except for that first unfortunate patient;he is still without a leg.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


In my line of work I occasionally have to look at conservative propaganda. A love of my sanity keeps me from reading whole articles, but I do argue with the headlines. Yesterday there was a cartoon on the front of a magazine that depicted Tim Tebow. The bubble said "My mom was advised to abort me and chose not to." On the next square was a baby's grave. The script read "And now a rebuttal from the opposing view." Being a strong believer in free speech I was not offended by the add at all.

The cartoon on the other hand annoyed me. There is a simple rebuttle to the add, the word chose. She chose to have a baby, because it was her choice. A different woman making a different choice, or the same one for that matter, will not make Pam Tebow's choice any more or less valid. Freedom is what is at stake. The conservative propoganda machine has hijacked and mis-used the word 'freedom'; Only by encouraging Americans to think for themselves will we get it back.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

The good news, Miss Universe does not have cancer.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

I received a text yesterday instructing me to meet at Miss Universe's apartment at 6:30, Fria Chica received this same text. We both assumed something was up and she wanted to talk. In reality she had stumbled onto some weed. Not much in my lifestyle would suggest that my next few moves involved sitting on the floor, rolling around laughing, and eating way too much chocolate, but that is what I did.

I do not remember much of what I found ridiculously funny but the snippets of conversation that do keep popping into my head have made me smile all day. I could have done without the part of the evening that involved me trying to walk into my house without letting the children know what I had been up to. I felt like a sneaky teenager again.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Two conversations have struck me lately. Here they are.

"Look what I am sending off to the governor." An older man said. "I think Sarah and Todd will get a kick out of this."

"Oh, that is neat." A lady answers. "My brother sent my mom a copy of her book that they have both signed."

"Have you read her book yet?" The man asks her.

"Not yet, I'll borrow my mother's when she is finished, but I told my brother I was really jealous."

"She starts her tour with Fox News today."

"I am so excited for her."

What makes this conversation odd is that neither of these people have met Sarah. They have the same access to information that the rest of the world does, why then do they still speak in awed tones, why is he still calling her the govenor? What would make this conversation scary would be knowing that people all over the country are talking like this, I hope that is not the case.

The next one is not odd or scary, it just made me think about how much we try to shelter people we love, and how stilted that can make conversations.

Fria Chica, Miss Universe and I were all sitting in a gym watching the kids play basketball. Miss Universe stood up and pulled a cigarette and lighter out of her bag. She turned to Fria Chica and asked if she was coming with her. Fria Chica looked almost sheepish. "Have you quit again?" Miss Universe asked her. I laughed.

"She looked at you with such derision." I said to Fria Chica.
"Quitters never win, winners never quit." She pointed her cigarette at Fria Chica to add emphasis.

"What am I quitting except for a higher chance of cancer?" Fria Chica tensed up as the word cancer left her lips. She was frozen with regret at what she had said.

I turned to Miss Universe and said. "You have been inhaling way too deep."

Young people often try to say nothing offensive at all. Sometimes I forget that there is a nine year age gap between Fria Chica and myself. She has not yet learned that being treated abnormally makes people more uncomfortable than the occasional thoughtless remark. Miss Universe and I were young when a former teacher taught us this lesson with true class. Here husband had died less than a month before. It was in the middle of July; M.U. and I were walking down the middle of the street. She was doing yard work and stood to greet us. We stopped to talk about little things like yard work and weather. M.U. said that trying to work out in the middle of the heat would make her feel like dying. We all felt her tense up. She could not believe she had just said that. Our former teacher went on to agree that the heat would just kill her. She used the words kill or death several times in the next few minutes.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

All in all it wasn't that bad

Most of the time my life feels extremely blessed. I do not know what I have done to deserve such a great life, but I am enjoying it while it lasts. However, somedays it feels like the other shoes has just dropped into my lap and squashed the nice piece of cake I had balanced there. Yesterday was one of those days.
With all of my whining though I must point out that most of the crap was not happening to me. I just felt bad for my lack of control in the fortunes of others. First, I had major cramping while I was rebooting my ovarian system. I was extremely tired;I could not sleep the night before and was way overloaded at work. Drama Queen is homeless after a series of mismanaged events. Which means my baby girls lives are unstable again. Not being able to just scoop them up and bring them home is the hardest part. Then the worst news of all is that Miss Universe is being tested because the doctors fear she has bladder cancer, on top of her ms. I just started laughing yesterday evening when reading Lee's rejection letter from the honors program at K.U.
So far today had been going fine, although I still have not been able to sleep.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Books I have read in 2009

On a year when I have only posted nine times I am sure I left out several books. This is the only place I keep a list, since I am way to lazy to keep more than one.

* *Scent of Magic
* *Gods of Aberdeen
* *Your Loyal and Loving Son:The Letters of Tank Gunner Karl Fuchs, 1937-41
* *Jenne
* *The Ladies of Llangollen
* *A Wrinkle In Time
* *The Clocks
* *The Third Girl
* *Northanger Abbey (re-read)
* *Sense and Sensibility (re-read)
* *Pride and Prejudice (re-read)
* *Lolita
* *Reading Lolita in Tehran
* *A Thousand Splendid Suns
* *The Half Blood Prince (re-read)
* *The Deathly Hallows (re-read)
* *A Room Of One's Own
* *Getting Stoned with Savages
* *The Ballod of Reading Gaol and other poems
* *Xinran Sky Burial
* *The House That Jill Built
* *Blood Sucking Fiends
* *The Pearl
* *The Fellowship Of The Ring (re-read)
* *Lord Peter Views The Body
* *The Last Lecture
* *The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
* *Aunt Erma's Cope Book

Time is moving too quickly again

My last post made it sound like finishing my nano novel was out of the question. I did finish on 11/30 with forty-five minutes to spare. My roof still is not finished. The weather turned cold and for the most part has stayed that way. I did get it to a waterproof stage before it snowed, but I need to add the dirt to hold the pond liner in place. Every time we get a strong wind it curls up and I have to climb up and straighten it out. Today I have the day off and it is supposed to be warm;I hope to get some work done.
I was planning on working on it yesterday too, but I put off my work to fix chocolate chip pancakes and play croquet with my family. My work ethic has not changed much since school.
Last night I stayed up until three a.m. finishing the book Ursula Under. It quickly leaped to my list of favorite books. It was chocked full of interesting stories that traversed history and geography in a meandering path. I sound like a gushing school girl, if so this book is the captain of the football team.