Friday, December 31, 2004

Happy New Year

Happy 2005 to all.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?

In what my friend Kim calls the greatest game of chicken, they faltered first and gave in to host New Year’s Eve.

She invited us reluctantly this morning (the 30th) and I had to laugh, knowing that each of us would wait until the last possible second to make plans for the night, hoping someone else would host.

Sorry, Kim.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Christmas blew in...and blew back out

In what meteorologists are calling a freak “wind incident,” a rogue storm blew in from the Gulf early Sunday morning and caused wind gusts over seventy miles per hour around the Tampa area. We were awakened at 4:30 am by the crashing of our front dining room window when the solid wood flag pole snapped in half, and speared the glass. We survived four hurricanes this year, but a “wind incident” cost us a few hundred bucks the day after Christmas….

…which was a great day anyway. We spent the two days doing all of the traditional holiday cheer; baking our own gingerbread house, visiting friends, going to church, delivering presents, opening our own, going on light tours and feasting on a wonderful Christmas dinner at home.

It was one of the best.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

It wouldn't be Christmas without antibiotics

12 miles to the doctor
11 people before us
10 dollar copay
9 misdiagnosis
8 orifices prodded
7 grouchy nurses
6 hours later
5 needle sticks
4 eyes a cryin’
3 diaper changes
2 neglected siblings
And a Mom on the verge of crazy.

Happy Christmas.

Friday, December 17, 2004

When the Cat is Away, the Mouse will Bathe

When you are flying solo in the parenting department for a few evenings, and you get all of your little chickens peacefully sleeping before 9 pm, you are faced with some difficult choices.

Do you: a) Take the opportunity to wrap the huge pile of gifts precariously stacked in the not-so secret hiding place? B) Domestically prepare for the 50+ party guests you are expecting over the weekend? C) Bake a batch of warm gooey cookies that you can lick your own spoon without sharing? Or D) Grab your book, an eggnog and a mud mask and drop your exhausted butt into a tub of sweet-smelling lavender suds that you haven’t opened from last Christmas?

I think you know the answer, folks.

I love egg nog.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

The First Lady of Safety Harbor

Every Blue moon or so, when the humidity level is low, the barometric pressure hovers around 29 mb and the hair gods are frisky: a coiffed miracle occurs atop my head.

I can get my hair to look exactly like Maria Shriver’s.

And, sadly, this is a good look for me.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Brown Paper Packages Tied Up with String

Oh yes, the power of the Internet has made our holiday shopping experience more convenient, especially for brooding hermits like myself, but there is even a greater gift the World Wide Web has bestowed upon me these waning days before Christmas.

The United States Postal Service is online.

I have just shipped all of my extensive holiday out-of state packages from the comfort of my armchair. With merely a credit card and a scale, I now sit and await my regularly scheduled mail carrier to fight the traffic, lines and general bad temper for me.

Who knew civil servants could be so helpful?

Friday, December 10, 2004

Twisting the Day Away

I think the original recipe read: Crisco, Sour cream, yeast. Knead. Bake 375 for 20 min, in my Great Grandmother’s cryptic hand.

Somehow, through years and dozens of trial batches, we have translated this into our family’s favorite holiday treat: The German Twist.

The ingredient list is a bit more extensive, mind you, and there are about 37 steps and 4 days worth of preparations missing from the original recipe, but the annual toil is well worth it once you’ve tried these little twists of cinnamon heaven.

I am knee deep in the rising process now, making a batch for my Gramp who will not only appreciate the warmth in his belly when he receives them, but the warmth in his heart knowing what I went through to make them.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Wine, Women and Song

One can’t help but notice the plethora of “hot” Christmas gifts this year, which seem to revolve around, well, for lack of a better word: vices.

On every end-cap, there seems to be a display of luxurious poker chips and gambling paraphernalia. This equipment is even packaged in impressive bullet-proof mob brief cases so you can apparently abscond with your ill-gotten gains unscathed after your game.

Then there are all of the martini sets, digital bartending guides, $200 corkscrews, electric wine chillers, and brew-making kits.

Drinking and gambling.

Two activities that I myself don’t mind partaking in moderation, but I can’t help but wonder: is this the mainstream moral fiber all of those exit polls were referring to?

Saturday, December 04, 2004

You've Got Mail

I’m finishing up the Christmas cards now. I love this part of the season, no, really I do. There is something so good Karma-esque about sending your best wishes for happiness and peace all over the country by means of this humble little act of the postal service.

Friday, December 03, 2004

We Meet Again Stanley

I miss hockey. Yes, this NHL lock-out debacle has really grown quite old for me.

One would think that without an 80+ game schedule to compete with, that I might see my husband more frequently. Not the case. It seems he is working longer hours than before, if that is humanly possible. I feel for him. It’s not a whole lot of fun when you can’t even ride that Championship in the next season…

But last night, we got a small taste of the Coolest Game on Earth once again. At a charity function, Lord Stanley himself was the guest of honor. It was the first time I’d seen him since September, and his newest engraving on his bottom silver ring was finally completed. Among the famous legends and hockey heroes adorning my Stanley? My own every day hero and wonderful husband. Congratulations, honey.

And as an added little private internal smile, apparently, they like this at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Book Club

Last night was Book Club. Out of my many social clubs, this is one of my favorites. It is sparsely and sporadically attended by many of my friends, but I love it nonetheless.

Our last selection was one of my all-time favorites, The Stone Diaries, by Carol Shields. I love this book.

It was not as instantly and universally adored as I had hoped--a lukewarm reception--but the reaction would never detract from my pure ardor for this book. Not only does it entertain me even the third time I’ve turned its pages; but it completely restores my faith in the artistry and delicacy of the written word. She prepares this lingual feast that few authors can match; elevating the most mundane circumstance to a thing of unexpected and exalted beauty.

But even more amazing than the super-literary powers I’ve already bestowed upon it, is that it actually inspires me. It literally makes me want to walk my lazy ass over to my own neglected manuscript attempt, and create..

It is a must-read, folks.

I leave you with one quote from a book which begs to be quoted from:

There are chapters in every life which are seldom read, and certainly not aloud.

I don’t know why this one just leapt out at me.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Desperate Housewives

I have to admit this out loud as a Diva Public Service Announcement or an endorsement of some kind at the very least.

Desperate Housewives is one of the greatest shows on television.

Now, I was all prepared to hate this program, you must realize. While the August promos were running, I had stepped upon my soapbox condemning this particular soap. I thought it preposterous and even a little insulting before the opening credits ever ran.

But after the first episode, I was hooked. It was entertaining, and silly even. I recognized so many of those characters from around my neighborhood, and so did my friends--maybe even a little in ourselves. We laughed amongst ourselves over the parody, the comedy and the dramatic tragedy of it all.

But then last week, I wept. Yes, actual tears rolled down my face at the scene where Lynnette breaks down and admits she is not the perfect mother. She and her friends share an honest moment admitting that none of us is perfect, that we are all only doing the best we can, and it can be overwhelming at times.

And I’m not even ashamed to admit that I was so touched my this network production.

I recommend a viewing immediately.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Sailing

I must have BADD. Blog Attention Deficit Disorder.

I can’t seem to get into a rhythm for this poor neglected blog. But then, I suppose that is representative of my life lately too. No rhythm.

With the holidays here, any hope of a schedule is a pipe dream now anyway, but I was hoping for a little less drifting in the final weeks of 2004. Not that I’m complaining, mind you. I really do love Christmas and all it brings. I’m that strange soul who actually loves to decorate, wrap, bake, entertain…The shopping I could do without, but a necessary evil I suppose. I want to be able to enjoy this month like I do every year, yet I just can’t seem to focus.

I just hope this distraction doesn’t end up to be a detraction.

Know what I mean?

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Good Night, Moon

The weather finally broke here. It now means that we can finally turn off the air conditioner and open the windows like most normal Americans.

At night, this means the bedroom door is wide open, and we sleep to the lullabys of bullfrogs and the moonlight dancing through palm fronds.

I sleep and dream so soundly like this; when I wake in the morning I am reminded why they call it paradise.

Monday, November 08, 2004

The Awakening

By sleep-over standards, our first went well.

Eight boys were sensory over-loaded on unhealthy snacks and multimedia entertainment; and severely deprived of sleep and proper hygiene procedures. A beautiful balance for a newly-nine year old.

After pizza and cake, we loaded the monsters into 2 cars and made our way to the movie theater. After an obscene amount of money at the ticket counter and an even more obscene amount paid at the snack counter, we made our way inside and occupied an entire row for The Incredibles.

It was early still; retarded local ads for realtors and car dealerships attempted to enthrall the boys while we opened candy, mapped out the seating arrangements and cleaned up the first 5 spills. During the excruciating set-up, the family of 3 behind us gasped, “Are they all yours?”

If I was anywhere near my game, I would have pointed out to her that of the 9 children seated, I would have had to have produced septuplets, as they were all the same age. But I wasn’t, so I merely smiled and replied, “Tonight they are.”

We made it back home around 11, which I thought would be ideal, as they would probably not last that much longer, perhaps falling away during the movie marathon we had lined up.

Again, not on my game.

They made it to 4:42 a.m, they reported gleefully at 7:45. We know, we replied, our crusted over eyes revealing this truth.

So we pumped them up with more sugar in the gluttonous form of Dunkin’ Donuts and sent them on their way.

Yes, it was a success by sleep-over standards

Friday, November 05, 2004

The Most Romantic Thing Ever

I’m not the world’s most obvious romantic. I don’t really wear jewelry. I don’t get bent out of shape on Valentine’s Day or anniversaries. I don’t go ga-ga over Godiva or loopy over lingerie.

But on each of my children’s birthdays, I am the lucky recipient of the most amazing gesture from my partner in cynicism and life. I receive flowers with the card simply stated, “Thank you for our baby.”


It takes my breath away. Every time.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

'D' is for...

Dumbfounded. Disillusioned. Dismayed. Disturbed. Disgusted.

Duh.

Dubya.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Election Day

We arrived at the precinct at about 10 this morning. It was a time I had deemed in my mind as not too early and not too late for the least amount of waiting time.

I was wrong.

But I don’t mind it all, and neither did the several dozen people waiting with me. 40 minutes in line on a beautiful Fall morning is a small price to pay for a day I’ve been waiting 4 years for. I’m not sure if Matty and Amy appreciated my same patriotic patience, but they held up just fine.
So now, we will celebrate Stevie’s 9th birthday while glued to the television set watching the returns.

(Even though mine is 6 months away, I bet you can guess what I’ll be wishing for on that candle.)

Monday, November 01, 2004

Happy Halloween


It will be a Happy Halloween if... Posted by Hello


Another Halloween epic over. We made it through this ever-elongating holiday with only 17 cavities and one possible case of juvenile diabetes.

Trick-or-Treating went well; Matty made it about 10 houses ( and 0 houses with the Hulk mask) before declaring he was done. Amy and Stevie held out for the long haul, but it was too hot for the furry, adorable lady bug costume, so she was Minnie Mouse for the night. Stevie’s Marshall Faulk costume only ended up costing around $700, so I guess we made out OK.

I did out-do myself on the pumpkins, though. In addition to this little gem, I also carved a fabulous Lightning jack-o-lantern complete with a puck coming from it’s mouth. I’m thinking of changing careers.

But perhaps my crowning Halloween moment (pun intended) was my costume, created at the last possible moment before the party. I was Miss Florida 2004. I attached shingles, plywood and trash to my dress and stuck branches in my hurricane-blown hair. It was a little funny. Sean’s tourist costume was a hit, too, with the exception of the red face paint he used for the sunburned effect which has stained every piece of fabric in our home a flamingo pink….

Friday, October 29, 2004

The Real Thing

I have simple pleasures. I do not feast upon bon-bons and caviar all day. On the contrary. My usual lunch may be a handful of M&M’s and the crusts of PB&J’s. But I do have one little culinary delight that I afford myself: one cold 12-ounce can of Coca-Cola a day.

I know it doesn’t sound like much of a treat, but there is something about that liquid refreshment at precisely the right time of a sluggish afternoon that picks me right up.

But lately, someone has been attempting to foil my carbonated happiness.

After my initial sips, I spy a little pair of hands come up from under the table to check the temperature and volume of the can. Because he can’t see me, he thinks I do not notice the inspection. Matty will then forgo the can if he deems it too cold or too full--and will wait patiently until I have drunk precisely the exact amount to achieve his optimal level. With a pleading grin, he will bring me a fresh can from the refrigerator, while taking the initial one explaining, “I like your soda, Mom.”

I can't help but have a Coke and a smile.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Miss You Mom

Today is a tough one to get through.

At least I have the support of so many; thanks Dad, Wendy, Colleen, Kathy, Kim, and of course, Sean. All those nice folks on the message board, too.

It does help to have the support of so many caring people on a day with a perpetual lump in your throat.

Not-So Happy Anniversary

Monday, October 25, 2004

Words to live by

The high road is often the road less traveled.

I think I just made that up, but I could be blatently ripping off Oscar Wilde or Ann Landers.

Or maybe I even read it on a fortune cookie last week.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Happy Birthday Baby

I guess I’m still in denial. Amy turning one today doesn’t seem possible.

I could use the clich├ęs of the year flying by, they grow so fast, blah blah blah. But truth is, that time seems to have stopped when it comes to her infancy. I don’t know how better to explain it, but I can’t remember our life without her and I can’t picture her at any other age than she is today. And I have no idea why her first birthday is more incomprehensible than it was when the boys were babies. But it is.

At least I can take comfort that others feel this way. When I announce her birthday, people drop their jaw and shake their head as if they are calculating the stalled time as well.

I’d like to credit growing up and appreciating the little things; but I think it’s more due to the fact that I still feel pregnant.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

My Nightmare

I’ve gone through most of my adult life without wearing masks…

No, I’m not getting philosophical on you, I mean I haven’t attended many costume parties after the age of 12. Sure, there were the famed Super Bowl parties in St. Louis when we dictated guests had to dress as their favorite Super Fan (Marge Schott was my personal fav), but since most of those costumes were normal Sunday wear anyway, it didn’t seem to be a big deal.

In two weeks I have to come up with 2 costumes that Sean and I will both wear for a party in which I will know no one. First impressions of me in bunny ears and a tail? I think not. I find this task of coming up with suitable attire to be surprisingly daunting for me--so if anyone has any suggestions that are not retarded, I would appreciate it.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Fly Away

In a very uncharacteristic move, the family is heading in different directions this weekend. Sean and Matty are on to Orlando for a boy’s weekend, while Amy, Stevie and I are heading north to visit baby Ellen for her second birthday.

While of course looking forward to spending oodles of hours with Wendy, Craig, and Ellen for our 2 day reunion, I am more than a little angst-ridden at the thought of flying with 2 minors in my soul charge.

I hate to fly.

But I have packed all the candy in the medicine cabinet in order to ensure our safe and sane arrival in Cleveland.

Wish us luck, and no random drug tests.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Acting Like An Activist

I’m feeling very political these days…

Yesterday, I posted my column, A Political Fable. It was basically well-received (I hope).

Last night I watched the pitiful undoing of the Republican candidate on national television. During the time it was just too painful to watch, I scanned the audience looking for a familiar face from our old stomping ground, St. Louis. Sorry to report that I did not see any old friends.

Tonight, we will be attending Al Franken’s Kerry-Edwards Victory Party. (I love a positive attitude!) Unfortunately, we will be sitting next to 2 empty seats, as we could nary find another Democrat in the Tampa metropolitan area (Please tell me that is not representative of November 2).

I’m feeling such a surge of activism that maybe tomorrow I’ll go on Kelloggs.com and vote if Apple Jack’s should in fact taste like apples.

We should never pass up any opportunity to effect change…

Friday, October 08, 2004

Cheese

In what only can be described as a clandestine alignment of the planets, when the space and time continuum was suspended for a brief hour on a Thursday afternoon, I managed to get all three children photographed.

Yes, 3 children under the age of nine, were free of any visible child-injury (Matty). Three haircuts were actually passable (Stevie). Three outfits were purchased, and better yet, worn (Matty and Amy). An appointment was made and kept for a week, and the car didn’t break down on the way to the Mall.

We escaped KB Toys and the Disney Store, and made it to the photographer with actual minutes to spare. No props or $6 an hour photographers were harmed in the filming of this sequence.

And if that string of miracles wasn’t blessing enough: I have in my possession several pictures of three wide-eyed, tearless, smiling children with nary a chocolate pudding stain in sight.

Suitable for framing, no less.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Starving Artist

Like most of my writing, the latest publication on StoryHouse Coffee will end up costing me three times as much as I make from it.

But then most of my writing is only worth a hill of beans.

(At least they're slow-roasted Kona...)

Monday, October 04, 2004

I'm Only Human

I've succumbed. Succumbed to the pressure of the Blog.

Bloggers from all over the World Wide Web have been relentless in their pursuit of more of my ramblings, secrets, tall tales, and flat out lies.

So, as the giving gal that I am, I give you this blog.

Please be gentle.