Monthly Archives: February 2012

Look What I Found at the Target Dollar Spot?

I have been struggling to find a good book to read lately.  Maybe my expectations have been set too high after reading the Harry Potter series for the last 2 years (once to myself and then to Ben).  I tried some Nora Roberts novels but have been unhappy with the way she writes and with the similar plots.  She tends to write inside the head of every character and I don’t care for that.  I also don’t care for the antagonism she puts between the main male and female characters.  Most men are mean and rude and act like they despise the women, yet they grab the women and take kisses and cop feels against the women’s wills.  Not for me.

I checked Dannielle Steele’s lates book, 44 Charles Street, out of the library earlier this month.  I’d read plenty of her books in my 20s and I thought a novel of hers would be some easy, light reading.  Wrong.  I could not get past the 1st few chapters.  She kept repeating the same character descriptions over and over again.  I understand the need to establish who is whom and how they tick in the beginning, but it was insulting to the reader to continue to repeat it and the story wasn’t moving along because of it.  *sigh*  I really wanted something good to read besides homeschooling non-fiction!

Then yesterday, B and I popped into Target quickly to pick up 1 thing – a bottle of carpet cleaner to remove a stain.  We were there for at least 45 minutes.  Their “Dollar Spot” was at the entrance where we went in and I let B browse for a little sumpin-sumpin.  I was looking, too, and low and behold, on the bottom shelf, I found unabridged and annotated novels!

  1. Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne
  2. Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
  3. The Scarlet Letter, A Romance by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  4. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austin
The Phantom of the Opera was there, too, but I did not buy that one, just the 4 listed, above.  Each book was $2.50 – awesome!  Although Sense and Sensibility with Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet and Pride and Prejudice with Keira Knightly are two of my favorite movies, I’ve never read a Jane Austin novel.  Shocking, I know, for a bookie like me.  Sense and Sensibility and The Scarlet Letter (also a book I’ve never read) are for me.  Around The World In Eighty Days and Black Beauty are for me to read to B.  I’m so excited!  I already started reading Sense and Sensibility this morning; perfect activity for this cozy, rainy day.

I’m Married to Snow White

The hubs is an animal whisperer.  Not a horse whisperer or a dog whisperer but an all animal whisper.  Creatures great and small seem to seek him out and trust him.  They come close to him, look him in the eyes, allow him to touch them, even pick them up, or rub up against him.  I mean wild as well as domestic animals.  I have seen dogs, cats, hedgehogs, rabbits, chipmunks, ferrets, fish, horses, giraffes, monkeys, birds, elephants and even penguins come to the hubs.  It is absolutely amazing to witness!

A couple of weeks ago while I was working my afternoon to late evening shift at work, the hubs and B went on a nature walk in the woods across the street from us.  They took pictures of animal tracks, sketched mushrooms and trees they saw and enjoyed being able to walk far enough into the woods to not see the suburbia in which we live.  After they had been exploring the woods for about 20 minutes, they heard rustling near by.

The hubs signaled for B to stop moving and be quiet.  They listened.  In less than a minute, 3 deer appeared and walked right up to the hubs.  There are kids in these woods on a regular basis, playing “war” games and shooting paintball guns at each other.  Deer are pretty skittish animals.  So why would they walk right up to humans?  Because they were seeking the animal whisperer, of course!

Being 9 yrs old, B could not keep quiet for long and exclaimed in excitement over the closeness of the deer.  That scared them off.  Being the wise man that he is, the hubs decided that he and B should go home and leave the deer in peace.  When I called home during my dinner break to say good night to B, he told me all about their adventure in the woods.  He was so excited, but I was not surprised at what had happened.

It was close to midnight when I turned down the alley behind our house on my way home from work that night.  I was tired but I still kept an eye out on the ground for the rabbits that tend to dart around the alley at night.  As I approached our garage, I saw a flash of movement to my right and slammed on the breaks as a deer walked in front of my car to stand in front of the hubs’ garage door and look back at me.  After a couple of seconds, I decided to proceed on, slowly, and open my side of the garage.  The noise, along with me getting closer, finally caused the deer to step aside and then finally run down the alley and towards the woods.  I am convinced that deer was hovering around our house, looking for the hubs.

I am still wondering what she sought from him?

Back in the (Teaching) Saddle Again

I admit it.  I have not been teaching Ben regularly since I started my night hours.  I’ve been stuck.  And I finally figured out in what – denial and unacceptance (the spell check just informed me I have created another new word.  Yeah, me!  Note to self – create a page on my blog with the list of words I’ve made up and their definitions.).  I think what I should really call it is self-pity.  From the moment I wake up each morning, I am walking the plank, watching the clock tick off each minute closer to going to work.  And it’s pretty much thankless work.  Not to my employer nor my supervisor.  They are great.  They understand what a hard job I and the other specialists in my department have and appreciate us.  And when other departments have job openings, they love hiring peeps from my department b/c we have such a broad knowledge base of company products and we’ve battled it out on the front lines and survived.  ;o)

But it’s still a tough job with not much thanks from the customers.  In fact, the majority of my customers are downright rude and outwardly hostile.

I know times are tough.  I know what it’s like living paycheck to paycheck, not leaving the house for days b/c there is no money in the account for gas, “shopping” for groceries in my mom’s pantry to get us through to the next paycheck.  I’ve been there.  And I went looking for a job to relieve some of that stress, save up so we can buy a house and do nice extra things, like saying “Yes” when B asks if we can go to Disney on Ice.  So, I don’t judge my customers when they call in.  I don’t worry about how they got to where they are, I just want to help them, as much as I can, in the place they are now.  I am empathetic, helpful and very respectful towards all my customers.  But their frustration and fear and anger at their situation is, more times than not, unleashed on those of us who answer the phone when they call.

It has always been hard for me to not take things personally, to let things roll off my back.  I try very hard to treat everyone the way I want to be treated.  Even if I feel a business has made a mistake and it has caused me embarrassment or inconvenience, I have never gotten nasty nor rude with the person I reach out to for assistance b/c where would the incentive be for that person to even listen to me, let alone help?  But, sadly, I am in the minority.  I am surprised I have been able to hold off their attitudes as long as I have, but my shield, I’m afraid, has finally been penetrated and, I fear, is irreparable.

However, wallowing won’t make the customers nicer, won’t make the next year and a half go by any faster, won’t clean the house, educate B, stop the daily tears nor get me out of PJs.  So it needs to stop.  My mom told me this morning that all I can do is pray blessings on the rude and cussing customers to get me through it.  That will help me.  I am allowing complete strangers steal my joy.  am not cleaning my house and am not educating my son at the level with which he deserves.  So, yesterday, we climbed back on the daily school bus and rode to the family room for snuggles and LEGO building while I taught and B learned.  It was wonderful, quality time between us, quality time we have not been getting.

I know I’m never going to be able to prevent rude strangers from hurting my feelings and making me cry at work.  I’m just built that way.  But I am taking a stand now and will no longer let them into my personal life and effect my family.

Our Weekend

Here we are at Disney On Ice.  We all look ridiculous and psycho and imperfect and I wasn’t going to post this picture because, honestly, I didn’t like that I squished my face back into my neck and I look all doubled-chinned.  But, this is us!  We are ridiculous and psycho and imperfect and we wouldn’t have each other any other way.


I had a wonderful weekend with my 2 favorite people in the world!  We went to Disney on Ice, built with LEGOS, snuggled, ate, watched movies, listened to music, danced and laughed.  Oh, how we laughed!  We should have our own reality show b/c we are hysterical and the only one who would show their situation up in here is the 9 year old.

Saturday morning, B said to me, “I asked Daddy what the difference is between a vegan and a virgin.”  I froze for several seconds until I could get my eyes to blink again and looked at the hubs.  He smiled and nodded at me.  “What did you say,” I asked the hubs.  “I answered him,” he said.  “And what did daddy tell you?”  “Well,” said B, “I already knew what a vegan was.  I just didn’t know what a virgin was.”  “What’s a vegan,” I asked.  “Someone who doesn’t eat meat or dairy.”  I was impressed with his answer and afraid of the next one.  But I asked anyway, “What’s a virgin?”  “I don’t remember,” B replied.  I look over at the hubs, he grins, gives me a thumbs up, wiggles his fingers like he’s typing and points at the computer.  “Come on, get it up on your blog!  That’s good stuff, right there!”  B never remembers what the hubs says but everything I say goes in B’s ears and out his mouth.

Saturday and Sunday nights the hubs and I stayed up way too late, having heart-to-heart talks.  We haven’t had one is sooooo long since I’m working now and it was sooooo nice.  He told me that after 17 years he has finally gotten something through his head: I don’t like nor want things; I want memories.  And he realized B is the same way.  So, I will not be receiving anymore gifts from Best Buy or Advance Auto Parts.  Phew.  My 40th birthday is coming up and I am now completely relaxed and unworried about what he’s going to give me.  Because I was not relaxed and I was worried before our talk this weekend.  It’s nice to know an old dog can learn new tricks.  Even after 17 years.

If you like piña coladas, and getting caught in the rain…

I just worked 5 nights straight and have the next 2 nights off.  You’d think I’d be dragging myself in the door and falling into bed.  But for some reason, when I have the next day off, I am wired when I get home.  I’m excited that I get to spend the whole next day with my guys.  And the juices were flowing with ideas for my blog during the car ride home, so I’m going to take advantage of this energy and get some things down.  However, my blog idea – in the title – is going to have to wait b/c once I came home, I found things to warm my heart so I have to talk about those first.

I expressed to the hubs last week that when I come home from work and check on B, it takes all of my willpower not to crawl into bed with him or carry him back to our bed with me.  I miss him!  And kids are always at their most precious when they are asleep.  He recently switched from the bottom bunk back to the top bunk, so I can’t even  hug or kiss his sleeping form now.  I walked into our bedroom tonight and found this:


The hubs is sleeping in B’s room and B is in our room!  All warm and angelic-looking and ripe for snuggling!  My man is so good to me.  But wait, there’s more.  I snapped this picture with the camera that sits on my nightstand.  Ever other night when I come home my 2 cats (brother and sister) are asleep, wrapped around each other in all kinds of different positions.  So I’m snapping pictures of them at night and plan to publish a Kitty Sutra book.  (Thankfully they were keeping it rated G tonight since B was in the bed.)

As hard as it was to not crawl into bed with these guys, I came downstairs to blog before I forgot my ideas.  I uploaded the pictures expecting to find just the above pic and those of the cats on the camera but found a surprise.  Pictures of the dinner I left for the boys on Valentine’s Day while I was at work.  B had specifically asked for broccoli and cheese soup, with ham, in a bread bowl for dinner.  I made a pot of soup, carved out the bread bowl (could not find anything in-between dinner roll and round loaf for a family of 8, so I went with the loaf) and left it for the hubs to assemble for dinner.  He took pictures of the finished product!  Because that’s what I do when I want to post a recipe on my blog.  The bread bowl filled with soup with 2 spoons in it in portrait mode.  Another one in landscape mode.  And another one with a plate of butter and a butter knife next to the bread bowl of soup.  *sniff, sniff*  I’m all vaclempt! Tawk amongst yaselves!  I’ll give you a topic – The Civil War was not civil nor a war.  (Any Mike Meyer fans out there?)

OK, I’ve pulled myself together and can now move on to the title of the blog…

On the way home from work Tuesday, Valentine’s Day, and tonight, I heard the song Escape (The Piña Colada Song) by Rupert Holmes.  I love that song!  My favorite line is, “Oh. It’s you.”  LOL!  It’s one of those great songs that crosses barriers.  No matter the age, color, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity or gender of people in any given bar or club in this country, you play that song and everyone’s going to sing along.

When I was younger (I actually remember that song hitting the air waves when it was released) I had a completely different view of the song.  Although it was catchy and I could not help but sing along, I hated the story line.  It’s about infidelity.  And, for some reason, I never focused on her infidelity, only his.  I had the ignorant viewpoint that she must have been forced to seek comfort and attention elsewhere whereas he was just a pig, if solely for the reason that he called his partner his “old lady”.  Ugh!  I hate that description!

Well, I’m all grown up now, and fully understand what the reality of staying together with the same person for 17 years is all about.  However, neither one of us refers to the other as “my old man” or “my old lady”.  I actually waggled my pointer finger in the air while typing that last sentence.  hehehe.  Tonight this song gave me an idea for couples who may be stuck in a rut.  Both parties write a personal ad, place it in the paper (or online) and the other person has to guess which ad was written by their partner.  So that feelings are not hurt and the spirit is kept fun (instead of causing arguments) the ads (at least the 1st ones) should be somewhat easy to guess.  Start with at least 1 thing your partner will recognize as you with a few things they may not know.  They’ll find you but also learn something new about you.  I think it can be an enrichment activity that is done several times, at least 5, to get to know each other all over again.  Remind him or her what turns you on and what doesn’t.  Tell them about something new you are into or want to try.  I think it would be fun and I can’t wait to share my idea with the hubs in the morning!

My KFC Dinner Attempt

I cracked open my restaurant secrets cookbook again tonight and fried chicken for the 1st time.  And not just any friend chicken; I wanted to duplicate KFC!  KFC fries their chicken in special pressure cookers.  My pressure cooker’s manual said that oil was a no-no and could cause a fire, so I had to figure out another way.  I talked over my options with the hubs – just fry the chicken in oil until it was done or fry it for half the time, just to get the color and crispiness on the outside, and move it to the pressure cooker for the remainder of the cooking time to obtain moist, juicy chicken through and through.  He said to go for the latter.  So, here’s what I did…
Put 1 cup flour, 2 tbsp salt, 1 tsp black pepper and 1/2 tsp Accent (pure MSG) in a bag and shake to combine.
The whole chicken I bought and cut up was over 6 lbs and the breasts were huge, so I just fried the legs, thighs and wings.  I sprinkled them with salt and pepper and put them in the fridge for 2 hours. Then let them sit on the counter for 30 minutes to come back to room temperature.


I whisked together 1 egg and 2 cups milk (way too much liquid, but you can’t really cut an egg in half) and coated each chicken piece in the mixture.


Then I put each chicken piece in the seasoned flour bag and shook to coat.


I heated canola oil in my dutch oven to 350 degrees and put the thighs in 1st, since they would take the longest.  I cooked the thighs for 7 minutes and the legs and wings for 5 minutes.


These are my thighs after they came out of the oil.


These are my thighs and legs.  The legs did not brown as much as the thighs. I’m accounting this to the cooling of the oil as more chicken was placed in it.


These are my wings after coming out of the oil.

I forgot to take a picture of the chicken in the pressure cooker before closing it up.  Since there has to be some form of liquid in a pressure cooker, and it cannot be oil, I put 1 cup of water in the bottom.  I put the meat/steaming rack in, set the chicken pieces on top of it and set the timer to 7 minutes on high.

This is what the chicken looked like after it came out of the pressure cooker.  It was tender and juicy and tasted just like KFC – plenty salty.  LOL!  However, it was not crisp; it was soggy.  The hubs has suggested that next time, I pressure cook 1st to get the moist, juicy meat, and then fry to crisp up the outside.  I want to try that.  I also want to try just frying it.

Of All The Vegetables To Hate – Potatoes? Seriously?!

B has always been a good vegetable eater.  He likes broccoli, brussels sprouts, spinach, carrots, peas, corn, green beans, asparagus, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, yellow squash, zucchini, mushrooms, lettuce, cucumbers, cauliflower, snow peas, etc.  But the bane of his existence is the white potato.  I guess that is too dramatic.  He’ll gladly eat mashed white potatoes with gravy.  However, fixed any other way, I get this face:

Can you see the flash reflecting off of the tears in his eyes?
This picture is without the flash and the tears are more obvious.

We celebrated Valentine’s Day tonight since I will be working the night of the 14th.  We had shrimp, lobster (thank you, Safeway, for your $5 lobster tail special!), a ribeye and au gratin potatoes.  Since we were celebrating a holiday, I decided to let us off the hook for a “real” vegetable and just went with protein and a starch.  The starch was butter potatoes done au gratin – milk, flour, salt, pepper, cheddar cheese, butter – all ingredients that B likes individually.  So, if he likes all the parts, why “the face” over the whole?!

I need to stop.  I need to not make an issue over the white potatoes and be so thankful for all the other veggies that B eats.  But I needed to type this out, share it with y’all, to get the annoyance/worry out of my system and move on.  Thank you for letting me get that out of my system so I can now move on.  Having a blog is so cathartic.  Y’all rock!


The LEGO table is currently a runway.  From left to right – the hubs plane, my plane and B’s plane.
B’s fabulous Lay N Go fits perfectly underneath the table.

As I stated in my last post, National Bubble Wrap Day, I wanted to make a LEGO Table for B for Christmas.  However, I went back to work outside of the home full-time on November 28th after 6 1/2 years of being a SAHM.  So I wasn’t able to do everything I wanted to do for Christmas.  But last weekend, a friend of mine and I went to IKEA and I finally bought the LACK Table I needed to make B his LEGO table.  Making this table was a lesson in humility.  One I don’t think I would have received and accepted had I not gone back to work.  You see, I am not happy about going back to work.  I miss being a SAHM.  I miss spending all day with my B.  I miss seeing the hubs walk through the door at 2:30pm and all 3 of us spending half of our days together.  I miss reading to B at bedtime, tucking him in as snug as a bug in a rug and kissing his sweet smelling, sleepy head goodnight.  However, all these changes helped me to accept the imperfect, yet beautiful, LEGO table I made for B.

The hubs put the LACK Table together for me Tuesday afternoon and I made it a LEGO table Thursday morning.  I put all 8 LEGO plates on top of the table, touching each other, and tried to line them up in a square.  However, it was very difficult – they kept sliding off center, just a skoonch.  I got the “brilliant” idea to use LEGO pieces to bridge each plate and keep them together.  It’s a good thing I did!  I assumed that the plates should be glued to the table flush up against each other.  However, when I tried to put the LEGO pieces on top of 2 plates, flush was too close!  There actually needed to be a small space between each plate.  I’m so glad I thought of that.  Otherwise, B would not have been able to lock bricks in place across plates.  Here is a picture of the slight space between plates:

There isn’t much of a space between plates, but you can still see it.  And I was unable to lock those 10 LEGO pieces onto the plates while the plates were flush against each other.

I originally thought I would put Krazy Glue on each plate, one at a time, glue it to the table and then move to the next plate.  But just as I was about to detach a plate from the rest, I decided I could do all of them at once.  (shaking my head)  So, I carefully flipped all 8 plates over, outlined each one with Krazy Glue and then flipped them back over.  Of course, I got Krazy Glue on me, all over the table surface and wasn’t able to adhere the plates perfectly.  When I saw the smear of Krazy Glue all over the table, I thought I could clean it up.  Wrong!  I sprayed  some cleaner on one side of the table and wiped it up with some paper towels, leaving these permanent, white marks (they all don’t show up in this picture, but I can see them in person.):

While I was quickly attempting to wipe up the excess glue, the glue actually hardened.  When I flipped the plates, I did not get them in place perfectly squared.  They were crooked, and hardened that way.  You can see that they are not perfectly aligned in this picture to the left.  I started to get upset at myself about it, but then stopped.  No one is going to stop and study this table enough to notice except for me.  And even if they do, who the heck cares?  I brought B over to see it and he started jumping up and down and screaming in excitement.  “IS IT DRY?!  CAN I START USING IT NOW?!” he asked.  He loved it.  He not only had a LEGO table, but his Mama made it for him.  I. Was. Da bomb.  And I let it go that there was not exactly 1 5/8″ of red on all 4 sides of the table.  I actually think it looks great.  It isn’t perfect, but it serves it’s purpose, just like me.  It isn’t straight, but B loves it, just like me.  I’m able to accept that and be at peace with it.  I know that would not have been true last October, before I went back to work. Just one of the surprising blessings I’ve discovered from going back to work and turning our world upside down.  “Let go, Let God.”  :o)

National Bubble Wrap Day

Sunday, I went shopping at IKEA with a friend.  I had not been in an IKEA since before B was born!  And Sunday was probably my 3rd time in an IKEA, E-ver.  It was fabulous – the store, the company, the double date with our hubses (I really need to start my own dictionary) afterwards.  Anywho, During a break, I checked FB quickly and GMA informed me that the next day was National Bubble Wrap Day.  Did you know that?  I didn’t even know there was such a day, let alone when it was.  I felt so unprepared.  :o/

The main reason I was going to IKEA was to buy a LACK Table so I could make B a LEGO table.  I found a tutorial online and the person used the IKEA LACK Table with LEGO plates.  “Why spend $70 – $200 on a LEGO table from a store when I could make my own with a $7.99 LACK Table?” I asked.  “Because you’ll spend at least $70 in gas to get to and from the closest IKEA,” replied the hubs.  Welllllll…it was too late, b/c I had already ordered used LEGO plates online and they arrived the end of November.  Unfortunately, I went back to work full-time then, and was unable to get to IKEA for the LACK Table in order to make and give B the LEGO table for Christmas.

I got me a LACK Table on Sunday!  I told myself I would only buy one of the colors selling for $7.99.  It did not matter what color it was; it was to be played with and beat up by a boy.  Then we got to the aisle where the LACK Tables were and the $12.99 red one called out to me like a siren.  My friend told me that the blah, beige LEGO plates I bought would really look smashing against the $12.99 red table instead of the boring $7.99 white or black one and would definitely clash with the $7.99 birch.  She said she’d go with the red one.  Because that’s what friends do – enable each other.  So I bought the red.  (See red LACK Table in the background of pic to the right.  Isn’t it beautiful?)

On the way home from our double date at The Wolfe Tone’s Pub at Blackthorne Inn, I realized that I’d never opened the package of LEGO plates when they arrived.  I had no idea what condition they were in, or even if they were in there at all!  Ooops.  I had a lot on my mind; transition from SAHM to full-time WOHM during the holiday season kept me a little distracted.  So Monday morning, I opened the box of plates while holding my breath.  They were dirty and had some kind of non-human hair on them, but they were all there, the correct size and color and none were broken.  Yeah!  (Phew!)

More importantly, they were wrapped in bubble wrap, and the festivities began!  B, as you can see from the 2 pictures, got creative with his popping – Riverdancing in the 1st pic and landing from a doorway position in the 2nd one.  He said he wished he had a really fast arm like Eve in Wall-E to pop them, but I reminded him the fun would be over much too quickly.  Ahhh, the simple things in life – celebrating National Bubble Wrap Day with the ones you love.  And not inviting Eve.

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