Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I Am Crazy: Reason 7,853

Who takes on a big furniture refinishing/painting project on the threshold of the busiest, most stressful month of the year? A crazy person, that's who.

Really though. Look at those lines! And she is just the right size for my entryway! And it's wood! And the drawers are dovetail construction! And the price was right! And what else do I have to do this month anyway?


Yeah. Total. Lunatic.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving, Turkey!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Gobble, gobble, gobble!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


I visited Mary's class for a small Thanksgiving celebration. It was wonderful. After the children sang for us, they presented their parents with a thank you card. This is Mary's.

I'm grateful for the same things as my daughter. But I have a few things to add.

I'm thankful for a healthy family. I'm thankful for a husband who loves me in spite of the many ways I am unlovable. I'm thankful for my eye rolling, foot stomping, fit pitching, picky eating, dirt making, hug giving, laugh sharing, awe inspiring children.

I'm thankful for an overabundance of food and clothing and a home that in most of the world would be seen as terribly rich and spacious.

I'm thankful for friends who lift me up in prayer, make me laugh, and for some reason keep on being my friends despite my tendency toward navel gazing and self-pity.

I'm thankful for blog readers (y'all are also my friends even though some of you are friends that I haven't met face to face yet) who encourage me, laugh in all the right places and make me want to write more.

I'm thankful for wine. (You knew I would get there eventually, right?)

I'm thankful for parents who cared enough to say "no." I'm thankful that I get to see them often and speak to them daily if I wish.

I'm thankful for a Savior who loves me enough to pursue me even when I am pushing Him away with all of myself.

What are you thankful for?

Monday, November 22, 2010

I'm Like The Bionic Woman's Twin. Except Not Really.

I have a bionic eye. Okay, not really. But that's what my beloved calls it. You see, five or six years ago, I had a lens replacement in my right eye because of a cataract.

Now, I have no idea what caused me, in my mid-thirties, to get a cataract. It's something my ophthalmologist and optometrist have spent much of their time quizzing me about:

Doctors: Did you ever have a head injury?
Me: Does being whaled on by your older brothers in childhood count?
Doctors: Not unless you were hospitalized.
Me: Um, then no.
Doctors: Were you ever hit in the eye?
Me: Like hit with....what exactly?
Doctors: A hard ball or another very hard object.
Me: Would I have been hit so hard that I can't remember being hit? 'Cause maybe that's what happened and now I have amnesia about the incident.
Doctors: ......(crickets chirping).....
Me: So...um, no.
Doctors: You know you're very young to have a cataract. This is unusual, but not unheard of.
Me: Could you please call my mother so that she will be convinced? Also, do you expect me to break a hip anytime soon?

The gist of it is, that I lived with my cataract until I couldn't any more, at which time I underwent lens replacement. Then, for several weeks afterward, I was the only person south of 60 to be in the ophthalmologist's waiting room and roaming the streets wearing those oh-so-cool big black sunglasses that old people wear after they've had cataract surgery. And, because of the shape of the surface of my left eye, I was not a candidate for Lasik. I was, however, a candidate for something called--and I swear to you this is the name--Phakik (pronounced fake-ick). But, since it wasn't covered by insurance and also, not inconsequentially, because it was named Phakik, we opted not to have this procedure done on my left eye. Seriously, Eye Procedure Marketing Guys? You might want to rethink the naming of that one.

The upshot is, that for several years, I've had very good vision in my right eye, requiring no vision correction and I've had very poor vision in my left eye, requiring very corrected vision, meaning that I only wear one contact. It also means that I haven't worn eyeglasses in lots of years because yo, that's one crazy prescription--Coke bottle thick on one side and virtually nothing on the other. Having no eyeglasses makes for some interesting happenings in the middle of the night when I'm no longer wearing my left contact. I walk around with my left eye squinched shut trying not to fall over from my lack of depth perception. Again I must say: My beloved? So. Lucky. Me so sexy.

The replacement lens in my right eye has excellent mid-range vision and pretty fair distance vision, but my up close vision in my right eye is not so great. Meanwhile, the mid-range and distance in my left eye is rotten but my up close vision is great. My poor optic nerves. They are so confused. I use my right eye for most distance and my left eye for up close vision. I am continually closing one eye to see. It looks like I have a tic or that I am big on winking.

Recently, I noticed a change in the distance vision of my bionic eye. I hadn't been to the eye doctor in several years and knew that it was time to get a new contact (read: I used the last one in my box and it was getting old) and figured that I would probably need some distance correction in my bionic eye. This was not surprising. The ophthalmologist told me that this might happen, although some people are lucky enough to never need their vision corrected again, except for reading glasses. (Damn you, up close vision!) And so it was that I made myself an appointment to have my vision tested and to be fitted for contacts and eyeglasses.

So last Wednesday, I sat myself down in the hotseat chair to have my vision tested. I prepared myself for a whole lot of "which is better, 1 or 2?" confusion only to be pleasantly surprised that my choices were pretty easy. I'm not sure if this is because my vision is so changed or so unchanged, but I was grateful not to have to say "um...I'm not sure" more than one time. It's so much pressure! It always feels like a test. Am I the only one anxious that I'm going to get the answer wrong?

I am? Oh. Okay then.

It turned out that the contacts that the doctor wanted to fit me with that came in my prescription were ones that they didn't have on hand. The doctor said they would have to be ordered. Fine, I said. Order them. The doctor could give me a sample in her second lens choice that would fit my vision but wouldn't correct for my astigmatism. Fine. Gimme. It's better than nothing and free is free, right? It would only be a week until my prescription contacts came in. In the meantime, I could pick out a lovely pair of glasses and they would be ready in an hour and they would be my prescription. Fabulous, right?

And this is where I would love to say "right" in answer to my own question. But, it turns out that my very stylish, smart-looking glasses aren't exactly right. Only I didn't know that right away. I also didn't know that I would be relying on them so much since it turns out that the freebie contacts make me crazy. You see, the fact that they don't correct my astigmatism means that while I can, indeed, see that big Mack truck coming my way, it also means that the big Mack truck--and everydamnthing else is BLURRY. And since I haven't worn a contact lens on my right eye for half a decade, well, when I put it in, my right eyeball was all What the WHAT? WHAT IS THAT THING ON ME? THERE'S SOMETHING ON ME! GET! IT! OFF! What I'm saying is it's taking a little getting used to. So I've been relying on my eyeglasses more than I thought I would.

I mean, my glasses are stylish and smart-looking and I kinda channel Tina Fey when I'm wearing them, but oops, I can't really see out of them either. I'm not entirely sure, but I don't think they've corrected for the astigmatism in them either.

So now I'm back to where I was before I went to the eye doctor. I'm wearing these glasses, but I'm relying on my right eye for distance and my left eye for up close vision. Except now my right eye is pissed because I'm sticking a lens on it for a good part of the day. Lovely. And for this privilege I got to lay out several hundred dollars. Sweet.

Looks like I'll be heading back to the eye doctor to see if they can fix my glasses. The answer had better be yes.

Or I might have to let my right eye do all the talking.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Things I've Recently Learned About Myself

I like Mexican hot chocolate. I've always loved hot chocolate, but had never tried Mexican hot chocolate before. I must say, it's a fiesta en mi boca!

I can tolerate my own clutter better than I can tolerate the clutter of other people. I don't know why this just occurred to me, but it was like a light bulb went on somewhere inside my little brain. I'm not sure how knowing this will help me out, but for some reason just being able to put my finger on that makes a difference.

I feel guilty honking my car horn at someone--even if it's justified. I recently honked my horn at a young woman who was texting and driving. She was not paying any attention to where she was going and was weaving back and forth between my lane and hers and I was seriously worried that she was going to cause an accident. I honked at her. Twice. And when I passed by her, I looked at her and said very loudly (because of course she could hear me) "PUT THE PHONE DOWN AND PAY ATTENTION, SWEETHEART!" and honked again. I don't think she noticed because she didn't even look my way and was still looking at her phone. But even after I got home, I felt bad. I was all "ohmygoshIhonkedmyhornIhopeIwasjustifiedwhatifthatdriverthinksI'macrochityoldwoman!?"

I think I may suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder. I am seriously grumpy and kind of sad. I'm sure there could be other reasons for my grumpy sadness, but SAD seems reasonable enough to hang blame on and much easier to say out loud to other people than to say "Oh, I'm not really sure why I'm feeling this way. Now go away while I curl up into a ball and cry."

I am a procrastinator of the first order. I usually pin this label on my beloved. I don't think he would deny it. Much. But after seeing some things that I really need to take care of get shuffled around and put on the back burner, I have discovered that I am indeed The Pot. (But hey, I'm married to The Kettle and he's one hot fellow.)

I'm not sure about blogging anymore. I still love to write. I just am not sure that I have anything at all to say that anyone wants to hear. Not that that has ever stopped me before. Heh heh. I'm not sure I have anything to say that I want to hear. I'm kind of sick of myself, you know?

Okay. So there you go. Just a few more things about me that will only matter if you are ever: a) on The Newlywed Game with me, which just seems silly since I am already married and definitely not a newlywed, b) stuck on a deserted island with me, in which case I must say man, I hope there's some wild boar around because I'm not much for seafood and also pick up your socks already!, or c) making hot chocolate for me, in which case I say add that cinnamon!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


This is the face of obsession.

Every morning when she comes downstairs, she waits for me to raise the blinds. Then she sits and waits.

She knows that the chipmunk could show his little face at any time and she is not about to miss it. So she sits.

Occasionally, a leaf is blown by the wind and she gives a start and a growl. Then she settles back down to wait.

But when the chipmunk makes his appearance? She tries to paw her way through the (very dirty, dog nose smudged) window.

It's almost as entertaining as watching her chase light.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

It's Never Good

It's never good when you've seen your kids' pediatrician so much that you joke "We've got to stop meeting like this," when you take yet another child in to be seen.

It's really not good when you sort of mean it.

It's never good when you have a plan in place for the day and it gets blown to smithereens.

It's really not good when you decide that since you can't tackle the whole plan, well, you'll just blow that plan off and watch bad television.

It's never good when your neighbor's house doesn't sell.

It's really not good when it happens to be the crazy neighbor and they actually had a deal, but then the deal fell through because the crazy neighbor couldn't agree on a date to vacate the home. What the what?!?! I totally would have helped them pack!!

Side note: Both times we have sold our houses, we have had less than a month to vacate--and one time we didn't even have a house to move into (Thanks Margie and Tim! We are still indebted to you for letting us live with you for a month!) but we wanted to sell our house so we got out.

Mental note: Do something to make crazy neighbor want to get out of their house quickly. Perhaps something along the lines of the Brady Bunch haunted house episode. Or something dumb dog related. Or offspring related. Or maybe I could just get schnockered and sit in a lawn chair on my front lawn wearing a tube top and cutoffs and sing really loudly. That would probably do it.

It's never good when your child is up in the night with bad dreams.

It's really not good when you have taken an Excedrin PM and your child comes into your room FIVE TIMES. This often leads to hissing unmentionable words not so under your breath.

It's never good when you have been to the grocery store and you can't think of anything to fix for dinner.

It's really not good when you have, for various reasons, had to go to the grocery store three days in a row and you still can't think of anything to fix for dinner so you wait for your husband to offer to buy fast food. Not that that happened around here. Last night. Ahem.

It's never good when you run out of wine.

It's really not good when you realize you didn't run out of wine, you just have three different bottles open that you forgot about. Nice. Lush.

It's never good when you see that someone has punctured the toothpaste tube.

It's really not good when you realize that that someone had used a pocketknife that your 12 year old swore he would guard with his life and then left sitting unguarded on the bathroom counter for just anyone --and by anyone I mean my 6 year old--to find and use to puncture the toothpaste tube.

It's never good when someone denies something obvious.

It's really not good when those someones happen to be your 12 and 6 year olds.

It's never good to drink too much soda.

It's really not good when you are on your second Diet Coke of the day and it's only 9 a.m.

It's never a good idea to keep writing when you've run out of things to say.

It's really not a good idea to keep writing when you've run out of things to say because you are avoiding doing other things. Like laundry. And cleaning up toothpaste globs from the bathroom counter.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Surest Sign of Fall

The weather has cooled off around here. It's a nice change from the 90 degree temperatures we were experiencing even into the end of September. After changing leaves and football season, the surest sign of fall at Chez Ganey is dining on hearty soups. I love soup. It's easy, can be relatively inexpensive, and tastes so yummy. Oh, and you can often enjoy soup for days after your initial meal. What's not to love? I had me at leftovers.

The latest offering on the menu here was Creamy Chicken Noodle and Wild Rice Soup served in bread bowls. This one pleases my whole family.

Okay. You got me. Not Mary. She will not partake of the soup, but she is happy to make herself a sandwich out of the bread bowl. Er, the one lump of bread that I don't cut into a bread bowl, that is.

But everyone else? They are in Soup Nirvana.

And because I would like you, too, to be in Soup Nirvana, I will share the recipe.

Creamy Chicken Noodle & Wild Rice Soup
10 c. (80 oz.) chicken broth, reserve 1 cup
1/2 c. chopped onion
1 (12 oz.) package Reames frozen egg noodles
1 (6.2 oz.) box of 5 minute long grain and wild rice*
1/3 c. all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. poultry seasoning
2 c. half-and-half
2 c. diced, cooked chicken
1/2 c. thinly sliced green onion**

In a large pan or Dutch oven, combine 9 cups of the chicken broth and chopped onion. Bring to boiling. Add the noodles, return to boiling. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 15 minutes (or until noodles are desired tenderness). Add rice and seasoning packet, cook for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile , in a small bowl, stir together the 1 cup of reserved chicken broth, flour, salt, pepper, and seasoning; stir until smooth. Slowly add flour and broth mixture to cooked noodle and rice mixture, stirring constantly. Bring to boiling; cook 1 minute or until thickened and bubbly. Slowly add half-and-half to cooked noodle mixture, stirring constantly. Add chicken; heat gently, stirring frequently until heated through. Stir in green onion before serving.

Makes 8 to 10 servings.
*I use the Uncle Ben's 90 second microwavable pouch and it works great.
** In our family, green onions are always optional. Meaning, most of the time my family opts not to have them. I am sure that it's wonderful with green onions, but I cannot tell you for sure, as I've never included them in this soup.

We like to eat these out of bread bowls that I make using frozen bread dough. Although, my beloved eats his from a regular bowl with his bread on the side because he is difficult a purist who wants to eat more of this soup than a bread bowl will hold.

And because I was feeling particularly autumn-ish, I also made apple dumplings. Guess who didn't have to clear the table after this meal? That's right. It was all so yummy, everyone else willing cleared off the table because they thought I had worked so hard to serve them such a delicious meal. Well, they were half right. I had served them a delicious meal. Ahem.

I keep telling you people that I am a giver. Now do you believe me? Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Vocabulary Day

Two of my kids have vocabulary day at their school. Do you know about vocabulary day? Essentially what happens is you choose or are assigned a vocabulary word, then you have to dress up as that word and give a short presentation on the part of speech and meaning of the word. Even the staff dress up. I suppose it is meant to bring focus to language and act as a form of enrichment. For my third grader, it was yet another thing to get mad about and another reason for him to rant over the unfairness of his life. (Gawd! Being nine, is like, so horrible!) For my 8th grader, it was yet another thing for her to give the sorta-kinda-effort that she gave her Halloween costume.

Maggie's word was somnolent. She dressed in a white v-neck shirt, pajama bottoms, and moccasin slippers. I suggested an eye-mask or giving herself dark circles under her eyes and taking a blanket with her. This was met with an eye roll and head shake of utter disdain. She always enjoys seeing the way people dress on vocabulary day and she has come home with fun stories in the past, but God forbid she be one of the people that goes all out. That would be weird. And possibly not cute. We cannot have that!

Sean's vocabulary day was worth a pretty hefty grade, and he had some stricter guidelines so he needed to put some effort into his project. Rather, he needed me to light a fire under his butt so that he would put some effort into his project. His word was circumference. We decided to dress him as Sir Cumference (like the character from the books). He was The Knight of Circles. He had a tunic that we made together, some shin guards and a helmet that we bought--that were in fact, Roman rather than medieval, but we didn't care that we were mixing our countries and eras. He also had a shield that we made bearing his vocabulary word because it had to be written somewhere on his costume. Instead of a sword, he carried a ruler. Then he had to give a speech about his word.

The fact that this all fell on the Friday before Halloween just about made me lose my tiny little mind. It also just about made him lose his. As well as his life. Because I was ready to kill him. He was more worried about his Halloween costume than his school costume and I had to keep reminding him that if he didn't worry more about one, he wouldn't have to worry at all about the other. Yeah, he didn't care for that idea, so suddenly he became very cooperative and complimentary. He made Eddie Haskel look like a surly ne'er-do-well.

So this is what his costume looked like--minus the football pants and Under Armor.

So help me, if he doesn't get a good grade, then next year I'm just going to let him do it all without help. If he winds up writing his word on a paper scrap and pinning it to his clothes I'll call it good.

And I might just use some words that would never be approved for Vocabulary Day.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Trick or Treat! Now Gimme Some A Your Candaaay!!!

I have a confession to make: I hate Halloween. I'm sure that I didn't as a kid. I mean, what child in his right mind would? Your mom does everything and you get to go beg for candy and get all hopped up on sugar and your parents can't even get mad about it. That right there is a holiday designed with kids in mind. I'm not completely sure that it wasn't kids who came up with it in the first place. I know the origins of Halloween. Or what they say the origins are. But I'm starting to think that perhaps that's all subterfuge and smoke and mirrors to cover the fact that children came up with the day. What a perfect evil plan.

The reasons I hate Halloween are numerous, but they can all be encompassed by this statement: I have to do it all.

And also: Since when did people start decorating for Halloween like it is some major holiday and when did they start putting their stuff up in September?

Related: I am certain my one carved pumpkin as our only decoration made our house look like the house with the least Halloween Spirit.

Also related: I just don't care.

Anyway, my children, just like most, were out there in it last night, knocking on doors and trolling for candy. Three of my children were old enough to go either with a buddy or with a group. That just left Mary, who wasn't feeling well and stopped after a few houses (Still, she came home with half a pumpkin bucket full of candy. Not a bad haul for quick work.) for us to take around. Rather, for my beloved to take around. I sat outside on a camp stool trying not to freeze my bupkiss off and passed out candy.

The kids chose some winners for their costumes this year. Maggie chose the perfect outfit for a teenage girl. She taped Smarties all over her pants and went as "Smarty-pants." She was thereby able to justify her begging for candy by having a sorta-kinda-but-not-really-costume. I thought it was perfect as she is a smartypants (and sometimes a smarty mouth) and is sometimes happy to give only sorta-kinda-but-not-really-effort to things. Things like Halloween costumes. She thought it was perfect because she could still "look cute" and not have "gross hair." I don't have a picture of her, as she went to a friend's house and got ready and went Halloweening there.

James went as the Grim Reaper. This is just a variation of the same costume he's worn for the last three years. This is so James. When he was three, he dressed up as a firefighter. Then he wanted to be a firefighter again for the next two years. Same with his birthday. For about four years in a row, he wanted a wienie-roast for his birthday party. This is the same kid who complains that he misses "the old wallpaper" three years after we've removed it. Still, he was funny about it. He would point a crooked finger at you and growl "You're next!" and his Facebook status read: "i am death." Made me laugh out loud.

Sean decided to dress as a wrestler from WWE. The WWE is what I call a soap opera with violence for young boys. It's like a tween version of Gray's Anatomy but with more makeup, testosterone, and rhinestones. Oh and choke slams. Some of his buddies were dressing up as Seamus and Rey Mysterio, so Sean decided to be Jeff Hardy. I needed lots of coaching on the costume and makeup needs because while I was familiar with Seamus and Rey, I had never laid eyes on Jeff before. I must have done okay, because when Sean looked in the mirror, he said "BEST. COSTUME. EVER!!" In my humble opinion, his best costume ever was when he was two and I dressed him up as Harpo Marx but what do I know?

Mary was a Native American princess. Now the costume bag just said "Native American girl," but when you are six, you have the right to add princess where ever you want. She was quite happy with her costume and loved her fake braids. She kept twirling them in her hands. Mary had been up in the night for the last couple of nights, complaining of a sore throat. However, she wasn't so sick that a dose of Motrin couldn't pep her up, so rather than causing a hell storm that would come from making her stay in on Halloween, I dosed her up and sent her out to contaminate the neighborhood beg for her share of the neighborhood's candy. After she came home, she curled up on the couch with her daddy while I continued to pass out candy. Yeah. We're going to the doctor today.

I might've sorta kinda had a little Halloween spirit when I caught glimpses of cuteness that made me want to die and cleverness that made me have a glimmer of hope for the next generation.

What made me want to die of cuteness:
--A two year old dressed in a monkey costume--complete with fat belly and banana sticking out of his pocket.

--Our neighbor's kids. Our neighbors across the cul-de-sac have two sets of twins. Two. Sets. Of Twins! They have a pair of 7 year old boys. And a twin girl and boy that just turned two. The big boys went as Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker. The younger twins went as Yoda and Princess Leia. When I saw them coming down their driveway, I had to call Patrick off the couch so he, too, could die from the cuteness. We are now corpses, the both of us.

What made me have a glimmer of hope for the next generation:
--3 junior high boys who made their costumes (suits, hats, ties) out of neon duct tape. Seriously cool. These same boys last year were and ipod and a claw machine. The cynicism might have crept back in when after I commented on how cool their costumes were, one of the boys said "Oh, yeah. You get way more candy that way."

I guess I'll have to get used to the idea that Halloween isn't going anywhere anytime soon. I suppose I'll get through it. Knowing that I can raid my kids' treat bags and sneak a Snickers while they are at school will go a long way in alleviating any bad feelings.