When Life Gives You Crap … Make Chocolate Chip Cookies!

I’ve been having a tough time lately. I will spare you the sad, poor-me, pity party, and just say that sometimes life kinda sucks. But, I try to always find the silver lining, and if I can’t find that well, then I start looking for chocolate!  Or if it super sucks, I start looking for chocolate chip cookie dough.

And I don’t know about you but I don’t want to make an entire batch of cookies and be a slave to the kitchen for hours on end.  I want to be in and out.  I also don’t want 3-4 dozen cookies just hanging around my house for the next week or so tempting me to eat them.

The Boy LOVES – I mean, like obsessively LOVES chocolate chip cookies,and has since he was old enough to eat them.  I just hate store bought baked goods.  They taste gross & heaven knows what’s in them.  So I try to make most of the goodies myself … or with The Boy!  He did about 75% of the work on these.

MamaLovesHalfBatchCCWCookiesI scoured the internet looking for ideas, looked at my own full batch recipe and tried to do the math, but ultimately just gave up and kind of improvised.  I love my cookies buttery, soft, fluffy, with lots of chocolate chips and lots of walnuts.  So if you do too, here you go!

PS – I am an advocate of eating raw cookie dough no matter what the warnings say.  Obviously those people just don’t want to have fun in life.  I chowed down at least 2 cookies worth of cookie dough while making these & I’m alive to tell you about it!

Mama Loves Half-Batch Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yields about a dozen or so (depending on how much cookie dough you eat while making them!)

Ingredients:
1/2 cup (one stick) butter, softened
1 egg
6 tablespoons brown sugar
6 table spoons granulated white sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 heaping cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Method:
TIP: Use your hand mixer for better results – I tried doing it the old fashioned way by hand & quickly plugged my hand mixer in to make quicker work of things.  

Preheat Oven to 375*

Cream the butter and sugars at a low-medium speed.  Add the egg, mix some more.  Add the flour gradually, mixing together.  Add the salt & the baking powder.  Mix it at a low-medium speed until the dry ingredients are totally mixed in with the wet ingredients.  Turn the mixer off & hand stir in the chocolate chips & walnuts.

Use a small kitchen spoon (or a super cute cookie dough scooper) to drop tablespoon sized balls of dough onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper (makes for easy clean up!)

cookie dough 1

Bake at 375 for about 10 minutes.  Remove from oven right as the edges of the cookies are turning golden brown.  Let them cool on the cookie sheet for 2 minutes, then gently transfer to a wire rack to cool for another few minutes.

YUM Inside of the cookieEAT ME, YOU’LL FEEL BETTER 🙂

Love, Loss & Childhood

Once upon a time there was a cute little orange “Tabbysinian” kitten who found his way into our lives.  His papers said he was a Rudy Abyssinian, but his face was much softer than what you might expect a typical Aby to look like.

Ozzy's favorite spot

Ozzy’s favorite spot

He picked The Husband one day, 14 years ago, when Pet Stores were not outlawed quite yet. The Husband was only “The Boyfriend” back then, and it was the very beginning of our relationship.  And although he hadn’t intended for this little kitten to be a present for me, well, he ended becoming just that. Even though we didn’t live together yet, we shared this cat – I would bring him to my house for overnight stays, and eventually we all ended up moving into a house together 2 years later, (with our other cat, Emmy, a rescue who had found her way to me a year after Ozzy.)

Ozzy. I will use his real name because it’s cute. And he was an Ozzy through and through. He was so sweet & friendly; a bunch of orange fur with a purr as loud as a tractor motor – so loud, it was difficult to fall asleep if he happened to curl up & take a nap with you. He demanded to be pet all.the.time. If you stopped petting him, he would nudge you with his wet nose, or gently nip at the fat on the back of your arm (YOW!) to get your attention.

We made all the mistakes with this guy, our first “baby.”  We fed him food from the table, which transformed him into a steak-thieving, fang-bearing wild animal. He swiped chicken nuggets off of plates at parties, until we eventually had to lock him up when guests came over. Yogurt, eggs, tuna juice, salmon, filet mignon, burritos, artichokes, edamame, butter … there was no human food that this cat wouldn’t want to ingest.

And because we didn’t know any better, we let him roam around both inside and outside, until the unthinkable happened one day & he didn’t come home for dinner. Several days later, he turned up, mangled and barely hanging on to life. We rushed him to the hospital, where he cashed in one of his nine lives. He had been hit by a car & his jaw was broken. It was the first scare in our career as Ozzy’s parents, and I vowed to never let him out of the house again. He lamented that decision, but eventually got used to being just a house cat.  He tried, and managed to, escape once or twice.

Fast forward to the arrival of our human child, The Boy, five years ago. Ozzy was probably the least excited of the cats to meet this new unpredictable babbling little wild man – a new entity in his midst, that would surely take our attention away from him.  Ozzy kept his distance, carefully eyeing The Boy, and scrambling away when The Boy got too close.

The Boy didn’t care if Ozzy wouldn’t play with him, The Boy still loved him no matter what. The Boy called all of the cats his brothers & sister, and would draw pictures of them with him or by themselves. The Boy,  just like me & The Husband, is a true animal lover.

So in September, when Ozzy first got sick with a blood clot in his front paw, The Boy & I rushed him to the emergency vet and waited, hopefully, for the doctors to say that he would be ok. As Ozzy lay sedated in the oxygen cage, The Boy got to pet him & was elated that he finally got to feel Ozzy’s soft, orange fur. The Boy saw me cry in the consultation room when the Cardiologist explained that Ozzy had silent heart disease & that this time we were lucky because the clot was in the front paw … if it was in the back leg, that is a much worse diagnosis, a death sentence pretty much.

Back home, for the past 3 months, we’ve watched as Ozzy made a remarkable recovery, and plied him with pills twice a day, hidden in the smokey folds of salmon.  Spoiled, sure, but if anyone deserved it, it was Ozzy. I knew that his days were numbered, but figured we were looking at years, not months.  So, last weekend, when Ozzy refused to eat dinner & could not walk on his back legs, I was shocked.  And I knew in my heart of hearts that this was it.  The end.

I am a very emotional person, an easy (and very ugly) crier.  I wear my heart on my sleeve, and I’ll cry at the drop of a hat most days – something that moves me, be it happy or sad, can trigger the tears.  But when the proverbial poop hits the fan, I switch into “take-charge” mode, and I become the calm in the midst of chaos.  I’m the one who takes a deep breath & coordinates everything when everyone else is falling apart.  This was one of those times.  I knew that I didn’t have the luxury of breaking down right now.  I needed to be strong.

I shuffled The Boy into the tv room & put on a show that would engross him, as I took The Husband into our bedroom and told him that he needed to say good-bye to Ozzy.  I would take him to the emergency hospital, but I wasn’t expecting to return with our cat.  The Husband couldn’t really handle the magnitude of the situation, and didn’t want to believe that this was happening.  He stayed with The Boy and I rushed Ozzy to the hospital.

My fears were confirmed and the ER Doctor told me that Ozzy had a saddle thrombus in the worst possible place, and recommended euthanasia.  I was devastated and for the first time, I started to crack a little.  My emotion caught up in my throat and I couldn’t stop the tears from spilling out.  I signed the papers and held him for the last time, stroking his head and telling him about The Rainbow Bridge – a place where he would be able to run and chase squirrels and birds, eat steaks and chicken nuggets – and I would meet up with him again someday.  I tried so hard not to cry – I wanted to be strong for him and brave, but I couldn’t help it.  I wept as I watched him go.

When I got back home, The Boy was just about to go to bed, and I couldn’t tell him then.  We decided to wait until the following day after he got out of school.  I baked him a batch of his favorite chocolate chip cookies, and The Husband & I sat at the kitchen table and explained that Ozzy had been really sick for a while, and the doctors tried everything, but he had passed away.  At first, The Boy took it pretty well – asked us a few questions in between bites of cookie: “is he coming back?” No, sweetie. “Will I ever see him again?” No, love.  And then he ran off to play …

But at bedtime, that’s when he really broke down.  After I kissed him goodnight & closed the door, I heard him quietly crying and calling out for Ozzy.  My heart broke, and I rushed back in.  The Boy came undone, asking me questions like “is everyone I love going to die?”  “Why couldn’t you save him, mama?  Why did you let him die? He was only thirteen years old!” “I miss him, I don’t want him to be gone, why can’t he ever come back?”

The Husband is an atheist, and I’m (for lack of a better label,) a witch.  And I don’t want to get off on a tangent about religion, but suffice it to say The Husband and I have agreed to raise a child who is curious about the world around him, while supporting him in his search for whatever spirituality (religious, or not) works best for him.  We expose him to the Pagan holidays, (and Hanukkah too, since The Husband is Jewish by blood.)  But all of our celebrations are based around tradition, family & food, and not anything religious.  We focus more on nature, the changing of the seasons, and less on theology.

Answering these big life questions for a five-year old were tough for me, but here’s some of what I told him:

You know how at Halloween, I talk about the veil between the two worlds?  This world here where we are, and then a world where the spirits and ghosts live?  Well, some people think that the other world is a place that animals and people go after they pass away from this world.  It’s beautiful and magical, there’s no sadness, no pain, no sickness, and there’s just love.  I would like to believe that Ozzy is now in that world, playing with other animals and running after silly squirrels and eating all the steak and salmon he wants to.  We won’t be able to see him anytime soon, but I like to believe that someday we’ll meet up with him again.  And you know how I talk about my grandma and grandpa who aren’t alive?  I told you that I think they’re my angels, and they look out for me and watch over me?  I would like to think that Ozzy is now one of our angels, too.  And even though he isn’t alive here on earth anymore, he is still alive in our hearts.  We can talk about him and remember all the funny, silly, sweet things he did and all the good times we had with him.  And it’s ok to be sad and to miss him.  It’s ok to ask questions and talk about him, and it’s ok to be confused.  It’s going to take some time for all of us – you, me, Daddy & the other kitties – to get used to not having Ozzy in our house anymore, so we need to be kind to one another and be gentle with each other because it’s a big change to lose someone we love so much.  And I know that thirteen is a small number and that must scare you, but for cats and dogs, time is much faster – one year for humans is 7 years for cats and dogs, so Ozzy was really ninety-one years old in human years!  That’s a good, long life, sweet boy.  No one lives forever, but usually people don’t die until they’re very old and have lived a long life.  So you don’t need to worry about losing anyone else in your life, because no one is sick, everyone is healthy and just because one bad, sad thing happened, it doesn’t mean a lot of other bad, sad things are going to happen to.  Ok?

As I grappled with explaining the unexplainable, I could hear the Husband crying in the room next to us.  He later told me that he was sorry that he couldn’t be stronger & couldn’t come to help, but that he was in such pain from listening to our son sob about the loss of his sweet pet, it caused him to completely lose it.  He said that I did a beautiful job of helping him understand & work through his grief.  I hope so.  I know it must the an instinctual mothering-type thing to want to shelter your children from any pain of the real world, but I also cannot lie to him.  I tried my best to explain it as honestly as I could while still trying to bring him some comfort.

The following day, on the suggestion of a friend, I bought The Boy a small stuffed kitty cat that resembled Ozzy.  I  can’t believe that the toy store had exactly what I was looking for – it was kismet.  I put a name tag on its collar that read “Ozzy,” and presented it to him after he came home from school.  He hugged it tightly and said, “the real Ozzy will live in my heart, but this Ozzy will come with me everywhere now.”  I smiled, proud that I had brought him some bit of happiness in the wake of a truly sad tragedy.

a sweet stuffed friend to help with healing

And we have been taking it one day at a time, as we’ll continue to do.  In fact, just yesterday The Boy proclaimed that “Emmy just moved up a notch” to his “second favorite cat.”  Of course, his best buddy, Sniper, has always held top spot …  But, Ozzy, we’ll miss you so much, and we’ll think of you fondly & remember all the silly, sweet things you did, and all the joy you brought to our lives.

 

Thank You For (not) Being A Friend

So … I’ve been wanting to write this post for a little while & something has caused me to hesitate.  I think it’s difficult to acknowledge that I’m no longer friends with a couple of people whom I had considered to be like sisters to me.  I suppose that my thought process went a little like this: If I say that it’s “over” on my blog to the world at large, then it’s most definitely over for real.  And that finality hurts.  Actually, the whole thing hurt, but after I got past the pain of, not one but two, close friendships ending abruptly, I was able to see the lesson & grow from the experience.

The truth is friends will disappoint you, people change, and maybe you’re not always going to be as close as you are to someone who is an important part of your life right now.  And maybe the “best friend” you thought was like your sister, will become a different person – someone you no longer recognize – and will walk right out of your life without so much as a “goodbye,” leaving you to fumble around for closure all by yourself.  Akin to the guy who just stopped calling you for no reason … only this hurts more deeply, because it was more than just “some guy” you dated a few times whose name you can’t even remember now.  This was a friend.

let them go

let them go

I know that people come in our lives for a reason & sometimes they only stay for a season, or two.  And other friendships I have, (and cherish,) are the ones where we’re close during a certain period of our lives, drift apart, (with no animosity, just the way life happens to lead you,) and then come back together as though no time has passed.  I love that.  I have plenty of really amazing friends that I don’t see, or even talk to, on a daily / weekly / monthly basis, but when we’re together it’s as though no time has elapsed – we pick up right where we left off.

I’ve lost friends to death … suicide, tragic accidents, horrible illnesses & it’s all been awful.  But even with the sudden departures, I at least felt like I had a reasonable idea of why we weren’t friends any longer, and in a way I was able to have some sort of closure.  And some friends I lost touch with and felt like that was ok because we weren’t that close anyhow – they had chosen different paths for their lives, fundamentally changed from the person I had first met, and I felt like it wasn’t a friendship I wanted to continue.

But when friends – really close friends, people who referred to you as “BFF” or “Bestie” or “soul sister” just stop talking to you, abandon you, don’t return phone calls or emails, you are left to try and reconcile what happened on your own.  And it sucks because my motto is “everything can be solved in a conversation.”  Yeah, well, that only works if people are, ya know, conversing.  So an abrupt departure is painful, and sad, and heartbreaking.  You start to question how you could have been so close with someone who has so little regard for your feelings.  But people change, I suppose …

remembering who friends used to be

Now in my early 40’s I think I’m learning – really learning – a very big life lesson about friendships.  My circle has whittled down, especially after everything that has happened over the past 7 years: I got married to a great man, I moved a little further away from everyone (and by further I mean 20 minutes – ha,) and had a child.  A child with special needs.  Which means my “Me-Time” & “Friend-Time” is very limited.  The time that I do have, I don’t want to spend it being roped into unnecessary drama with people who don’t care about things that are important to me.

life is too short

And it’s OK not to “build a bridge” and be the one who reaches out to fix things if you don’t want to fix things.  Someone doesn’t want to be friends with you?  Take them at face value – they don’t want to be in your life, so let them go.

A really close friend, a truly great friend doesn’t necessarily equate to the person you’ve known for the longest time.  Several of my dearest friends are women I’ve only known for the past few years!  And I’m so thankful for their friendship.  I know that as we ebb and flow in life, as we grow & take on different roles in our lives, that our friendships will inevitably change.  And that’s a good thing!

Keep growing … keep learning, and those people who continue to do the same will continue to add value to your life.  The people who are stagnant, living in the past, clutching to old ideals, are those people who won’t be able to add any value to your life.  Let them go.  Be brave & remember that it’s better to be alone than to be surrounded by fake friends.

Easter Egg-citement … and a Life Lesson on the side

Oh that title is sooooo cheesy, but it’s late & you get what you get at this point. And by the by – this post has not been “proofed.” I still have to make a basket, hide eggs tonight, and gnaw out chunks of a carrot that The Boy left for the bunny.

On Thursday, The Boy & I made Chickadee Cupcakes!

chickadee_cupcakes_platter

 

I was inspired by this post.  Mine are nowhere near as perfect & pretty as hers, but then again, I’m just a “fairly good mother,” so what do you expect?

Let me see if I can impress you with this little tidbit of info:  I did all of this WHILE working from home, juggling calls, making deals & doing laundry, AFTER running errands in the morning.  Impressed?  *huffs on knuckles & brushes off the shoulder dust*  Yeah, I’m a badass mama sometimes.

We took the easy route – got a box yellow cake instead of making from scratch, BUT I did make whipped cream frosting (my own concoction using heavy cream & powdered sugar & vanilla – don’t measure, just add to taste,) and then added yellow gel.  I bought pre-made eyes & used some orange icing that was leftover from Halloween.  It was Wilton’s – the kind in the air canister & it had a mind of it’s own, very difficult to deal with! I piped on some frosting to the sides for their wings.  Note: You need to refrigerate these because of the cream frosting.  Just let them stand at room temp for 15 minutes or so before you scarf one down.

The Boy had fun making some of the chickadees into “silly chickadees” with one eye or three, and since I didn’t want 2 dozen chickadees, so we used the rest of the batter to make a mama chick.  We used chocolate chips for her eyes & The Boy, my little choc-o-holic, ate enough chips to make 5 more chicks!

mama_chickadee_cakeWe took some of the cupcakes to the neighbor kids & then went to karate.

On Friday, we tackled the eggs!  And let’s be honest here, it was a less than perfect undertaking.

Take one rambunctious 4 year old, add 6 flimsy PAAS cups filled with colored water & of course your chances for a disaster are like 97% … Add to that the fact that I had dressed him in a new outfit that was partially white & the chances increased to 99.9999%.

No worries, I’m a chilled out mama regardless of my self-diagnosed mild OCD.  I had prepared for this event: laid out paper towels & put an apron on him.  But two seconds after this picture was taken …. the green egg disaster commenced.

Green will be all over the kitchen in 5-4-3-2 ...

Green will be all over the kitchen in 5-4-3-2 ..

The Boy accidentally tipped over the flimsy PAAS cup (we were using the whisk to hold the egg since that’s an easier way for kids to maneuver the eggs.)

The Boy immediately freaked out & hopped off his stool to retreat in the far end of the kitchen.  Before I even went to clean it, I consoled him.  My little sensitive guy was obviously pretty upset that he had spilled the green all over the counter, cabinets & himself.

“Guess what?”  I told him … “Accidents happen & I’m not mad.  I know I told you to be careful, but it’s no big deal – do I look mad?  No.  I’m not mad at all & it’s ok!  Let’s take off your apron & get you a new one.”  But he was still pretty shaken by the whole thing & ran off to his playroom.  This was a great teaching moment (yes, those are actual real things for the fairly good mothers of the world.) I went to get him & we had a nice little talk about how important it is to forgive ourselves when we’re not perfect.

He came back to do a couple more eggs, but I could see that he was a little timid & still pretty mad at himself, and it broke my heart into about a thousand pieces when I asked him why he was still upset & he said “I’m mad at myself for making an accident & I don’t want to color eggs anymore because I’m afraid I’ll do it again.”

I choked back my tears.  Give me a break, friends, I’m PMDD’d & I love this kid.   I got right down next to him & told him “hey it’s totally ok if you do it again … I might even do it this time!  I’m not perfect, no one is.  If we make a mess, we’ll clean it up!  No big deal.  Right?   And listen to me … You know when a friend does something that makes you sad & they apologize to you & you say ‘I forgive you?’ well, it’s important to forgive yourself when you do something that makes you sad or frustrated.”  He got that.  And we finished the eggs.

Tie_DyeEasterEggs

We used the PAAS Tie-Dye Easter Egg Kit, which I have used in past years, and had so-so results, but apparently my fairly good brain forgot that we tried this before & I bought the kit again.  This time they had included this gloss to polish the eggs, which seemingly made some difference.  And I guess I perfected my technique … or maybe it was just luck 🙂

 

I think I like this one the best: Pink_TieDyeEgg

Or maybe it was the super bright pink egg that I did just for The Boy since it’s his favorite color & I knew it would make him happy.

And we read this book before bed – one of MY childhood faves: The Country Bunny & the Little Gold Shoes.

the country bunnyIt’s about a Country Bunny who becomes one of the 5 Easter Bunnies.  Was written in 1939 & still holds up seventy-five years later!

I hope you have a great Easter, and I hope you can remember the wonderment you felt as you woke up on Easter morning to discover a basket filled with goodies & eggs hidden around the house.

Childhood is a magical time where reality is kind of suspended … at least if you have fairly good parents who will do that for you.

I hope The Boy looks back on his childhood and forgets the accidents & the struggles, and only remembers the magic, the wonderment, the joy of his life.

P.S. Tell me that the addition of the text to my pictures was worth it! Thanks Picmonkey.

xo 🙂

 

 

2 Shakes of a Lamb’s Tail

Ok, so WOW, that was one slow lamb, right?

Awa ... how cute is this little lamb?  He shakes his tail slowly :)

Awa … how cute is this little lamb? He shakes his tail slowly 🙂

Well, I sort of fell down the rabbit hole of wanting to add text to my pictures I’m about to post, which led to asking my very best friend about the free online picture editing programs she had told me about, which led to me finding out that my browser was too old for the program, (what?! I have a 3 yr old macbook for pete’s sake!) which led to me updating my OS to Mavericks, which took 6+ hours & 2 chat-sessions with Apple, and resulted in my iPhoto needing to also be updated, my internet being messed up, and … ok, are you asleep yet?

Sorry.  I just wanted some sympathy.  Can’t a girl just make a damn post anymore?  My plan was to put up my Easter Post yesterday … But you get what you get, (which will be momentarily.)

I’m not perfect, but you still love me 🙂 And, maybe this cute little baby lamb will make you smile.

Happy New Year!

It’s the first day of a whole new year … lots of life waiting to happen.  2013 was fun, interesting, full of growth & discovery … but I’m ready for a new blank book to make fresh memories & create more traditions.

Last year I created a new tradition for our family: The Good Memories Jar.  Every time one of us had a fun day, we wrote it down & put it in the jar.  Then, on December 31st we read them, remembering all the fun we had this past year.

The Good Memories Jar

The Good Memories Jar

Another tradition is our NYE Dinner: Shrimp Cocktail, Filet Mignon, Burgundy Mushrooms, a Wedge Salad & bread with Champagne Cocktails beforehand & a beautiful Syrah or Cab with dinner.  Then more champagne as we ring in the new year.  Most years we celebrate the east coast new year, but this year we went all out & stayed up past midnight!  (I’m paying for it dearly this morning)

So I took a look at my Bake-It List & looks like I came up short!  Well, guess what?  One of my resolutions, (which I don’t generally like to subscribe to,) is I’m not gonna sweat the small stuff & I won’t be too hard on myself.  I will roll over the things I didn’t bake in 2013 to 2014!  Yes, I will make an updated Bake-It List soon!  Stay tuned 🙂

I got busy in 2013 – I unexpectedly started a new venture & had to figure out how to juggle being a working mom.  It was not as easy as you working moms make it look!!!  I think I finally got into a rhythm & figured out how to fit everything in … things that fall to the last on the list?  Things for me.  And that’s just not cool, but that’s what good moms do.

Speaking of being a good mom — here are some things I’m looking forward to doing with The Boy this coming year:

  1. Take him to see the snow (this is difficult when it’s so warm here!)
  2. Finger paint more often & do more crafts
  3. Write more books with him (he just finished two picture books all on his own!)
  4. Go on more hikes with him & explore the outdoors
  5. Star gaze & cloud burst

What are you looking forward to doing in 2014?

Duck Droppings

I sort of don’t understand all this manufactured uproar … Sort of.   I mean, who cares with this duck dude says?

I have heard of Duck Dynasty , sure – I won’t lie.   Yes, I’ve heard of that show because this is America & you can’t wake up and take a piss without having some commercialized over-processed hype shoved in your face.

Have I watched one moment, one commercial, one spot, one second of this bearded shit brigade? NO.  No, I have not.  (I don’t expect a medal for that proclamation, either.  I just thought I’d point out that I don’t have time to watch idiots doing idiotic shit.)

Thanks a lot, no thanks, but thanks.  I have better things to do than to count the number of lice living in his beard as he espouses bigotry & hatred.  And let’s be honest, the A-Number-One reason I haven’t watched this spectacle is because of the beards, Ok?  I’m being honest.  It grosses me out.  Oh, and I love ducks, so I can’t watch a show that is about hunting ducks.  How cute is this guy?

cute duckling

I would rather watch this duckling waddle around than watch racist bigots with beards

But I digress, I’m not going to judge on physical appearance alone (though I do believe that first impressions make a lasting one – that’s why I want to cuddle this duckling.)  But based on duck dude’s most recent comments that were revealed in an interview with GQ Magazine & heavily quoted in the media, he is a shallow, un-evolved, loveless, intolerant bottom feeder … but hey, that’s just my first impression & only based on very limited exposure to him as a person.

It occurs to me, though, that duck dude is a “personality” on a “reality show” (I put those things in quotes & italics because they are kind of asinine, eye-roll-inducing labels.)  He isn’t a spokesperson for some upstanding corporation that is interested in maintaining an “image” or bettering humanity.   It’s A&E, people.  Arts & Entertainment Channel.

And duck dude falls under the latter category I guess.  There is no “art” in bigotry.  In my opinion (and having been in the entertainment industry for – oh, practically my entire adult life,) A&E was well aware of duck dude’s viewpoints, whether or not they agreed & whether or not they thought his viewpoints aligned with A&E’s.

You think this interview that duck dude conducted with GQ (which was the tipping point in exposing his true feelings to the public at large, apparently,) was done without the knowledge, nay, without the blessing of A&E?  COME ON.  Get real.  They knew.  Hell, they probably set it up!

Did they do it for the publicity?  Maybe.  Or maybe A&E wanted to break up with duck dude, and used this as a springboard for doing so.  And maybe it is just the thing that gets people talking, and becomes the catalyst that gets people to draw a line in the sand, finally.

Are you going to stand on the side of intolerance & judgment – the side that infringes on the rights of another human being to enjoy their existence to the fullest extent on this earth?  The side that spews hate & reasons that it is “God’s Will,”  Or, are you going to step over that shallow little line that some cave-dwelling dolt carved into the sand, and expand your mind into a place where you can accept that someone else’s decisions about who they are going to love have absolutely NO ramifications on any aspect of your existence

Do I agree with the duck dick?  You don’t know by now?  Well, let’s be clear.  No.  Hell, no.  Not only  “no,” But, “HELL NAH.”  But, yeah, he has a right to espouse his stupidity.  Unfortunately it’s on a platform big enough for the world at large to witness.  And, unfortunately, he has just as much of a right to flaunt his lice-ridden-face-bush on the television & wag his hateful tongue as do any of the other reality-tramps touting their wares; selling their duck whistles & their butt-shaper shoes.

Do you have a right to turn the channel if he grosses you out with his weird beard & blatant bigotry?  YES.  Do you have a right to wave your fist in the air if you find yourself agreeing with his employment of lice as they take up residence in his facial hair?  YES.  Do you have a right to make your own show, (“The Red Robin Regime: Riot Against Racism!”)  YES,  Yes, you do, so do it!   Does A&E have a right to employ the duck dude regardless of  the 1st amendment (which only applies to the government’s suppression of free speech, FYI)?  Yes, they do.  Do they have a right to fire him when it’s become to much & they feel the pressure from the rest of the evolved citizens in our country?  Of course.

But, the moral of the story is this: Screw these ignorant assholes.  All of them – from duck dude, to the jerk at the local Coffee Shop who whispers to the cashier that same sex marriage will be the one thing that collapses our society.  Screw them and speak up – combat crazy hate with a conversation.  It probably won’t change their opinion, but you will feel better for standing up to bigotry.

And, at the end of the day, this guy has no bearing on real life, mine or yours, so water off a duck’s back, right?

Where does the time go? And how does my fairly good garden grow?

I cannot believe it’s been over 30 days since my last blog entry! That’s simply unacceptable. It’s a good thing I’m not getting paid to do this 🙂

Seriously, June was a busy month, (and that’s a good thing!) I started working again … freelance & from home for the most part.  I make my own hours and can still make certain that my family is the NUMBER ONE priority. So far, it’s been really great, very lucrative & exciting.  The Husband is super supportive & that is really the secret to my success.

Why did I get a job?  Because I have home improvement projects that I want to get done & I don’t want to put a burden on our household finances.  Next up: A fence between us and the neighbors to the east.  Fences make good neighbors.  I hope they get on the ball with us & get this accomplished before the end of summer.  I’ve already had 2 conversations with this guy & he strikes me as a “Guy’s Guy.”  Translation: He doesn’t want to discuss fences with the Fairly Good Mother.  He wants to talk fences with The MAN of the HOUSE. ~Insert EyeRoll Here~

So, I’m busy & making money for fences and gardens and drapes and entertainment centers … but at what cost?  No cost to the family – they’re good, well fed with delicious organic treats from my garden, but you know something’s got to give.  Well then, what suffers? Writing. Blogging. Cooking. I’m seeking to find that balance. It took me a minute to work back in the exercise, but that is a necessary thing!  I can’t deal with myself if I’m feeling bloated and creaky.  Pilates is my savior.  I love it.  And thankfully, it feels like July will be less hectic and so I’m glad that I have a chance to catch up.

When you last saw my fledgling little fairly good garden, it looked like this:

the fairly good garden

the fairly good garden

Here’s what it looked like just 3 weeks ago when I fully intended to write a blog post updating you as to the condition of this garden:

the fairly good garden | June 2013

the fairly good garden | June 2013

Seriously – that was taken ONE MONTH after I planted the dang thing!  I’ve reaped the LARGEST zucchini I have ever seen from this beautiful bountiful garden.  I’ve eaten the sweetest strawberries, I’ve made pesto with my basil, I’ve made salad with my salad mix … and I just clipped off a brand spankin’ ruby red Habanero Chili and I cultivated a little baby artichoke, but I feel like it was the runt of the ‘choke family & so it did not get eaten.

prolly should have cut this guy when it looked like this, but I wanted to see if it would get bigger ... (that's what she said.)

prolly should have cut this guy when it looked like this, but I wanted to see if it would get bigger … (that’s what she said.)

and these weren't even the largest of the zucchinis!

and these weren’t even the largest of the zucchinis!

gardening is fun!

gardening is fun!

Things that are not going so well in the garden (*PLEASE, Tips, Tricks & Suggestions are ENCOURAGED!)

  • I have a Very Hungry Caterpillar roaming around the garden … Or perhaps there are two.  I’ve met two of them and moved them to another area of the yard.  They have wreaked havoc though!  I used something that was non-toxic, all organic & totally safe – it was literally like pepper and $h!t or something … I cannot remember the name. It was a powder and I used it all in two applications.
  • HOLY Zucchini & Squash Leaves, People!  I know for sure that Adam & Eve must have used these leaves as primitive undergarments.  These are the LARGEST Freaking Leaves I’ve ever seen!  And they’re prickly as f^ck.  Seriously, get your damn gloves on before you go trimming them up!  They crowd all the other veggies in my garden.  I trimmed about 20% of the leaves back with no clear repercussions.  Still got a massive zuke off that thing.
  • Cilantro is gone.  It took off when the temperatures soared here last month & I’m sad because I was planning on making a kick-ass salsa with my tomatillos, tomatoes, chili peppers & cilantro.  It went to flower, I cut it back (probably stupidly.) and 1 out of 2 of my plants is straight up dead.
  • Arugula went to seed.  Also a victim of the 100+ temps here & I read that I should stop watering it and let the seed pods dry out then cultivate them for next season.  Sound right?
  • Basil is stunted & I don’t know why.  I snap off the tops when it starts to flower.  Again, I think that the heat + the Very Hungry Caterpillar has something to do with it.
  • The strawberries aren’t producing as much as I thought.  Same with my cucumber plant.
  • I think I over-planted … Oops!  Live and Learn.

So there you have it, my dear friends … That’s what’s happening right now.  I will snap more pics.  I’m waiting for my tomatoes.  Patiently.  And the only one I saw had a nice little caterpillar hole in the bottom which made me want to put on my magnifying glasses & go on a Caterpillar hunt!

Oh, one last thing … what was for dinner tonight?  Well, I have to share because it was so good … Another awesome find from Oh She Glows!  Veggie Spring Rolls (vegan-dish.) It was light, it was easy & it was so delicious!  I licked the last of the peanut sauce off the blades of my food processor & no, I’m not joking.  My dear friend had made this during her visit in April & I have been meaning to make it ever since then.  So good.  And perfect for not wanting to cook in 100 degree weather.  And yes, I used my basil … but no, sadly, I had to purchase the cilantro.

Mothers Day – Reality vs. Fantasy

So … You all know what I was expecting to happen on Mother’s Day.  And believe me, my expectations were low – and I don’t mean that in a negative way, I  mean that I had managed my own expectations.  I kept them in check & I didn’t think they were unreasonable.  Looking back, I realize that what I was expecting was a fantasy Mother’s Day, albeit a fantasy that was seemingly within reach.  And the fact that The Husband had a beautiful bouquet of flowers delivered to me on Friday was a sure sign that my expectations were right on the mark.  Um, yeah.

In my fantasy, I would wake up to a the smells of breakfast cooking, and in The Boy and The Husband would stroll, (The Boy would be dressed,) breakfast tray carried by The Husband, small gift bag containing a mystery gift, and/or cards carried by The Boy.  They would watch me open them up, telling me what an amazing mother I am, how much they loved me, yada yada yada, and I would nibble lazily on my griddle cakes whilst sipping my coffee …

In reality, I woke up & couldn’t really make out any smells.  I called out that I was awake, but no one answered.  I grabbed my iPhone and texted The Husband that his lovely wife was now awake & ready for some pampering.  Surely I didn’t want to spoil their surprises by getting OUT of bed & coming to find them!

Minutes went by and I could hear The Husband negotiating with The Boy to bring in my cards.  There was bribing and threats.  Then more minutes went by, and the door flung open followed by a very rambunctious Boy, half naked, hair wild, running toward me, waving cards in his hand and screaming.  Too early for screaming unless alcohol was involved, and it wasn’t.

I opened the card from The Boy and he grabbed it away, nearly ripping the card.  I retrieved it and thanked him, kissed him, and we discussed the card at length.  There was a blue dog on the front & The Boy was very impressed with this dog.  I was impressed that he had chosen the card himself.

Then I opened the card from The Husband.  Out fell a lottery ticket that The Boy tried to confiscate!  I seized the ticket and he fought me, in tears, nearly ripping it into pieces!  All I could think was “this is the winning ticket and this kid is going to destroy it and I will never forgive him … and I’ll never be able to afford his college tuition without this winning ticket!!”  It was stressful to say the least.  The Husband was nowhere to be found at this juncture.

Then came the breakfast tray carried by The Husband with room temperature griddle cakes & a bowl of berries.  The bowl was not filled to the brim with berries, rather, it was a like a ration of berries.  As though berries were some very expensive commodity & we could only afford to purchase 3 strawberries a month.  No juice, no coffee.  Syrup and butter on the side.  Question: How are you supposed to spread butter on a nearly cold griddle cake?  It doesn’t melt.  So either you skip the butter altogether, OR you eat a thin layer of butter on top of your chilly griddle cake.  I know, I know, “First World Problems.”  I should praise the effort, and I did.

The husband left me alone with the tray full of food and The Boy while he went to get me some beverages.

During this time, The (wild) Boy was jumping around the bed, trying to crawl under the breakfast tray, wanted to lay on my lap & also stole all of my raspberries!  NOT RELAXING!

I ended up hand-feeding him a griddle cake to avoid getting syrup all over my bed and us.  The Husband made his entrance again with coffee in hand and there was NO WAY I could drink it with this crazy kid flailing about – I nearly spilled twice while trying to get enough of it in my gullet to deal with the situation!  When I asked The Husband if he could remove said child so that I could eat, Husband, (on the verge of a meltdown,) proclaimed that he needed to nap because he had been up for hours.  So I was on my own.

Not that I’m complaining … Ok, maybe I am.

I will spare you the details about needing to make brownies & discovering that we were out of  eggs and The Husband nearly having a stroke because I asked him to run to the store, and all that nonsense.  I will skip right to when we get in the car and head to The Grandparents house for more festivities.  The Husband & I “restarted” the day, kissed, made up and smiled as we drove off for our 90 minute trip to my parents’ house.

I had The Boy all dressed in a cute outfit, hair perfectly gelled and iPad, water, snacks and other accoutrements at the ready for our trip down the 405 on a Mother’s Day Sunday.

Cut to: The Boy eating a PB&J.  Then barfing.  ALL. OVER. THE. @#($&% CAR.  Off the road we pull, strip him down, clean him up, change his clothes, clean up the car seat, put him back in, stop at Del Taco to pee & continue on with our journey.  Ok.  I don’t know about you, but puke was NOT in my Mother’s Day directive!  Thankfully the fact that it was Mother’s Day relieved me from clean-up duty, and when I got to my parent’s house I was greeted with a large glass of Chardonnay.

We then proceeded to have fun, grill ribs, open gifts, hug and kiss and laugh.  Ah, that’s motherhood.  That’s life.

So, in summary,  although Mother’s Day did not go as planned, as expected or  as fantasized, it was all in all a pretty good day. May have gotten off to a rocky start, but at the end of the day, when I looked back over all of it, I smiled, chuckled lightly and thought this was one I would never forget.  All that really matters is having your family around you … and family is imperfect.  Well, at least mine is imperfect.  And I wouldn’t change that for the world.  Because you know what I say: You don’t have to be perfect to be awesome.

GUILTY: Jodi Arias

I didn’t follow the trial of State of Arizona vs Jodi Arias as closely as I followed the trial of Casey Anthony.  The reason was simple: after Casey Anthony was found ‘not guilty’ of murdering her little girl, Caylee Marie Anthony I was sick for days weeks, bitter and baffled at how this monster could get away with murder.  The stench of injustice lingered on longer, and I lost all faith in our joke of a justice system.  I clicked off HLN and vowed to never follow a trial again.

I was pulled in … I was late to the party but immediately fascinated with the case.  Another crazy-ass, narcissist.  Another desperate, obsessed woman who would stop at nothing to get what she wanted & damn anyone who stood in her way.  Another piece of trash pretending to be something she isn’t: sane … and worse, a victim of domestic violence.  Didn’t buy that for a minute.

Watching the Jodi Arias trial brought back all my hatred for Casey & the idiot jurors who let her walk free. It brought back all of my feelings of sorrow for the victim, Caylee, and made me angry again for the new victim, Travis.  I was now jaded, and absolutely sure that the jury in the Jodi Arias trial would find a way to let this narcissistic lunatic slip through the cracks and find freedom.  I was convinced Jodi & Casey would be partying together somewhere, cackling all the while at how stupid we all are, and getting rich from tell-all books filled with lies that brain-dead Americans would scramble to purchase.

Looks like Jodi won’t be partying with Casey anytime soon.  GOOD!   Hooray for justice – thank you for not destroying my faith, people!  You know, Jodi’s big mistake here was trying to look like this mousey, dowdy, homely victim.  Her new brown-cow-with-wispy-bangs look made her come off like one of those crazy moms who drowns her kids in the bathtub.  Jodi should have taken a cue from Casey & played up her prettiness.

If only I could turn back the hands of time and find a way to be on the Casey Anthony jury.  She would hang.  I still hope for her sake she never crosses my path.

Now for Jodi’s sentencing.  Here’s the thing, although I believe in the death penalty, I think that it would be far more torturous for Jodi to be locked in prison for the rest of her days, unable to profit off of any lies that she was planning on turning into a New York Times Bestseller.  Truth is, she’s not really a danger to society.  She’s a danger to people like my younger brother, (he has a terrible habit of dating insane women disguised in lip-liner and hair dye.)

It will be interesting to find out what lies ahead for Jodi.  Thankfully, now I can resume my court watching!  Hats off to the jurors in the case 🙂