Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

So I’ve been pretty sure (for the last two years or so, but why rush?) that I have a rhubarb plant growing in my back yard.  I confirmed it with a woman at bookclub on Tuesday by asking insightful questions like, “Are you sure there’s no such thing as a poisonous-to-humans rhubarb plant?”

Despite the odd looks she was shooting me, she assured me that the man-high-plant-that-looks-like-celery-with-big-leaves is indeed rhubarb that you can eat…and that there’s a great strawberry rhubarb pie recipe in the Betty Crocker cookbook.  And that I should give it a whirl!


So Wednesday?  Wednesday I bought twenty bucks worth of strawberries because I was gonna make me some pie!


Fifty minutes after starting the rhubarb harvest and prep shtick, I only had about one cup of the crunchy crap and it all had the consistency of corn husks DESPITE my attempts to peel it with the carrot peeler. 

And?  My hands smelled like pipe tobacc-y.

Crap!  Maybe this ISN’T actually rhubarb.  Book Club Lady doesn’t know everything.  I’m sorry I took on the whirl challenge.

I was supposed to have two cups of rhubarb and two cups of strawberries, but I figured that if this wasn’t really rhubarb that I was peeling and husking, then one cup of it and THREE cups of strawberries might make it less deadly to humans; All while increasing my nummy pie mojo.  Also, I already said about the twenty BUCKS worth of strawberries, right?  So what better way to use those up than to use them up.

But hey!  Here’s a fun fact!!  Whatever is in this pie makes it bubble up and OVER the sides of the pie plate so that now the entire bottom of my oven is burnt to a blackened, may-have-been-rhubarb-may-NOT-have-been-rhubarb crisp.  And by the time I discovered the double, bubble toil and trouble b.s. there were big black plumes of smoke roiling along the kitchen ceiling.  Yep, sure wish they’d put THAT fun fact in the Betty Frickin’ Crocker cookbook!  Screw you, Betty!  Strike one.

So the burnt-mess-in-the-oven combined with the fibrous stalk-shards-gumming-up-my-garbage-disposal and the I-only-used-two-dollars-worth-of-strawberries-and-now-have-to-find-a-use-for-eighteen-dollars-more nonsense have turned this pie making venture into a huge PAIN IN THE A$$! 

Strike two.

Finally, when it was cooked and cooled, I dished up a slice for the neighbor boy.  And the kids.  But they were only interested in a slice after neighbor boy had completely consumed his.  I don’t think he even noticed that the kids were watching him like hawks for any signs of…distress…before they had their piece. 

After which I myself was planning to take a teeeeeny-tiiiiiiny bite so that in case it WASN’T actually rhubard, I wouldn’t die.  But it was only when I had fork in hand that I realized this was the same sort of gypsy-cursed pie that the protagonist in “Thinner” (by Stephen King under the pseudonym Richard Bachman) used on-purpose to kill his wife while also accidentally killing his daughter.  The book pie was made with blood.  Mine was made with fear.  Still… 

Strike three.

I’m out. 

Pas de pie for me.  (That’s French for “No pie for me.”  And I know!!  Why haven’t I been hired yet???  Multi-lingual on the pie topic.  Come on!) 

P.S. We’re still watching the neighbor boy closely.  He said the pie was good and ended up having two pieces.  But you never know.  Deadly-may-not-be-rhubarb and/or gypsy curses might take time.

P.P.S. If you have any comments on my mothering and/or neighboring skills…then you can just shut yer everlovin’ piehole!!  Heh, heh, heh.  You were waiting for that, weren’t you?


So I’m finally reading Inferno by Dan Brown.  

Is it just me or does anyone else think that “The Consortium” in the book is eerily similar to “The Foundation” that Kelly Taylor worked for on that show from the late 80’s, Beverly Hills 90210?!

For some strange reason my husband always referred to Beverly Hills 90210 as Beverly Cheese Nine Oh Cheese One Cheese. I can’t think why ’cause it was a real “quality” show wherein all of the eating disorders were solved at a restaurant-com-nightclub called the Peach Pit (After Dark). Total. Quality. Show.

Anywho, Inferno has all the usual Dan Brown bidnid – history, art, codes, symbolism blah, blah, blah.  But with the added benefit of being based on Sandro Botticelli’s extremely gruesome “Map of Hell” drawing – which itself is based on the descent-into-hell portion of Dante Alighieri’s “Divine Comedy”.  So that’s…fun.

There’s even this one part in the book where the main character, Robert Langdon, describes how one theoretically gets to Hell.  And if you’ve ever taken Robert Langdon’s Harvard Hell 101 course, you know that you have to cross the River Styx to get there.  The ferryman Charon takes you in his boat to the mouth of the underworld.

Wait.  A.  Second.  Did someone say FERRYMAN?!? 

Dah-nahhhh-nah-na-nah!  Dah-nahhhh-nah-NAH!!

Don’t pay the ferryman
Don’t even fix a price
Don’t pay the ferryman
Until he gets you to the other side

And now?  Now the Chris de Burgh song “Don’t Pay the Ferryman” is in my head.  And yes, that IS the same song from de Burgh’s “The Getaway” album which hit number 34 on the Billboard Hot 100 song list in 1983. 

This thing I do with 80’s songs?  How I make it seem like there’s an 80’s song for every moment in life??  It’s a gift really.  But still, there should be an award for being so good at it.  Being able to take a hellish book about all of the hellish symbolism in a hellish painting and give it a theme song?  Amaze-balls.  Awards Materials.

Dan Brown who?

Dah-nahhhh-nah-na-nah!  Dah-nahhhh-nah-NAH!!

Knighty Knight

Have you ever been so stunningly wrong about something that it still occurs to you, years later, how you never, ever saw it comin’?!?

Yeah.  No, me neither.

But I came close once.

Several years ago, in the car, on the way to church, Sonny was asking about knights.  Do they exist?  Are there still knights around today?  What about the swords?  Are knights still using swords??

He was so enamored with the knight trappings that it seemed like he was considering knighthood as a viable career option.  Well…as long as there were still knights and swords and everything.  Thus all the questions.

But nope.  No knights.  No swords.  No more. 

And except for a bizarre sidebar about Sir Elton John (which left Hubby shaking his head and me knowing it was confusing even before words like “honorary” and “Order of the British Empire” started vomiting out of my mouth), my blanket statement was: Nope.  No knights.  No swords.  No more. 

So we get to church and go to the Cry Room*.  This particular cry room was up on the second floor of the church and was fronted entirely by glass, so that you had an eagle’s eye view of the proceedings down below.

I’m seated towards the back and am gazing out into empty space as Sonny approaches the window.  There he completely freezes.  Stands stock still and stares.  He turns back to me and whispers furiously, “Who are THOSE GUYS?!?”

I approach the window and look down.  And there – row upon row – as far as the eye can see, are men in big, plume-topped hats.  They’re parading in, wearing black capes with various jewel-toned linings.  They have Miss America sashes of medals across their chests.  And?  THEY ALL HAVE SWORDS STRAPPED TO THEIR WAISTS!!!


Er.  The Knights of Columbus.

And for the record: NO!  No there are NO MORE headhunters!  Anywhere.  Anymore.  None.  No. Headhunters. 

They’re called Recruiters nowadays.


*For those who don’t know, the Cry Room is a special, sound-proof room in the church that sports a huge glass window.  People in the room cannot be heard, but they can see and hear what’s going on in the church.  And this is the special room where kids who shout “CHIPS!!!” everytime the Holy Communion wafers are presented have to sit so that everyone else can enjoy their chips in peace-and-quiet without being harassed about not sharing.

Coca-Cola Mad Men

I was at a gas station the other day – deciding which arm and leg to hand over this time.  (Come on!  You have to agree that gas is soooo expensive.  Remember way back in the early 90’s when we had our Chrysler LeBaron convertibles and it only cost us a whopping $10 to fill the tank completely up?!  That’s what I’m talkin’ ‘bout.  Remember that?  And remember how we didn’t care what the temperature was?  We were in a convertible!  So if it meant we put the top down but kept all the windows rolled up and the heater blasting, then that’s what we had to do.  And remember that one time we left the top down overnight and it rained into the car and come the next morning we couldn’t deal with the stupid mess so we took our sister’s car to work and left her with a sopping wet car to take to school??  Wasn’t that so creative what she did with the beach towel?!  Ohhhhhh, weren’t those convertible days FUN?!?  Hey.  Wait.  I see what you were trying to do there; You were trying to distract me from the price of gas with all of our fun convertible memories.  Nuthin’ doin’.  Movin’ on…)

I’m staring at the digital readout at the gas pump which indicates I am purchasing upwards of fifty THOUSAND dollars’ worth of gas when two guys in a white, unmarked pickup truck pull in.

They’re wearing polo shirts and khakis and they approach the pump I’m at, but from the other side.  On foot.  iPhone cameras clicking away.

No…that’s not disturbing or suspicious at all, ya Weirdos.

So I say, “Hey!  Are you guys somehow stealing my credit card information with your phones?”

They don’t say anything, they just laugh.

So then I say, “Ha, ha, ha.  I noticed you just laughed.  And didn’t actually SAY that you weren’t stealing my credit card information.”  You gotta put it out there.  Let the criminals know you’re on to them.

Sensing I’m kindof hoping we’re all just joking about the credit card stealing, one guy replies, “Yes, we’re taking pictures of your credit card information.  It makes it easier to remember that way.”

Good point.  Hardy, har, har. 

Immediately afterwards the other guy says, “Actually we work for Coca-Cola.  We’re just taking pictures of our latest advertisement.”

Hmmmm…sure.  Because the advertisement above MY side of the pump is talking about how you can buy three candy bars inside for $2.00. 

So then the guys come around my side of the pump and exclaim, “Oh!  You don’t have one over here.” 

So then I go to their side of the pump and exclaim, “Oh!  Look.  There’s a coke advertisement over here.  We should get a picture of it.”

Aren’t we all so funny?  And I’m glad we were just joking about the credit card stealing.

We walk away chuckling.  The end.

But beware of men in unmarked cars taking pictures of your credit card with their iPhones at the gas station.  They may not always be Coca-Cola Mad Men.  My mother would want me to warn you of this. 

Now the end.

County Coroner

On my way home from Costco today, I saw a sign that said, “Elect So And So for County Coroner.” 

[And yes, I DO still go to Costco despite what I said in previous posts about never going to Costco again.  So yes, yes, my pants are on fire and the telephone wire is in imminent danger of burning down from my pants.]

But anyway…does anyone else see the flaw in the elect-the-county-coroner plan?

I mean, shouldn’t we be hiring the most qualified person for that job; Rather than someone who can run a good political campaign??

It just seems a little bass ackwards to me that County Coroner would be an elected position.  Would we really want someone who has the looks and money to throw a successful political campaign fiddlin’ around with the dearly departed?

Wouldn’t someone who knows his (or her, the mother can be the doctor, after all) way around a dead body be a better choice??  In which case, just APPLY for the job and be judged by a panel of experts on your credentials and success rate like the rest of the world does when they’re trying to get a job.  And no, I don’t have a job yet, but thanks for BRINGING IT UP!  stink eye, stink eye  

Of course, it could be that the elect-the-county-coroner process makes a ton of sense, and I’m just talking out of my Coroner’s hole here.  So I should probably ‘fess up right now and say that I don’t really know anything about politics.  It seems too close to math (with all that talk about “left” and “right”) for my comfort, so I steer waaaaaay clear.  In which case, Political Science Major Hubby will weigh in shortly with a “take your blog down NOW before the world knows of your ignorance.” 

Until then, I’m picturing the County Coroner election winner Day One on the job, grinning at his landslide while elbow-deep in some poor, unfortunate’s thoracic cavity, “Bodies schmodies.  Don’t know nuthin’ ‘bout no bodies.  Hey, what’s this squishy thing? Wee-eeeh, eee-eeeh!”  [That was our big winner making silly noises while squishing something inappropriate because he’s completely unqualified to be elbow deep in someone’s thoracic cavity].

All I can hope is, once he hits the stinky bits that come next, his too-straight nose will pillow him gently as the floor rushes up to meet his face.

Anyone else think the whole elect-the-county-coroner process would be akin to hiring corporate job candidates based on how funny and pretty they are?

Because we all know if THAT were the case, I’duv been hired about twenty THOUSAND times by now.  Winner, winner, chicken dinner!!!

But I haven’t been.  And wait.  I think I just insulted myself – usurping my mad job skilllzzzz with my personality and beauty.  But pay that no attention.  Let’s talk about what we’re making for dinner.  I’m making chicken.  And when I say I, I mean Costco.  It’s one of their rotisserie chickens which I bought for the reasonable price of $4.99.  I hope it’s not squishy.  Wee-eeeh!  Eee-eeeh!!

Peace and Quiet

Every year – for his birthday, Christmas, Father’s Day – we’d ask my dad what he wanted for a gift and he would invariably reply, “Peaceandquiet.”  Like it was all one word and something you could wrap up and hand over at cake time.

Well I’m here to tell you that peaceandquiet doesn’t come easy in a house with five kids and, quite frankly, is impossible to give.  In a house with five kids.  (All gag gifts of ear plugs aside and I already mentioned about the five kids, right?)

But today?  Today for Father’s Day, I wanted to finally, FINALLY give my father that gift.  It makes no never mind that all five of us kids have been out of the house for decades, and Dad has a plethora of peaceandquiet now.  (Well, other than what my mother can make inroads into, that is.  Hi, Mom, rock on!)

So, to the man who: left the gift-of-a-cool-flashlight under my pillow when I was a kid so I could discover it on my birthday while you were away on a fishing trip; who strategically placed pieces of cardboard all over our rocky driveway so that you and I could practice bounce passes and layups in preparation for my highschool basketball games; who wrote letters to me on your work letterhead when I was in college; who calls me now every Wednesday because you said you would.  I thank you for being a great father and for all the big and small ways you showed me your love.  And now…without further ado…I present you with: peaceandquiet. 

Everyone, everyone!  Shhhhhh!!  It’s starting!!  Be vewy, vewy QUIET!!!! 
























































































I love you, Dad.  Happy Father’s Day!

P.S.  Hi, Hubby.  Thank you for being a great father to our own kids.  I love you and Happy Father’s Day to you too!! 

Wonder Twin Powers…ACTIVATE!

You ever have pasta-in-a-strainer, sitting in the sink and draining…when all of a sudden a kid comes up and washes their hands all over it?!? 

Yeah?  ME TOO! 

TWINS!!!  Twinny twin twin!  Wonder Twin powers ACTIVATE!

You go first.

Form of an iceberg!

Ok, now my turn.

Form of a stay at home mom who just had her dinner plans ruined by dirty hands!

Huhn.  Wait.  How come you got to be the iceberg?  And I got to be that stupid stay at home mom thing?! 

Well – for the record – I always thought the boy twin on the show took the easy way out.  Endlessly turning into some form of water, frozen or otherwise.  Yawn…snoozeville. 

Me?  I’m a go big or go home type a’ gal.  No easy way out for me (nooo, I’m not lookin’ at anyone when I say that.  Why?  Did you think I was lookin’ at YOU?!?).  So I don’t CARE if the stay at home mom thing sounds stupid.  Bring it!  Bring your smarmy iceberg; I’ll see it and raise you a creature-who-does-a lot-of-yelling.

Because really, who WOULDN’T want to turn into that creature??  This is a rhetorical question so SHUT IT!  Not sure why the girl twin-who-could-turn-into-any-creature never turned into THAT creature, but she missed the boat there.  Because there’s an amaaaaaazing amount of power in being the stay at home mom who just had her dinner plans ruined by dirty hands! 

Ahhhh…POWER!  Mwa ha ha!!

The smell of power is in the air!  Can you smell it?  It smells very, very similar to sudsy pasta. 

And wait!  What’s that?  Can you hear it??  To the human ear, the power sounds a little…something…like this:



Why don’t you come up and see me gum time?

We’ve established that bizarre stuff happens to me all of the time.  What you may not know is that this unique talent is not indigenous to Colorado, and in fact follows me wherever I go.

We were in New York City a few weeks ago when it struck.  Correction: we weren’t actually in the city – we were waiting in line to board the ferry which would take us from the Statue of Liberty to Ellis Island – when it struck.  And STUCK.

I was looking at my watch to see if we were “on track” with our sight-seeing.  You do that too, right?  Sight-seeing is stressful and you have to fit it all in in the allotted time.  So you gotta make sure you’re at certain places at certain times.  Otherwise you’ll fall behind in your sight-seeing and you won’t see all the sights.  There may even be yelling.  Hey!  Yew lookin’ at me?  YEW LOOKIN’ AT ME?!  Don’t look at me that way.  You know you do it too.   

Hubby, the kids and I are standing in a sea of humanity, it’s about a million smoggy, muggy degrees and some folks in said sea haven’t discovered the modern miracle of deodorant yet.  In addition, we’re all lined up in the most disorderly, someone’s-gonna-get-shived-any-second-now sort of line.  I’ve got my arm crooked, watch at waist-level.  When from out of nowhere a piece of chewed gum lands on my watch.  It happened so quickly that at first I thought the gum…somehow…SPRANG out of my watch.  Oh look, Kids!  It’s GUM TIME!!!  CONGA!!!  Dun-dun-dun-dun-duhn-DUH! 

Hubby has been expecting Gum Time for our entire married life so wasn’t surprised when it happened and didn’t flinch or look away.  He witnessed the whole thing.  He looks at the gum, looks at me (like it’s MY fault?  ‘Cause it’s NOT!  I was just STANDING here WONDERING WHAT TIME IT WAS!  It’s not like I was shouting, “Hey!  Anyone got gum?!  My watch sure could use some GUM.  So if anyone’s got gray, chewed gum, toss it on over here!!  Because according to my watch, it’s GUM TIME!”  CONGA!!!)

He looks one more time at my watch, shakes his head, then moves away.  Just quietly slips through the crowd away from me.  Sonny is still staring at me open-mouthed-with-gagging-noises-coming-out while Sissy has had the presence of mind to begin looking around for the perpetrator.  (She suspected the culprits were a one-year-old and a three-year-old acting silly in a double stroller.  But I’m not so sure…)  so they missed Hubby moving away from us; I had to tell the kids to hurry and follow Dad!

When we caught up to him (I didn’t care where he went, I just needed the banana peel he was holding to pull the ABC gum off my watch, don’t ask) I wondered aloud why he walked away like that.  His reply?  “In case there was more gum comin’, I didn’t want any part of it.”

Hmmm.  Fair enough. 

The Russian Tea Room

So the same chick who worked full-time while going to grad school full-time celebrated her birthday last week in New York City.  (Hint: It’s me.  Bet you woulduv guessed it right away if I had also mentioned that “she” is funny , pretty and smart; everyone says so.)

And on my birthday in New York City we: toured the United Nations, went to mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, had tea at the Russian Tea room, went for a carriage ride in Central Park, walked through the Plaza Hotel on the way to FAO Schwarz where we played the big piano, had a free coffee (thanks Starbucks!) at Trump Tower, saw the dark comedy Cripple of Inishmaan starring Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) then waited at the stage door so my daughter could get his autograph on her playbill, finished up with a late dinner of NYC pizza complete with cockroach leg.  Who’s yer daddy?!?

Anyway, where I was going with all of this is that I’m pretty sure our waiter at the Russian Tea Room is in Fight Club.

After he seated us in our tilt-a-whirl compartment then closed us in with our table covered with a white cloth, I tried to feel him out about it by making polite conversation.  Soooo…how’s Fight Club?

But he didn’t respond.  Which further proved my point that he was in Fight Club.  Because everyone knows the first rule of First Club is to never talk about Fight Club.

However, I did feel he got overly annoyed at our request to NOT have the PB&J triangle with the kids’ tea because they’re both allergic to peanuts.

Of course, his annoyance may have had nothing to do with my Fight Club suspicions, and everything to do with the fact that as soon as we were seated in our sumptuous red leather booth, we discovered Sonny’s entire right hand was covered in filth from touching EVERYTHING on the way to the restaurant (including construction walkways, subway poles and escalator handrails going in the opposite direction).  And as we piled out of squozed position so Sonny could go wash his hands, somehow he got the tablecloth caught under his leg and basically dragged all of the settings halfway across the world before we clued into what was happening.

But no harm, no foul because he was more careful on his way back into the booth after he disappeared downstairs to the bathroom for a good half-hour.  Nothing says high tea like a nice…rest period…beforehand.

While he was gone, Sissy tasted her tea (a Rooibos Chai), which she discovered was very HOT!  This resulted in a lot of twitching and jerking as she tried her hardest to avoid touching her lips to her hot-tea-glass-placed-in-a-hot-metal-handled-holder.  Just FYI?  Dribbled chai leaves a stain, but is kinda funny to watch.

Despite the inauspicious beginning, the tea party was a success.  And the kids even got to taste caviar!  I gave them each three eggs from my serving which caused them both to shudder and die on the spot.  This made the rest of the tea nice and quiet for Hubby and I as we toasted each other with our complimentary glasses of champagne.  Until I tasted the caviar and shuddered and died my own self.

COME ON!!!!  Who likes caviar?!?  You’re a TOTAL LIAR if you say you like caviar.  LIAR!!!  Because it tastes like fish bait mixed with lox.  Rotten lox.  I mean, why mess up a good blini with that nonsense?!?

But on a positive note, all of the shenanigans in our booth eventually caused Fight Cluber to warm up to us.  Because he was more than happy to take our picture at the end of our tea to commemorate the occasion. 

Or was it simply because that picture got us on our merry way sooner rather than later??  Naw!  I think he likes to see yokels once in a while.  It breaks up the monotony. 

Central Park

While New York City in general is pretty wack, Central Park in particular has its own brand of cray-cray.

First off, I’m pretty darn sure that the smell?  The pee smell that permeates the entire city??!  Originates in Central Park.

Which means the whole time you’re there, you’re wondering what exactly happened before you got there to make it smell like that.  I have my theories, but now I’m GAAAACK! gagging, so I won’t go into them.

Another thing is the garbage.  When we were there recently, we saw one lone Parks & Rec worker (wearing extremely faded Parks & Rec uniform pants with her own top from home) picking up the garbage using a Whole Foods paper bag and NOT wearing gloves.  This all gave the impression she was a volunteer who wasn’t doing a very good job.  But upon closer inspection, she did have a name badge and a walkie-talkie, so I’m assuming she was “official” but overwhelmed and therefore not very effective because we saw families surrounded by garbage having picnics in fields of garbage.  (Did I mention there was a lot of garbage?)  At first you think they’re sitting on oddly shaped blankets and it’s only as you get closer that you realize the “blankets” are actually paper, wrappers, bottles and other sundry trash that they’re plopped right in the midst of.  I’m assuming the Jersey Shore doesn’t extend as far as Central Park and so the picnic quadrants didn’t contain any hypodermic needles or medical waste, but I didn’t look that closely so I don’t know for sure.

And the playgrounds in Central Park?  Are like Alcatraz, only slightly smaller, and in playground format, and land-locked, not in the middle of the ocean.  Ok, nothing like Alcatraz actually, other than they are made completely out of cement and contained by fences (which I’m pretty sure are topped with barbed wire in at least two instances).  It’s like they took a regular playground and coated the entire thing (climbing structures, slides, grass) with a thick layer of cement.  So that any kid who bites it on these playgrounds is pretty much guaranteed a Humpty Dumpty future.

Based on all of this, I always come away from Central Park puzzled by why visitors continue to go there.  The smell, the garbage, the cracked eggshells everywhere, and let’s not even forget “The Central Park Jogger.”  You guys haven’t forgotten about that, right?  ‘Cause I know I haven’t.  Seriously.  Awful.  And granted, that was, like, twenty-five years ago, but it’s not something you can get out of your head.  So I’m endlessly on the lookout for anything that may resemble “wilding” when I’m in Central Park.

As a result, I stumble along its paths mumbling, all shifty-eyed, whipping around every time I hear footsteps behind me.

P.S.  No one ever bothers the lunatics in Central Park.  This, I know.

P.P.S. Parks & Rec Authorities, Lunatics and Egglovers – please do not contact me with complaints.  This blog is all in good fun.  Thank you and carry on wit’ yer bad selves.