Twas the Eve before Thanksgiving…

…and all through the house

The new stay at home mom

Was cleaning like a louse

Ok.  This is going nowhere fast.  ‘Cause what I really wanted to say was: Have you ever been at Thanksgiving dinner…and someone halfway down the table gets the brilliant idea that you should all go around the room and say what you’re thankful for? 

Except by the time it comes around to you, everyone has already said what YOU were gonna say?!  So then you just sound like an uncreative copycat.


I’m gonna say what I’m thankful for on Thanksgiving EVE and the rest of y’ins* can eat my turkey dust! 

NOWWWW who’s the copycat?!?

Here goes. 

I’m thankful for:

My husband and my children.  I could spend a hundred lifetimes trying to be worthy of the gifts you are to me.

For my parents and my siblings and their families.  I hope I am everything you need me to be.  Thank you for everything you are to me.

For my friends – new and old.  You are such treasures to me.

For everyone’s continued happiness and health (because without health, it doesn’t mean much).

For the earthly gifts God has given me: a house, a car, warm clothing, a plentiful table.

For the gifts of intelligence, creativity, humor and strong faith.

For a year’s worth of unemployment compensation that let me do what I’ve never been able to do as a wife and mother.  Breathe.  Just take a step out of the frantic, seemingly never-ending scramble.  And breathe.

That’s it.  That’s all I got.  P.S.  Dear Santa, please bring me a job.


*Did I ever tell you that Hubby and I lived in Central Pennsylvania for like ten years?  And during that time we picked up certain phrases that still pop up in conversation – one of which is “y’ins”.  It’s a contraction of the words ‘you’ and ‘ones’.  Spelled ‘y’ins’ and pronounced YIHNS.  (Hey – it’s Central Pennsylvania!  Just go with it.  It’s kinda like the Jersey Speak equivalent of “youse guys.”)  In summation, youse guys can eat my turkey dust because I am thankful that I was thankful FIRST!  Now I gotta get back to cleaning the house.  Like a louse.

Pet Peeve

I find it’s always best to define a phrase before I use it in general conversation.  This works particularly well with my kids.  I learned this lesson the first time I let them go down a snowy hill in a sled by themselves.

They were little – maybe 2 and 3 years old – and I made it very clear to them that if they heard me yelling “BAIL!” they were to immediately fall off the sled.

As they started down the hill, gathering speed, they veered left so that they were headed straight at the one tree in the whole place.  At which point I started to run in slow-motion while screaming, “Bail!  BAIL!!!  BAAAAAAAILLLLLLL!!!!

They missed the tree by inches and when I arrived at the bottom of the hill in tears with snot frozen all over my face, I asked (ok, yes, in a yell-y sort of way if you must know) why they hadn’t bailed when I told them to.

“We don’t know what ‘bail’ is,” was the reply from their pink-cheeked, big-eyed puzzled faces.  They were having FUN!  What was Mom so worked up about anyway?!?

Ohhh, Most Honorable Sensei.  This Grasshopper has now learned to DEFINE phrases before sending others plummeting towards certain head injury and broken bones.

So.  Before we get started here, do you know what a ‘pet peeve’ is?

No, I’m not talking about the ‘pet peeve’ as I first discovered it in my mother’s highschool yearbook: all innocuous inside jokes and stuff.  Mary Betsy’s pet peeve is Gilbert’s scarf during pep rally.  Tee hee hee.

Huh?  If my pet peeve were Gilbert’s scarf during pep rally, I would jump Gilbert outside the sock hop and use my switch-blade to de-scarf his gullet.  Now THAT’s what I mean when I say ‘pet peeve’.   Hulk during Defcon ‘Roid Rage Pet Peeve.

Ok.  Now that we’ve level-set, let me tell you about a pet peeve of mine which is top-of-mind because I cleaned THREE bathrooms today and all THREE bathrooms contained massive amounts of petty peevishness.

And for the record, no.  No, I’m not EVEN talking about what happens in and around all the toilets.  This remains a mystery to me which I will never solve and I’ve given up trying.  The particular pet peeve in question is…duh, duh, duhn…the sink.  And the spit.

How is the sink NOT a big enough target for all the spitting that happens in the bathroom??  Again, I ask you: how is the sink NOT BIG ENOUGH to contain ALL THE SPIT?!?

Why…WHY…is there so much spit on THE MIRROR?  And AROUND the sink??  But not IN THE SINK?!?

Gaaaah!!!  WHAT IS GOING ON?!?

Do you watch to see how cute you are as you’re spitting out the toothpaste and that’s why all of it ends up on the mirror?!?  Do you have some rudimentary blowhole on the TOP of your head you haven’t learned to control yet – so as you’re brushing your teeth into the sink, everything is spewing out towards the mirror?!?  Do you stand fully upright with a book on your head working on your posture WHILE you’re brushing your teeth and you just let the chips/spit fall where they may??

I don’t get it.  I honestly don’t get it.

Here’s what you need to do: hold whatever ya got in your mouth until you are bent-at-the-waist at a ninety-degree-angle above the sink.  Then, and only then, can you let it out.  And if you have to?  Just to be safe??  Get yer everlovin’ head right down IN the sink before you spit.  God save the Queen!

Premature spit-ulation.

Do you know what that is, boys and girls?  That’s my PET PEEVE!!!!


As a “special surprise” after dinner last night, I served those Limited Edition Pringles to my kids.

Judging by their horrified looks come dessert time, you would have thought I offered to stab the dog in the eye instead.

Have you seen these Limited Edition flavors?  Lay’s fired a Chicken and Waffles, Sriracha, and Garlic Bread flavored volley this summer.  Pringles returns-fire at Holiday time with Pecan Pie and White Chocolate flavored potato chips.

Which, I must say, as desserts go, is not the WORST dessert my kids have ever eaten.  So there.  (And no, I will NOT share with you the WORST dessert my kids have ever eaten.  Because then you’d want the recipe…or you’d call the cops.  So let’s just say the kids thought they were popsicles.  They didn’t know anything about the vodka until later.)

And in the scheme of things, the chips are really…ok tasting.  In fact, the Pecan Pie flavored Pringles taste like McGriddles.  For the record, I am not opposed to a McGriddle-tasting item once in a while.

But my daughter won’t be eating this flavor.  She’s allergic to pecans – and even though I’ve tried to convince her that there’s not a single, solitary ‘pecan’ listed in the ingredients – she refuses to budge.  So she’s relegated to consuming the White Chocolate flavored ones.

These?  These taste like those mini dehydrated marshmallows that come in the little hot chocolate packet.  But before you add water.  You know, kinda crunchy and squeaky in your teeth.

Yep, the White Chocolate flavored ones are all hers.  Or Sonny’s.  Whoever wants ‘em.  And if they’re not gone by the time the first big snowfall comes around, I’m going to sprinkle them on hot chocolate and see if anyone notices.


The time has come to bring Starbucks’ lack of decaf to New York City’s attention.

Yeah.  That’s right.  What I just said.  Bring it!

But to clarify…did you know that Starbucks STOPS brewing fresh decaffeinated coffee at 2 in the afternoon?  This pretty much guarantees that all those fools in there AFTER 2 are drinking full-bore wack juice.

And THAT seems like just the sort of “this has GOT to be bad for you” thing that New York City would want to know about.  You know, one of those “this has GOT to be bad for you and it’s really none of our business since you’re an adult, but we’re gonna try to put the kibosh on it anyway” type of deals…along the same lines as massive, sugary Big Gulps.

How do I even know that Starbucks doesn’t brew decaf after 2?  ‘Cause I asked for a decaf at about 6:30 p.m. and they told me the whole tale:

Me:  “Uhhh…yeah…I’d like a tall decaf coffee please.  With room.”

Perky Starbucks Automaton:  “Ohhhh – gee, I’m sorry!  [while giving me a sooo saaaad frowny-face reserved for only the dumbest of the dumb-dumbs]  But we don’t brew fresh decaf coffee after 2 in the afternoon.”

Me:  “Uhhh…ok.  Can you just find some of the old decaf and warm it up for me?

PSA:  “Teeee heee.  I could make a cup of Verisimahlollyloolah for you.  It brews the perfect cup of coffee every time.”

Me:  “I have no idea what you just said, but if it’s decaf, I’m in.”

PSA:  “Sure!   Again, it’s Verisimahhhh-lolly-looooo-lah [said in the same way my grandmother spoke all foreign languages: English only LOUDER and SLOWWWWER] and it brews the perfect cup of coffee every time.”

Me:  “Okaaaay.  And again – as long as it’s decaf, I’m in.”

[5 minutes later…I’m THOROUGHLY annoyed at all the nonsense.  I just wanted a FREAKIN’ cuppa decaf coffee.  Why does it have to be so HARD?!?  Thanks for making me feel like an a$$, Starbucks.  I already feel intimidated every time I go in there with all the inside jokes that you call “ordering coffee.”  I thought I was doing so well knowing about “leaving room” and everything – and then you hit me upside the head with the “no fresh brewed decaf after 2” silliness.]

PSA:  “Miss?  Because Verisimahlollyloolah brews the perfect cup of coffee every time, I had to put it in a grande cup so that you would have room for milk.  Is that ok?”

Ok??  OK??!   Screw the coffee!  Screw the cup size!  Screw the room!  She just called me MISS…of COURSE it’s ok!!!

P.S. New York City, there is nothing to see here.  Move along.

Book Club or Bust!

My book club is now defunct.

It started slowly sliding off the hill when we began selecting vampire books-that-were-made-into-movies so we could all go see the movie together.

Then we just started going to the vampire movies and skipping the books altogether.

Then we started skipping the movies and meeting at winebars.

Every once in a blue moon I’ll get an email about a book suggestion and subsequent meet up at someone’s house, but because I don’t even live in that ‘hood anymore, I’ve kinda opted out.

But that’s not to say I haven’t been reading; Because I have.  I’ve been reading all the books I didn’t get a chance to read when they first came out because I had one of them-there JOBS everyone is always nattering on about.

[Well, and all the books I didn’t get a chance to read because I was slogging my way through five THOUSAND pages of Game of Thrones.  Here’s a friendly hint for you: There are actually FIVE books in that series, not four.  So when you get to the end of the fourth and nothing has been wrapped up and in fact 10 MILLION more characters and contenders-for-the-throne have been introduced, don’t be surprised.  Don’t be surprised when it’s that way at the end of the FIFTH book either.  Clearly there will be ten MORE books that eventually I’ll be too old to read or remember anything about.]

So, in no particular order are the books I’ve read recently.  Along with a few insightful comments about them:

  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.  Wack.  Totally wack.  And no I don’t want to read any more of her books because I’m sure it would be more of the same.  Doesn’t the husband ALWAYS do it?  Uh…nope.
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.  It starts to make you think that magicians might actually BE magic and not just DOING magic.  Either way, I sure hope Le Cirque des Rêves is coming to Denver soon!  In fact, I sent an email to the address listed on the proprietor’s business card, but the reply indicated it’s against their policy to disclose information about upcoming locations.  See??  Magic might actually EXIST!
  • The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh.  So sad.  But uplifting at the end.  But sad most of the time.  But some happy parts.  Very few though because the main character is so flawed.  But that part about the Victorian language of flowers was way interesting.  Also?  I may now want to adopt a dozen children from foster care.      
  • The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny.  It’s one of the Chief Inspector Gamache series.  I love him as a main character.  But I suppose everyone else does too.  If you were looking for a sex scandal at the monastery, you’ll be severely disappointed.  But Gamache’s second-in-command does fall off the deep-end, so there is that.
  • The Paris Wife by Paula McLain.  It should actually have been called “A Doormat in Paris.”  And as a side note?  Ernest Hemingway was a total a$$.

Finally, I’ve just begun reading Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese.  I’m starting to get that sinking feeling in my stomach.  The one that means I will hate this book but continue to read it anyway, and then be sad for the rest of my life that I did.  This is exactly the same way I felt about The Kite Runner and Little Bee.  I feel like the whole thing is just gonna be a HUGE boo-hoo fest that will linger long after the borrowed library book has expired and disappeared into the air above my Nook.


What’s up with Pikachu?  What is UP with Pikachu?!  He’s that cute little pink-cheeked Pokémon and all he ever says is, “Pee-cuh.  Peee-cuh.  Chew!  Peee-cuh-chew!”

Uh.  Ok.  Is that why they named him Pikachu?  Which came first: the Pikachu, or the peee-cuh-chew?!

Seriously.  It’s so annoying.  He’s gotta move on to something else.

Why am I even on this topic?  Because I was privy to a huge dose of peee-cuh-chew this past Saturday.  At full blast.

He sounds like a baby just learning to make complex sounds-which-aren’t-quite-words.

When my daughter was doing that, she sounded mostly Asian and once-in-a-while Latvian.  When my son was doing it, he sounded like a bubble machine and there was a LOT of spit.

Pikachu?  Just sounds annoying.

But Pikachu is not the first of his kind.  Remember that cartoon from the 80’s?  (Hey!  I’m flexible.  I can talk 80’s cartoons OR songs.  Today it’s cartoons.)  It was called Thundercats.  (Thundercats, HO!!!)  There were human-ified lions and tigers in that show.  They talked like people.  But they had spotted/striped hair and weird cat eyes.  And of course, cat powers.  They also had a pet…cat.  How wacky is that?!?  But all the cat ever said was, “Snarf.  Snarf.”  So his name was Snarf.

This cartoon-y named-after-the-sound-you-make theme I’ve identified makes me wonder if I’m STILL a stay at home mom because I SOUND like a stay at home mom?!?

Hmmm…what does a stay at home mom sound like?


That’s just ONE example.  I could give you various OTHER examples – all shout-y like – pertaining to carpools, errands, meals, homework, school projects, holiday preparation and so forth.  But I won’t go into that now.  Because I think I’ve narrowed it down.  You know what makes me sound MOST like a stay at home mom?!?  The part where I say, “Nope.  Still no job.  But thanks for bringing it up!”  [stink eye, stink eye]

The itsy bitsy spider…

…climbed up the water-spout (‘cept in this song it’s really the front of the toilet bowl).

(Oh!  And the spider was NOT itsy bitsy.  It was BIG.  And a disgusting muddy yellow color.)

(Also?  There’s a human in this version of the song.  Who had just pulled down her pants when she spotted said spider moving up the outside of the bowl.  Towards her.  And her bared assets.  So she had to blast outta there like that guy in the horror movie.  You know, the one who has his pants down around his ankles, doing something inappropriate, when the killer comes calling.  And he can’t get away fast enough because he’s stumbling over…uh…his own pants.  With all his most vulnerable bits out in the open.  Yeah.  That one.  ‘Cept instead of stumbling AWAY from the killer, the person in this story is galloping-in-a-hobbled-sort-of-way TOWARDS another bathroom to ‘take care of bidnid’.  And when those drawn to the original bathroom by all the screaming report that there’s no spider to be found, additional skippin’ and hoppin’ ensues due to the worry that somehow the spider is now trapped in the pants-down-around-the-knees.  Or worse yet, clinging to the bared assets!  GAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! )

Ok.  Enough backstory.  Here we go….

The BIG muddy yellow spider

Climbed up the toilet bowl

A woman spotted the spider

And she screamed bloody murder

Then out ran the woman, tripping over her own pants-down-around-her-knees

And the BIG, muddy yellow spider will never climb up the toilet bowl again.  (Because Sonny found it drowned in the bathtub later that night.  To which I say: Good – Die you gravy suckin’ pig!  DIE!!!)

Have I mentioned that I HATE spiders?  And they know it.  So they play this game of chicken with me every chance they get.  I bet ya they even crawl into my mouth when I’m sleeping.


The Middle Lane

I love me some middle lane.

Just wanted to overshare with you that this occurred to me on the way home from the airport after dropping my parents off this morning.  (Thanks for the great visit, Mom & Dad!)

By toodling down the middle lane, you don’t have to get involved in that whole Road Rage Crazy Town happenin’ off to your left.  And you can outsmart the Slow Poke Posse exiting or entering the ramps to your right.  Also?  You get to go a decent enough speed that you feel like you’re making progress.  Accomplishing something.  Not so fast that you’ll be the first one busted should the Fuzz show.  And not so slow that people are blasting past you with their fingers on high.

The old me?  The old me woulduv been the Queen o’ the Passing Lane.  A Fast Lane Freakshow if you know whadImean.  I couldn’t get where I was goin’ FAST enough.  There may have even been a time or two when I lifted my OWN finger as I blew past.  (MAY have been, Mom.  I said MAY have been.  I didn’t say FOR SURE.  Just MAY have been.  There’s a difference.)

The new me?  I love me some middle lane.  Life is SWEET in the middle lane.

But what if this insight is bigger than finally finding my comfort zone on the highway?  What if the HIGHWAY is really a metaphor for LIFE?!?

Life.  Is.  A.  Highway.  In which case…

Life is a highway
I want to ride it all night long
If you’re going my way
I want to drive it all night long


You KNEW it was comin’ right?  You KNEW I had to do it!  It’s been WAY too long since I trotted out that neat trick.  You may call it a scary glimpse into a disturbed mind-that-translates-everything-into-song-lyrics.  But I call it a neat trick.  And since this is MY blog, what I say goes.  So shut your pie-hole.

And yes.  Yes, technically Tom Cochrane DID release “Life is a Highway” in 1991 on his album Mad, Mad World.   But he most likely WROTE IT in 1989.  Which means I RULE!!!  I rule in the “80’s song for every moment in life” game we play.

I have always ruled.  And I continue to rule.

Ruling.  Ruling.  Still ruling.  Yep, still ruling…

And lest you think this was all a set-up: for the record, I DO actually love me some middle lane.

The Fall of the Wall

My mother just reminded me that November 9, 2013 was the TWENTY-FOURTH anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Whoa.  Wait up.  What?!?

The Berlin Wall fell TWENTY-FOUR years ago last week?!?  That’s totally impossible.  Because I was there when it fell, and I’m only twenty-four NOW.  [Ok, maybe not REALLY twenty-four, just MENTALLY twenty-four…but still.  I suppose that old adage about time flying blah, blah, blah is totally true.]

I still have all the pieces of the Wall I got when I was there.  [Well, besides the pieces I gave away as GIFTS!  I mean, come on!  How many times in your life do you get to give away pieces of some ratty-tatty wall as GIFTS?!?  Work it, Girlfriend!)  The pieces I have left are somewhere in the basement.  I’m sure they’re filled with asbestos and e.Coli, but perhaps if I go hunting for them, I’ll find my misplaced job there too?

I’ve always maintained that I didn’t LOSE my job; they TOOK it instead.  The word ‘lose’ connotes a misplacing of my job (perhaps accidentally?) with last year’s Christmas decorations.  Well, it’s almost time to take out the Christmas decorations again, and I’m pretty sure I won’t find my job there.  But maybe I WILL find my job with my pieces of the Berlin Wall??  Maybe??!

You say no?  Well screw you!  AND the horse you rode in on.  Don’t be sooooo negative!  I can’t stand your negative attitude.  Move along.

Move it.

Ok, if you’re not gonna move it, then I’ll tell you one other story about my Berlin Wall days.

My friends and I ‘borrowed’ butter knives from the youth hostel where we were staying – mistakenly thinking that we were going to USE them to CHIP OFF pieces of a CONCRETE asbestos, miner-lung-causing wall that had stood for DECADES.  Yep, with flimsy butter knives.

That didn’t work.  Surprise, surprise.

But you know what did?!  Chatting up the guys we met as we went through Checkpoint Charlie did the trick!  These kindaguys will almost always let you follow them – and at some point they’ll procure a hammer and pick which they will let you borrow.

Then, my friends, you can go to town on the Eastern Bloc!

This Fall-of-the-Berlin-Wall experience has developed into a lifelong philosophy of mine: Celebratory people with sledgehammers ALWAYS get more accomplished than people with borrowed butter knives.  Always.

With a philosophy like that, why WOULDN’T you want to hire me?!?  And if you can’t do that, then at least tell me where you put my job!

Goat Cheese

I made chicken breasts in a shallot cream sauce the other night for dinner.  Sissy helped me, so she was privy to all the ingredients.  [Hey!  It’s what we stay at homers do!  We make gourmet meals with our daughter-apprentice every night for our family.  Why?  What do YOU make?!?  Don’t roll your eyes at me, Peeps.  I’ll take you DOWN!]

When Sonny and Hubby came home from Sonny’s wrasslin’ practice, they tucked into the meal.  Sissy exclaimed that she had a secret about what was in the chicken, but I quickly hushed her up because Sonny was in 7th Heaven over it and I didn’t want her to burst his bubble.

He’s nibbling on the prosciutto wrapped around the chicken (Yes.  Wrapped around the chicken.  Why?  What do YOU make for dinner??  Bring it!) and proclaiming this to be his SECOND favorite meal.  (His first favorite meal is bean-and-cheese-burritos.  I can go plebian if I have to.)

I mean this kid was going into raptures over this chicken mistakenly thinking it’s wrapped in bacon.  He loved it so much he requested it for his birthday meal in March!

Then he flips the chicken over and says, “Hey!  What’s this?”

Sissy replies, “That’s the secret I was telling you about.  Try it.”  So Sonny dips a tentative finger in the white ooze coming out of the chicken and says…

“Oh, no!  NO!  No, no, no, no.  Mom!  NO!” in the same horrified tone of voice that you might use if you found a bloody band-aide or severed head in your chicken.

Hey!  What can I say?  The recipe called for stuffing the chicken breasts with GOAT CHEESE before wrapping them in prosciutto and covering them in shallot cream sauce.  I thought it was good.  But then again, I like goat cheese.

Now just a word here on goat cheese: You hate it until you like it.  It’s unclear whether this love/hate thing has anything to do with age.   I mean, Sonny likes FETA for Heaven’s sake…and if there’s ONE cheese that tastes like throw up going DOWN?  It’s Feta.  So why wouldn’t he like goat cheese??  What’s important here is that he periodically tries it to see if he likes it.  Yet.  That switch can turn ‘on’ at any moment.

Right now?  We’re still in the ‘nope…nope…still no…Mom, NO!’ phase.  But one day we’ll get to the ‘Hey , this is GOOD!’  Phase.

It’s kinda like me with jobs.  I don’t want one.  Wait.  Let me check again.  Nope…nope…still no.  But once I GET one?   I’m sure it will be…GOOD!