Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Love Like Lead

Heartbreak is heavy
like wearing lead clothes
weight so immense, it's hard to
just even stand
that robe of burdens
too big to

You've left me
with a sweet kiss
and a smile of pity
at my (hidden) tears,
I lack the strength
to stop the (silent) stream,
making tracks
down the disappointment
etched so plainly
on my gaze

I smile the last
of my love, then
stagger drowning
an anchor
back to my life.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Random Bits'n'Pieces

My brain seems to be on vacation this summer. Not thinking that's totally bad though. After all, at least some part of me is on vacation. It just that lately I haven't finished anything I've been writing. It's just sitting there. That's when it occurred to me that I could do a “random quarter” post with these unfinished pieces.

What's a random quarter?” It's a post with 25 items. These items, or entries, or whatever you wanna call them, can be anything. Ideas, rants, stories, secrets, etc. RANDOM, if you will ;-) (I totally stole this idea from jenn over at Quirky Pickings. She's smart, snarky, funny, a great writer and supportive bloggy friend. You should visit. After you read the rest of this post, though.)

You know that little stand on restaurant tables? It usually has sweeteners, salt and pepper, maybe a drink or dessert menu, etc. They need to put magnifying glasses there for when people of a certain age forget their reading glasses and can't see what's on the menu because her arms have gotten too short...not that I've experienced this personally, or anything. Just an idea that came to me when I was last out to dinner...ahem.

I have a DMV parents moved to CO when Jake, now 14, was only 8 months old. Dad went to get Colorado plates for his big, GREEN pick-up. "Needs a VIN verification. Don't show your face around these parts 'til ya'll got that sucker verified." Or some such words. I went with Dad to the emissions/VIN verification place because it was on the way to where we were playing golf, and we sure didn't think it would be any big deal. We get in line, get the guy to come out, and he checks the VIN. (By the way, why is it that some dude who does emissions tests is more accurate at reading a number than, say, the owner? Or the lady behind the counter at the DMV? Just asking.) Anyway, guy says, "What color is your truck?" While standing in front of it. Dad is puzzled but says “” Guy says, "Looks like a blue truck to me!" And proceeds to fill out the paperwork for a BLUE truck. So folks, as you can imagine, we had some trouble BACK at the DMV since, "Obviously, you took a different truck. This other paperwork all says GREEN...)

Are you a “leave the tag in” person, or are you a “cut the tag out before wearing or it will drive me insane molecule by molecule as it cuts into my skin, brushes by my skin, or tickles-like-a-spider-my skin.” Guess which one I am...But I do read them before I cut them out. Some of them I save, because I'm such a total dork about clothes and mostly (seriously) buy them at Walmart...(Don't tell Best, she's trying to reform me, one gorgeous wardrobe piece at a time...with little success...I still haven't spend any regular amount of money on clothes, though I cherish the boutique pieces she has found for me and then bought for me...) So if there's a tag that's a real brand-name, I save those. Really. They're in my jewelry box. Both of them.

Is it obnoxious to provide your own laugh track to ramblings, like I did above? Yeah, I thought so. Sigh.

Ok, so another tag thing. This one was from my bathing suit. The first new suit I've bought in 12 years. Yes, really. I have witnesses! Anyway, it said “wash in cold, gentle cycle, hang dry, iron if necessary.” Ok, first of all, why would I need to wash it in cold water if it's already been in a hot tub? And c'mon, how many of you have ever ironed a bathing suit? I mean that, if you have, please speak up. I promise I won't hassle you. Very much.

Why does my pharmacy have signs for a blind person (blue background, white “walking man” holding cane) and another one that says, “Braille instructions available.” Not sure the market they're aiming for are able to um, read, those signs.

Why do so many customer service workers hate customers and don't want to provide service? Seriously. If you hate people, work in some other sector. We'd all appreciate it. And you managers? If your aforementioned employee screwed up my order, just give me what I actually ordered, don't reach into my bag, grab the one that was wrong, and throw it in the trash can next to me. What does that accomplish? I mean, which story would you like repeated for millions (I wish ;-) of blog readers? A: Arby's is so great, they gave me a free NON-cheese-slopped sandwich, or B: Arby's can't get anything right and wastes food.

Some faithful readers might remember “Ketchup Packet in the Compost”. Goes well with the previous tidbit. Only better written, I hope ;-)

Why do plants you want in your flower bed slide out of the dirt like a knife through butter, while weeds that you don't want have to be dug out with great effort, and even if you manage to get them out, just return in less than a week. Shouldn't it be the other way around? Oh wait, it was. And then they ate the apple...

Why is it that kids will spend HOURS using a computer program that builds Lego models with an auto-cad type interface, instead of with the MILLIONS of actual Lego bricks gathering dust and creating road hazards all over the floor?

If I were going to be stranded on a deserted island, I'd want Sawyer instead of Jack. I know I'd be out a doctor, but I'd never be bored with the con-man. And no, his perfect physique and gorgeous eyes have nothing to do with this issue. Really. Now if I could have two people, the other would have to be Locke. He's the most McGyverish of the bunch. Yes, I'm one of those Lost fanatics. And no, I didn't understand the ending. But I've certainly spent enough time trying to figure it out.

We moved into this house eleven years ago. I have several boxes and a huge hope chest still packed full that I've never opened since then. Not curious enough to take on this project in this heat. Maybe ever. I haven't needed that stuff yet, so why now?

Yes, you counted right.  There aren't 25 items.  There are 12.  When I said I was stealing her idea, I of course have to tweak it a bit.  Not to mention the fact that YellowBoy wants to watch Lost re-runs.  I miss Sawyer, so I'm ditching you guys and heading for netflix streaming.  One of the best inventions ever!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Exploding Pasta, Anyone?

They used to joke that I couldn't even boil water. They did have grounds for that accusation, but that's a story all by itself. If I forget to write it, remind me by saying, “Tell us the one where you made your own molten lava.” This week, I learned that I also can't boil oil. It explodes.

I've only been cooking for about nine years, which when you're 46, isn't really that long. I've mostly learned how from cookbooks and cooking shows. I'm a complete Food Network addict, and I've learned chopping techniques, how to bloom spices, why dips and guacamole and the like need to “marry” and how to perform that ceremony, and I have a lot of fun, easy recipes that are staples.  But about once a week I like to try something new. This week I wanted to make aglio olio sauce. I've had it in the legendary Blue Parrot in Lafayette, CO (nearby town, only about a ½ hour drive.) It's an olive oil and garlic sauce, so I figured it would be pretty simple, but I didn't know the ratios.

I read several recipes, but settled on one from Not Joe Blow's recipes, but kitchen tested, expert approved REAL recipes. I read the directions and thought, huh, pour water into boiling oil, that doesn't sound right. After all, when I'm done with the griddle after cooking bacon and then pour the grease into a ceramic bowl (once it's completely cool, emphasis on COMPLETELY cool) it will splatter and hop around if there are ANY drops of water anywhere near it. So I'm DOUBLE checking the recipe, and it truly does say, “Remove oil from heat. Gradually stir in one cup of water.” Well, alrighty, I'm no expert, so let's try just a ½ teaspoon of water. It bubbles, it bubbles over, it catches the gas stove flame on fire (we're talking CONFLAGRATION here folks) and I reach for the lid to cover it up, and then it EXPLODES. Garlic slices flying, oil taking off for outer space, splitter-splatter ALL over my kitchen. I'm up against the fridge, still waiting for that chance to cover the, um, problem. That time doesn't come. About ten minutes later, after nothing has exploded for a while, I reach over, turn off the burner, and cover the pot.

I will say, it was a damn good dinner, all things considered. We didn't need the full cup of “sauce” at all, I just poured about a half of the half that was left, and the pasta (angel hair) was just fine. The zucchini I'd steam/stir fried with Vidalia onions was equally delish, and the grated asiago over all of the above mentioned parts sealed the deal.

After doing the dishes, I wrote a scathing review of the “Sure To Explode” Pasta. My unfortunate cleaning teenager had to deal with the grease spot on every cabinet, counter, and floor space. Yes, I tipped her.

The motto my friends is, “Trust your instincts” and certainly NOT Just sayin'.

What's your worst kitchen disaster? Please share. I'll be back with more, because though this one was entertaining, it certainly wasn't the worst thing I did in a kitchen.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Guest Post @ Tossing It Out

I'm thrilled to have been invited to guest blog at “Tossing It Out”. Arlee is the originator of the April A-Z Challenge, and along with a faithful group of fellow bloggers, made this such a successful endeavor. Please head on over there and say “hi”. AND, there's a totally serious sorta-challenge/give-away for those not opposed to waxing mathematical in cyber space.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Playing Hooky

Yesterday I took the day off. It was lovely, and I'm considering making it a weekly treat. How can a mother take a day off? Not easily. It requires sticking to the plan no matter what, firmly and consistently saying, “No. Sorry. It's my day off.” It also requires that the mommy-guilt switch must be disabled. After that, it's a breeze.

The idea came to me yesterday morning as my migraine was pounding while I was bending down to load the dishwasher. Fellow migraine sufferers know that to change the position/orientation of your head causes even more pain than just sitting there trying not to barf. I thought to myself, “Wouldn't it be great just to crawl back in bed? So I took a shower, and did just that. As my boys went about their business, which in the summer is Halo, Halo, and begging for just one more level of Halo, they soon discovered me in my room.

Whatcha doing in bed, Mom?”
I'm taking a day off.”
Will you still be my mom? Like make me lunch?”
Yes, if you need help. Try to do it yourself, though.”
Fine, whatever, can DearFriendWhoMovedAcrossTown come over? He broke his arm and can't ride his bike will you pick him up?”

Now technically, that would not be included in the “taking a day off”. Taxi service was supposed to be suspended for the day. But I love this kid, and I of all people know what a total pain a broken arm is, so I relent. I leave my PJ's on, since I'm not getting out of the car. Fetch wounded child. Go back to bed.

Mom, will you make us lunch?”
No, sorry. You traded taxi service for lunch service. Go away.”
Are you OK, Mom? You never take the day off.”

I was rather surprised by that statement, because as you know, in the last 18 months, I've spent plenty of time on doctor ordered bed-rest. But I think instinctively, they realize, like I did, that CHOOSING to stay in bed and be lazy for a day is way different than being FORCED to stay in bed. Besides, mandated bed-rest usually comes because of some nasty ailment far worse than a migraine. Yes, such a thing does exist.

I watched a movie. I knitted. (I'm two baby blankets behind. All of a sudden three friends were having babies, and three friends' KIDS were having babies. Yes, I guess I'm that old...but it's a bit freaky, let me tell you. I don't feel ready to be a grandma. They didn't either, but at least their kids were married and ready, whereas Jake is 14...I think I have a few years left to get used to it. But I digress, as usual.) I napped. Lovely nap during a lightning storm. Safe and cozy. I visited blogs, I wrote the beginning of this post.

Of course, all good things come to an end, and I did have to get up and presentable for a family function. But it was a refreshing day, both physically and mentally. I think I'll have to do it again soon.

What would you do with a day all to yourself?