Monthly Archives: August 2011

The New Look

Last night I got a wild hair and decided to change the look of my blog.  There were not a whole lot of colors and backgrounds that I liked when I started it, so I picked a plain navy and orange and forgot about it.  But I want to grow my readership and my blog and and I want to add more things to it.  I started poking around and found all this stuff that wasn’t there before!  I changed the theme and the colors, added pages (Recipes, Movies, Books, Favorite Things), figured out how to jump break and added some gadgets.  Some of the pages are still empty, but bear with me.  I’ll work on filling them up!

Not My Mother’s Turkey Broccoli Casserole

When the hubs called me this morning for my daily “Good Morning” call, he said he’d seen a commercial for pancakes on the TV at work and he was now in the mood for pancakes.  I asked if he wanted a breakfast-dinner (breakfast food for dinner) so he could get his pancake fix and he heartily said yes.  As I set out some bacon to thaw, I realized that, although I enjoy me some pancakes, I was not in the mood for them today.  I know B will want the breakfast-dinner, too, so…..what to make for me….

Chicken Broccoli Casserole!

I LOVE Chicken Broccoli Casserole but the hubs and B would be fine and dandy if they never had it again.  The hubs is prejudiced against casseroles.  He thinks of casseroles as all being the same from his childhood –  weeks worth of leftovers thrown together in a dish and covered with some kind of salty, gross-looking sauce the masks what’s in there.  He’s come a long way in the last 16 years with me.  I finally got him to let me make a Chicken Pot Pie earlier this year and he loves it.  But he is NOT budging on my Chicken Broccoli Casserole!  LOL!  That’s fine; I let this one slide because then I get to eat it all myself.

It’s a dish that my mom made, but she called it Turkey Broccoli Casserole because she only made it a couple of times a year with the leftovers from a holiday turkey.  I didn’t like it as a child.  Part of that was because I was a picky eater and my mom catered to that in her kids and part of it was the way she made her casserole.  As the name suggests, there is broccoli in it.  My mom would by the cardboard box of frozen broccoli spears, set them out to thaw, boil them once they were thawed and then they baked for another hour inside the casserole.  By the time her casserole came out of the over, the broccoli was not recognizable (it wasn’t even green anymore) and it smelled awful!  This was surprising, since my mom is an excellent cook and pasted her love of pleasing others through food to me.  But we all are allowed an Achilles’ heel.  Until 2 year ago, I could not make simple boiled rice or mashed potatoes!

I call my version Chicken Broccoli Casserole, because I make it several times a year and mostly with chicken.  I use frozen broccoli flowerets and add them to the casserole frozen.  They will thaw and cook enough while baking in the oven.  I’ve posted my recipe, here, if you’re interested.

Gotta go!  The timer just went off!  (I could not wait until dinner time to cook it!)

"Me and Her"

The hubs and I received a small photo album as a wedding gift and it has 4×6 wedding proofs in it and some candid shots we took the weekend of our wedding. In one of the pages of the album is a poem. It looks like it has been cut out of a newspaper. I have no memory of where it came from but I love it. It says this:

Me and Her

She is compulsive.
I am impulsive.
She likes it hot.
I like it cold.
She is neat.
I’m a slob.
Andy Rooney says, “A’s marry Z’s.”
But we are different alphabets.
I push.
She pulls.
She says, “Up.”
I say, “Down.”
She is night.
I am day.
Living together is hard.
Living without her would be impossible.


This conversation took place between B and me in the dark of his bedroom on December 23, 2009 (he was 7 yrs old), before he fell asleep:

B: I think it would be so cool if Nana was Mrs. Claus.
J: Why?
B: Because then she could take me to the North Pole and introduce me to Santa and show me the workshop anytime I wanted.
J: Well, if Nana was Mrs. Claus, then you wouldn’t need to be introduced to Santa. You’d already know him – Poppop.
B: No, Poppop isn’t Santa.
J: Mrs. Claus is married to Santa Claus. So, if Nana is Mrs. Claus than Poppop is Santa because Nana is married to Santa.
B: You can be married to more than 1 person at a time, you know. Nana can be married to Poppop and Santa at the same time.
J: No, she can’t. It’s against the law to be married to more than 1 person at a time.
B: Why? I don’t like that law. It shouldn’t be a law. You should be able to marry more than 1 person.
J: How would you feel if I was married to someone else besides daddy? You already complain that I am not here enough since I work 2 jobs. If I married someone else, too, than you’d see me even less because I’d have to spend half my time with the other husband and half my time here with you and daddy.
B: Why couldn’t we all just live in the same house together?
J: Ben, I could not be in love with more than 1 man at a time and I would not marry a man I was not in love with. So, I am not going to marry another man. Besides, men do not want to share their wives with other men.
B: (He sat up and stared at me for a full minute before saying) That sounds like you don’t love me if you love daddy and you can’t love more than 1 man at a time.
J: That’s not true, baby. I love you very much! I love you and daddy the same amount, but I love you each differently. I am in love with your daddy and I love you. It is a different kind of love between you and me than it is between a husband and a wife.
B: Oh! I didn’t know that! But why don’t mans want to share their wives? I’m a man and I can share so why can’t mans share?
J: It’s “men”, not “mans”. And you are not a grown man, yet. When you become a man, and you find your other half and you fall in love with that person, you’ll understand why we do not want to share our spouses with others. I would not share daddy with another wife, either. And daddy does not want another wife. He’s got his hands full with this one!
B: (He was quiet for a while so I thought he’d fallen asleep. Then I heard him say, quietly) Well, I still think Nana should be allowed to marry 2 different people so I could keep my Poppop and she could be Mrs. Claus.

I am so happy with Sonlight!

As you know, I bought the Sonlight curriculum and we started 3rd grade for B on July 11th. I am so happy with this curriculum! BTW, I am so happy I can FINALLY spell curriculum without the spellcheck, squiggly red line under it! YEAH, ME!

Going with a literature-based curriculum was the BEST decision the hubs and I made.

B loves reading! Every day we have the standard reading from textbooks and the standard writing that he is SO not fond of (STILL!). But the only way he is going to get better at anything is by actually doing it over and over again. Everyday I read to him and he reads to me. He hates that, according to our Sonlight lesson plan, I am to only read to him one chapter a day. The reading that he is to do aloud is only 1-3 chapters a day. He wants me and him to read more, so he can find out what happens next! THAT is excitement, anticipation, and that is the incentive that gets him through his least favorite part (STILL, to my frustration, but I know it is typical of a boy his age), the writing that he needs to do during his spelling, creative writing and science lessons. He loves Science, but he does not like the fact that he needs to write the answers to questions that test his comprehension of his Science learning. This week, we are finally moving on from book learning of Science to experiments. We have learned all kinds of things about many animals so far. The difference between monkeys and apes (monkeys have tails); bats are the only flying animal with fur; sloths NEVER clean themselves, are green in color b/c of the algae that grows on them and they have moths living in their fur!

And can I just say, I just LOVE homeschooling my son?! When he was in public school for kindergarten and 1st grade, I could not wait to ask him every day, “So, what did you learn TODAY?” But, like most parents, I received the answers of, “Nothing” or “I don’t know”. Then, a few times a week B would pipe up with a, “Did you know that…” something that he had learned at school that week. But that’s all I got, bits and pieces. And that’s about all I remember from MY education – bits and pieces. But now B and I are learning everything TOGETHER. I love learning about something and then learning what each of us got out of it as we talk about it. Because something different jumps out at each of us and each of us processes that something and then explains it to the other. I feel so blessed to be this involved with my child’s education right now!

The Summons

The three of us were spending a long weekend at my sister-in-law’s on the Eastern shore, 7/29 – 8/1, when I received an email from my dad. The hubs and I climbed into bed around 10pm on 7/29 and I decided to check my emails before turning out the light. I received this VERY formal email from my dad:

“(Your mother) and I tentatively are considering having a brunch for a dozen individuals next Saturday, August 6th. The purpose of this email is to inquire as to whether you would be available to attend such a brunch at our house around 11 a.m. on that date. I know this is very short notice but if it is feasible for you to reply this weekend as to your availability on August 6th (your mother) and I would appreciate you doing so.



P.S. I know that you are away at the beach this weekend, but I was hoping that you would be checking your emails and be able to reply.”

OK, first of all, the editor wannabe in me CRINGED at the words, “…tentatively are considering…” Either you are tentatively having a brunch or considering having a brunch, but “tentatively are considering” is SO WRONG. I was disappointed that it was so late and I was unable to call my dad about this email; it worried me. I read it to the hubs and he had the same reaction as me: “What’s with the formal wording?” We knew something out of the ordinary was up. My dad has been retired from the government for over 9 years, but this email sounded like it was written in “governmentese”. The hubs and I started joking around about why my dad was having this brunch and who the other “…dozen individuals…” could be.

“Maybe your folks won the lottery. Maybe they FINALLY decided to where they are going to retire,” said the hubs. Maybe someone is sick…., I thought. “Maybe someone has died!” I said. I know what you are thinking. Why would someone organize a BRUNCH over a WEEK in advance to announce a DEATH? Well, readers, let me explain my family to you! I am 39 years old, married and a mother with a brother who is a very responsible 42 year old. However, our parents still think we are incapable of handling “news”. Let me give you a couple of examples.

My grandmother (my mom’s mother) died while I was in college and I did not find out about it until after I graduated. And my parents did not VOLUNTEER it after I graduated; some time after graduation I brought up my grandmother and my mom said, WITHOUT looking me in the eye, that she had passed away. “WHAT?! WHEN?!” I exclaimed. My mother informed me that grandma’s death, funeral and burial had occurred during my final year of college and my mother did not feel it was necessary to inform me since I did not have the “ideal” relationship with my grandma. OK, I’ll give you that she was the “B” grandmother and not the “A” grandmother, but she WAS my grandmother, I was an adult when she died and I should have had the decision to go to her funeral or not taken away from me.

Flash forward 17 years and me, the hubs, my brother and my parents are having a lovely Christmas holiday dinner at my mom’s sister’s house. My aunt’s two children are there with one spouse and one finacee. I don’t recall the specifics to led to my conversation halter, but I brought up my mom’s brother who lived in Branson, MO. The entire table went silent. Everyone stopped in mid-rise of a fork to their mouth or just stared at me, open-mouthed. Everyone, that is, except for my mom, who continued to eat while staring directly at her plate. I looked around the table at everyone, wondering what I had said that was so wrong. Finally, one of my cousins said to me, incredulously, “Uncle Gordon died two years ago.” My jaw dropped and my eyes bugged. I turned to look at my mother, but she was still staring straight into her plate, and continued to move the fork from plate to mouth. “Why didn’t you tell me?!” I whispered. She said nothing. I looked at my brother, “Did you know?!” “No,” he said, quietly. I became furious. Furious at the belittling that I was still receiving from my parents as well as the embarrassment I had just suffered in front of family. So, you can understand why I would suspect that a family member might have died and my parents think it OK to invite us over to brunch more than a week later to inform us.

I told the hubs that I would call my mom (an early riser) as soon as we woke up the next day to find out WHAT this email from my dad meant. Then I rolled over, turned out the light and closed my eyes. I was about to nod off when the hubs exclaimed, “I bet your dad finally got his book published!” and scared the bejesus out of me. I thought for a moment and said, “Yes. That is quite possible,” and finally fell asleep.

The hubs was right. At the brunch, my dad announced that the book he had written about his and my mom’s first trip to Alaska had been published! And this isn’t just a travel book about the sights and sounds they experienced in a beautiful state. My parents almost died on this trip, when the state road they were traveling on gave way and their van plummeted down an embankment, rolling over. Of course, they did not tell us what happened and the first time I found out about the details of this accident was when my dad asked me to edit an early version of his book. *rolling my eyes*

It’s so interesting as a child to watch your parents get frustrated and angry at the stubbornness of THEIR parents and then watch your parents repeat this stubborn behavior to us, their own children. I am very proud of my dad for publishing a book. It is a dream of my own, actually, and one that the hubs has been encouraging me to do for quite some time. But my brother and I are in for the fight of our lives when the time comes for the parents to relinquish the reigns to their children…

I’m an International Read!

Something has been puzzling me when I am a couple or several cars back at a red light. The light turns green and the 1st car does not go b/c they are looking down at their phone. I don’t get why the cars immediately behind the lead car don’t toot to wake the person up. I do it. It’s bothered me for several months and it just dawned on me yesterday – everyone behind the lead car is on their phone, too, and has no idea the light has changed either! It is such a burden being the only perfect driver on the road. *SIGH*

It’s quite interesting to see the people who are coming out with daytime talk shows in the Fall, all hoping to fill the void Oprah has left. Trust me, you can’t do it. Not even you, Anderson Cooper. Not. Even. You. *sniff*

As a side note, I just found out Anderson Cooper was gay last year and I was crushed. I had no idea. But I’m not taking him off my list! It’s my list and I’ll have a gay if I want to… (sung a la Lesley Gore, 1965) And I am not the only woman who laments over Anderson. The hubs was telling me about a focus group of women discussing the different perceptions of men and women as they get older. The leader of the group went around the table asking the ladies to name a celebrity with grey hair they though was sexy. The 1st woman said, “George Clooney.” The 2nd woman said, “Sean Connery.” The 3rd woman said, “Anderson Cooper,” and the whole table erupted into a bunch of, “Ooo, yeah, ANDERSON…” LOL!

So, I’m looking at the stats of hits on my blog and they are broken down by where viewers live and what they were searching for to bring up my blog in the results list. The majority of peeps get to my blog b/c I link posts on my Facebook page. But people have found me through Google and other sites that I have never heard of! And the funniest web searches that have pulled me into the result list have been people who searched the web for “wore a poise pad” (from my post The Morning After) and “beef stir-fry with broccoli and cauliflower rocco dispirito” (from Obviously, Rocco Dispirito and I have two TOTALLY different palates). LOL! I have been viewed by peeps not only in the US, but also in Canada, the UK, Germany, Denmark, China, Singapore, Slovenia, India and New Zealand! I’m an international read!!! 😀 My most viewed post ever was the one titled, “Am I gay?” with a close 2nd being “Divorce and The Superbowl”. It even tells me how people are viewing my blog. The Operating system used most often is Windows, but it also tells me that people have viewed my blog from their iPads, iPods, Androids, Blackberrys and others. That is so cool! Hi, everyone! Thanks for reading! I really appreciate you stopping by!

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