Monday, September 22, 2008

A new approach

This week I'm taking a new approach to getting dinner on the table with more frequency. This is spawned by a disgust of just how much fast food we've consumed since school started and our schedules got a little busier. But let's face it-- when I'm up at 5:30, gone by 7:30, and not home again until close to 8 and sometimes later than that, it's hard to plan, prep, and actually COOK something/anything.

While running errands this weekend we also cruised through the bookstore and I picked up a few magazines full of recipes for the crock pot and casseroles. Yeah, I know, every time I think of the crock pot I think of boring, soupy mush, too. But if these recipes turn out as delicious looking as the pictures in this book, then my family might stand a chance at eating something that hasn't recently departed a drive-thru window.

I'm reserving the crock pot meals for the three nights that I work late, hoping that they'll survive their LONG slow simmer until I get home without completely disintegrating. But I've prepared a menu to follow for the entire week, and purchased the necessary ingredients that I didn't have on hand over the weekend. Today I went ahead and got the stuff ready to go into the pot tomorrow morning so that all I have to do in the morning is dump it in and turn it on before walking out the door. I'm hopeful. Maybe even a little too hopeful.

So, do you have any tips and tricks to getting healthy food on the table even on the busiest of nights? And be realistic-- don't go suggesting a big bowl of salad. While that would work for me, I hardly think the boys in this house would find that a suitable replacement for arroz con gandules and thick, juicy chuletas! Do you have a tried and true recipe that you go back to on those nights where you've only got about 10 minutes to get it all together and in the oven? If so, leave it in the comments, or post it on your blog and give me a link. I'll even take a more complicated recipe if I can do most of the prep the night before. I'd offer a prize, but sadly, don't think I have much to give away, unless you're a fan of dustbunnies. :)


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Now that's just wrong!

I've been waiting forever for the Yarn Harlot to come anywhere near the state of Florida and the closest she's ever been is Atlanta. It's hard to justify a trip that far just to see someone talk about yarn, so I didn't go to that one, even though Michele and I did consider it.

This morning she posted her new tour schedule on her blog, and she's coming! To FL! To the EAST COAST OF FLORIDA! I did a happy little squee! Started to pick up the phone and call Michele and all my other knitty friends to start arranging carpools to Jacksonville, and then stopped, looked at the date again... October 16th, 7:00 pm... Ummm... it's hubby's birthday.

Why, oh why couldn't it be a day before, or a day after that?

I don't suppose I could convince hubby that going to see the Harlot is a great birthday gift for the non-knitting man. :)

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Saw this meme on another blog and it got me thinking-- I couldn't remember a single song from that year. So, here's the list of top 100. What you do:

A.) Go to

B.) Enter the year you graduated from high school in the search function and get the list of 100 most popular songs of that year

C.) Bold the songs you like, strike through the ones you hate and underline or italicize your favorite. Do nothing to the ones you don’t remember (or don’t care about)

Top 100 Hits of 1996/Top 100 Songs of 1996
1. Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix), Los Del Rio
2. One Sweet Day, Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men
3. Because You Loved Me, Celine Dion
4. Nobody Knows, Tony Rich Project
5. Always Be My Baby, Mariah Carey
6. Give Me One Reason, Tracy Chapman
7. Tha Crossroads, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony
8. I Love You Always Forever, Donna Lewis
9. You're Makin' Me High/Let It Flow, Toni Braxton
10. Twisted, Keith Sweat
11. C'mon N' Ride It (The Train), Quad City Dj's
12. Missing, Everything But The Girl
13. Ironic, Alanis Morissette
14. Exhale (Shoop Shoop), Whitney Houston
15. Follow You Down/Til I Hear It From You, Gin Blossoms
16. Sittin' Up In My Room, Brandy
17. How Do U Want It/California Love, 2Pac
18. It's All Coming Back To Me Now, Celine Dion
19. Change The World, Eric Clapton
20. Hey Lover, LL Cool J
21. Loungin, LL Cool J
22. Insensitive, Jann Arden
23. Be My Lover, La Bouche
24. Name, Goo Goo Dolls
25. Who Will Save Your Soul, Jewel
26. Where Do You Go, No Mercy
27. I Can't Sleep Baby (If I), R. Kelly
28. Counting Blue Cars, Dishwalla
29. You Learn/You Oughta Know, Alanis Morissette
30. One Of Us, Joan Osborne
31. Wonder, Natalie Merchant
32. Not Gon' Cry, Mary J. Blige
33. Gangsta's Paradise, Coolio
34. Only You, 112 Featuring The Notorious B.I.G.
35. Down Low (Nobody Has To Know), R. Kelly
36. You're The One, SWV
37. Sweet Dreams, La Bouche
38. Before You Walk Out Of My Life/Like This And Like That, Monica
39. Breakfast At Tiffany's, Deep Blue Something
40. 1, 2, 3, 4 (Sumpin' New), Coolio
41. The World I Know, Collective Soul
42. No Diggity, BLACKstreet (Featuring Dr. Dre)
43. Anything, 3t
44. 1979, The Smashing Pumpkins
45. Diggin' On You, TLC
46. Why I Love You So Much/Ain't Nobody, Monica
47. Kissin' You, Total
48. Count On Me, Whitney Houston and Cece Winans
49. Fantasy, Mariah Carey
50. Time, Hootie and The Blowfish
51. You'll See, Madonna
52. Last Night, Az Yet
53. Mouth, Merril Bainbridge
54. The Earth, The Sun, The Rain, Color Me Badd
55. All The Things (Your Man Won't Do), Joe
56. Wonderwall, Oasis
57. Woo-hah!! Got You All In Check/Everything Remains Raw, Busta Rhymes
58. Tell Me, Groove Theory
59. Elevators (Me and You), Outkast
60. Hook, Blues Traveler
61. Doin It, LL Cool J
62. Fastlove, George Michael
63. Touch Me Tease Me, Case Featuring Foxxy Brown
64. Tonite's Tha Night, Kris Kross
65. Children, Robert Miles
66. Theme From Mission: Impossible, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen
67. Closer To Free, Bodeans
68. Just A Girl, No Doubt
69. If Your Girl Only Knew, Aaliyah
70. Lady, D'angelo
71. Key West Intermezzo (I Saw You First), John Mellencamp
72. Pony, Ginuwine
73. Nobody, Keith Sweat
74. Old Man and Me (When I Get To Heaven), Hootie and The Blowfish
75. If It Makes You Happy, Sheryl Crow
76. As I Lay Me Down, Sophie B. Hawkins
77. Keep On, Keepin' On, Mc Lyte
78. Jealousy, Natalie Merchant
79. I Want To Come Over, Melissa Etheridge
80. Who Do U Love, Deborah Cox
81. Un-Break My Heart, Toni Braxton
82. This Is Your Night, Amber
83. You Remind Me Of Something, R. Kelly
84. Runaway, Janet Jackson
85. Set U Free, Planet Soul
86. Hit Me Off, New Edition
87. No One Else, Total
88. My Boo, Ghost Town Dj's
89. Get Money, Junior M.A.F.I.A.
90. That Girl, Maxi Priest Featuring Shaggy
91. Po Pimp, Do Or Die
92. Until It Sleeps, Metallica
93. Hay, Crucial Conflict
94. Beautiful Life, Ace Of Base
95. Back For Good, Take That
96. I Got Id/Long Road, Pearl Jam
97. Soon As I Get Home, Faith Evans
98. Macarena, Los Del Rio
99. Only Wanna Be With You, Hootie and The Blowfish
100. Don't Cry, Seal

Man, I graduated in a world of sorry music, didn't I? Even after looking at the list, I only know, or vaguely remember, half of them at all.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

All in a day

Man, some days you're better off just staying in bed.

Before 7 am J had already sneezed a mouthful of half-chewed raisin bran all over the back of my neck, and then proceeded to gag and puke the rest of his breakfast on my foot. Makes you all want to rush right out and have kids, doesn't it?

Who am I kidding, most of you already have kids, and are well ahead of me on all of this.

We had major meltdowns over everything from the way his underwear didn't match his pants to snotty noses, to sock seams, which all culminated in "I'm not going to school today, Mommy." Of course, this led to me forcing him, one gentle push at a time to the car, into the car, into the car seat, to the school, out of the car again, and ALL the way down the hall to his class, all the while whispering evil threats of Pokemon revoking, tv and computer game restrictions, straight down to a timeout right there in class, on the floor, while he kicked bruises into my shins. No idea where my son gets his morning mentality!

I can't take mornings like this, and yet I don't know how to prevent them. The snotty cereal on the back of the neck I can deal with, but the attitude and the stubborn streak and the just plain ugly? Not my bag. And I've said it before, but I can sympathize. Just like me, the child isn't wired for mornings. I could wake him up at 6, at 5, at 4 even, and he's still not going to be prepped and ready for a good day.

And I'll hang my head shamefully and admit to coddling him, to giving in to him all too frequently on the little things, but this going to school thing... well, it's a requirement. He has to attend, or get dropped. I guess the good side is that we're (hopefully) getting this out of his system before he starts kindergarten next year. That, and he goes to a great school, and his teachers and admin are very patient and understanding with him.

But still... I can't help but feel like one of our clients--one of the ancient old ladies ambulating with a walker, being dragged across the lobby by a great dane that's hellbent on eating the poodle cowering behind it's owner's ankle-- every time I walk through the door. I know all the other parents are looking at me and him and shaking their heads in disgust... or at least praising all that is holy that it's not THEIR child acting that way.

And then I went to work.

Fast forward to lunch time. I picked J up from school, got caught in the hall having an impromptu parent-teacher conference which ate up half my time, then rushed to the inlaws to drop him off there so I could get back to work, and they friggin weren't home! WTF?! How long have I had this same schedule? These same work days with these same times? So I called hubby, just to get someone else involved in the drama, I suppose.

J and I made the best of it and had a picnic on the front porch while we waited-- more because it was now after 1 p.m. and I hadn't even had any breakfast yet.

I finally got him dropped off, got back to work, and had a 45 minute phone conversation with a crazy lady who insisted that her cats were infested with some sort of parasitic creatures with red beady eyes that were burrowing under her skin and chewing holes in her buttocks and *said in that low, confidential whisper* "inside me, ya know... inside me." Oh God help me!!

Shall I continue?

On the way to pick J up I got a phone call from my sister telling me that the dog had locked her out of the house.

Then I get home, sit down, and the doorbell rings and there stands the pizza guy with a pizza I didn't order.

And now? Now that it's nearly 10 pm. I think my day is finally reaching a moment of normalcy. Hubby is on the couch watching some weird Japanese game show, Jonas is running around blowing a horn and making all sorts of wild noise because he took a nap at Abuela's and isn't the slightest bit tired, and the dog is sitting here, head in my lap, banging her tail loudly against the metal base of the lamp, begging for me to take her out. This is calm in my world.


Sunday, September 07, 2008

Over this

Damn, I'm tired. Like room spinning, can't focus on a thing, tired.

J's been 'not right' since Thursday afternoon. He came home from school, whined for a few minutes, complained of his cheek hurting, then promptly fell asleep on the couch. Totally NOT J-like behavior. He doesn't nap- never has. He woke 2 hours later with a raging fever and was inconsolable.

The doctor just shrugged at me, acted annoyed by my presence-- just another mom that thinks the sky is falling every time their kid sneezes. But honestly, despite his lower fever in the exam room, and his much more chipper demeanor, there's something WRONG with him.

I kept him home from school Friday, even though he seemed to feel a little better. I'd rather not be one of those moms that sends their germbag off to class to infect everyone else.

All day Friday, he seemed to be better, although there was still the weird cheek pain thing, and no interest in food.

Saturday... Ugh! Saturday. If ever there was a world record for longest day of the year, it would have been Saturday. Between a whiney, not quite right kid, and the other crap that I don't really feel like rehashing right now, Saturday was the suckiest of sucky days. Total suckage.

J fell asleep around 9. I joined him around midnight. About half an hour later, I was yanked out of my nearly-sleep by that croupy cough that probably every mom has heard at least once. It was nearly two hours of watching him struggle for breath, his little belly breathing, chest sucking, no air getting in, panic while sitting in the bathroom floor, holding all sixty pounds of him and rocking and singing while the shower ran out of hot water before he was, as if someone flipped a switch, fine again.

After that, going back to sleep just wasn't going to happen. We curled up together on the couch and praised the great deity BrightHouse for the fact that Noggin is now a 24 hour channel until the sun came up and he finally nodded off to sleep.

This day isn't going fast enough for my liking. J seems to feel good today, but has laryngitis and is frustrated by his inability to talk much. I have to admit, despite how much I sometimes wish he'd put a cork in it for a little while, I really do miss my little chatter box.

The only positive to come out of all of this is some completely ADD knitting. I got a wild hair and cast on for a pair of mittens at about 3 this morning, but as a result of no sleep and not enough coffee, I got gauge all wonky and these things could have fit sasquatch with room left over. Fortunately I wasn't so delirious that I got much past the ribbing before the little voice in the back of my head spoke up and said "hey dumbass, put down the needles!" So I picked up the crochet hook and finished J's spidey blanket. It's blocking right now, and once it dries, if it ever does, I'll find somewhere to hide it until Christmas.

I also cast on for Mystery Stole 4. Since MS3 was such a total failure for me, I figured why not go and set myself up for more of the same. Maybe this will be the year for me to actually finish something lace. Maybe.

Oh, and I did a few more rows on the Shalom Cardigan that I've been avoiding like the plague. It's not the sweater I hate, it's the sweater. The pattern's great, the result is looking good, but knitting it is an exercise in knitterly hell. Knitting something that big and heavy on giant needles-- man! Every single stitch seems so exaggerated in it's execution. The effort of just wrapping each stitch, and moving the resulting fabric along the needles seems like too much work. Or maybe I'm just that tired. I do think that the final product will be something I'm proud of, if I don't end up in dual wrist braces by the time I get there!

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Thursday, September 04, 2008

Where's Joe?

It's been a weird sort of day and I'm beat, but I wanted to take just a second to say how great it was to finally make knit night with the girls tonight- against all odds and despite the grumpy hubby I got to come home to.

I really needed a few hours of girly, knitterly time.

And the highlight of the evening was that Joe of SWTC dropped in for a little while to show off all their yarns and patterns. We had a great time petting beautiful sweaters and scarves and other samples he brought along with him. But it was almost surreal, having a real, true, yarny person hanging out with our little group for the night.

I'm sure I could do this post more justice if my brain were functioning at all, but I'm beat, and it's late. Perhaps I'll try again tomorrow.