Monday, October 31, 2011

I'm A Veterinarian Cuz I Don't Eat Meat

"There's no food in your food."  - Joan Cusack in Say Anything.

"I think this horse has turned..." - O Brother, Where Art Thou?

This post is brought to you by Food, Inc, FoodMatters, The Omnivore's Dilemma, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, several other books/magazines/documentaries, and my own conscience. Any resemblance to your eating habits is entirely coincidental. 

First of all, yes, this will be a slightly serious blog (scramble to get out now if you must, Chicken BobBabyPants) and no, I am not giving up meat and going vegan.  Although if the payoff is to have Shania Twain's rocking abs, then I may reconsider.

But I am going to try to change the way I eat and shop and cook and I need you guys, my little sweetie muckins, to keep me accountable and maybe even join me in my journey.

I don't mind eating meat.  I'm an animal lover as much as the next gal; I have my doggy, Mr. Milo Farts-A-Lot, and I've had horses and chickens and kitty cats, but I'm not hypocritical about killing and butchering and eating Bessie the bovine.  I love all meats really; besides the boring ol' chicken breast I've had goat, bear, bison, alligator, lamb, octopus, and I don't really turn up my nose at anything someone feels like cooking for me.  After all, I don't understand why us white bred (or is it bread? haha!) Americans will snarf down a hamburger or a chicken nugget but make gagging sounds over other animals.  Have you ever looked into a big old cow's brown eyes?  They're stinking adorable.  Chickens are snuggly little fuzzy cuties.  If you can eat that you have no business getting all appalled at munching on some lamb chops.  But that's not my point.  Where was I?  I have no idea.  Right.  


After living the last year in a group home where we ate only meat people gave us or the food bank sold us I have been more diligent than ever to get that @#$#%^ out of our system now.  We were eating frozen chicken that didn't come with labels.  Just huge unmarked fowls from some nameless factory.  Rolls of ground beef (or horse, who the heck knew).  Anyway, it gave me the creeps to eat it but eat it we did.  You put enough Rooster sauce on something and it's gonna be tasty.

Now that we're back to being able to shop the way I want, I still haven't made that leap to buying organic meat.  It's so unbelievably expensive!  No, wait.  It's not.  It's just that compared to the mass produced nastiness you can buy for a couple greenbacks a pound, it's expensive.  But have we really sunk so low, folks, that we would buy steak at the Dollar Tree?  

I'm not kidding.  They had it last week.

After learning that our chicken we buy is soaked in chlorine to get the bacteria to die and the beef is treated with ammonia for the same reason, I'm not sure I want to eat it again.  There's so much feces in our meat that I'd like to quit thinking about it now.  I mean, I'm a mom; I've dealt with poop on epic levels.  But I draw the line at eating it.  You do know that you have to cook meat to certain temperatures not because it's dangerous to eat the meat itself under cooked, but because you need to kill off all that lovely poop so you can eat it and not get sick.

I knew about soybeans and corn and GMOs.  I knew about organic dairy and I've been buying that for years.  I knew about free range chickens and I much prefer handing over my wrinkly dollars bills to a neighbor down the road for eggs.  But I've buried my head in the sand, so to speak, about the meat.

Now I'm not really talking about going vegetarian.  I love a medium rare steak.  I love chicken.  A meal without meat feels incomplete.  But I certainly can't afford to feed it to my family of five seven days a week.

So what Mike and I are proposing to the girls is to be meat free four days a week.  And on the three where we can have it, it'll be the good stuff.  This will be harder for them at lunch because I'm going to stop buying nuggets and fish sticks, which is their lunchtime staple food.  What about lunch meat?  I'm gonna assume that mechanically separated animal parts smooshed back together probably isn't super natural.  Who knows how many different turkeys are smashed into one paper thin slice?  We can't have peanut butter remember, due to G's allergies.  No one cares for the almond stuff.  There may be a lot of grilled cheese sandwiches in the Williams' future.  Ideas, please?

Is it really so bad?  Well, you could ask the workers who work at these plants (only 13 in the nation and they control the whole industry.  Fifty years ago there were thousands.  Isn't that weird?  How powerful are they?) but most are illegal and aren't going to talk to you. 

Sometimes I think that a hundred years from now, scientists are really going to shake their goatee-d heads and mutter about our stupidity.  Why are we questioning the onslaught of cancers and autism and ADD and diabetes and all of these maladies that are so on the rise, it's disgusting?  I can picture them saying as they nibble on a real tomato and not the kind that's been unnaturally ripened with methane gasses, "can't believe our ancestors couldn't figure out they were killing themselves...raising money for cures while they consumed huge quantities of pesticides, bleaches, GMOs, antibiotics...what a bunch of morons..."

Am I overreacting?  What do you think?  Does Tyson deserve our respect as long as their chickens are pumped full of so much food their legs can't support them and they've never seen daylight?  I have a soft spot for sister had a brood as a kid and they all had names.  She also had a chicken hat that she wore in public just to humiliate me but that's another story for another day.

So what do you think?  Should Mike take up hunting?  Is organic milk not enough, should we go to raw?  Can we do this pseudo vegetarianism?  Will I lose weight?  Will I become an annoying person who refuses to eat at other people's houses and has weird restrictions that really make everyone want to smack me?  Will I have to wear patterned tights and put my four year old in a sling and only shop at fair trade markets?  Will I have to brew my own beer and go to story time and march in protests?  Will I start looking at clothing tags next?  I don't look good in patterned tights and Birkenstocks...  Will I start hanging out with the recyclers?  Cuz I stink at recycling and I think they'll vote me off the island eventually.  I have zero desire to own an electric car.  Can a liberal eater still vote Republican?   

Who's with me?

Criminy, I really want a flippin' hamburger now.   Get it?  Flippin' burgers??  HAHAHA!

Friday, October 28, 2011

I have a problem.

My name is Melyssa and I am a thrift store addict.

*hi, melyssa!*

The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem.
I do.
I brake for yard sales.
Some house wives dream of running away with the I Can't Believe it's Not Butter! guy and going to some tropical local where they can sip drinks in coconuts with little umbrellas.
I dream of running away and becoming an American Picker.
I admit I have a disease.
Picker's disease.
Recently I was with Anna (my little picker in training) and we were at Goodwill looking for Halloween costumes. Yes, we dress up, which in some circles requires us to surrender our Christian homeschooling card for a month.  Anyway, I purchased this for Anna, being blinded by the price tag - a mere $3.99! for original art work! of a ballerina! - and I didn't look too closely.
It's certainly one of a kind.
Perhaps less Dega...more Dali?

Dem four legged ballerinas are hard to come by.  She must have had an frightful time getting into a company!  I admire her persistence.  Also, the man with no legs; I can't imagine what he went through trying to find a partner.  No-legs-man with four-legged-girl = match made in ballet heaven.

Either that, or I'm looking at it all wrong and she doesn't have four legs, she only has two legs which evidently both sprout of her right hip (youch) and the man is only a man from the torso up.  He's like a centaur except instead of stately horse legs he got saddled with lady gams with bad turn-out and no ability to point.

So, it may not have been the purchase of the year.  But it has character, by golly! I sorta want to see more from this artist.  A three armed gymnast perhaps?  A two headed figure skater?  Let us have a moment of silence for extra limbed performing artists out there.  We appreciate you.  We really do.  Although we're not sure where you go to buy tights.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Birthday Cake

This week it's Birthday Week here at my house.  The two men in my life, my two main squeezes, the two guys who really float my boat, have turned 4 and not-4, respectively.

So, as I am forced to play Monopoly Deal for the eleventy-seventh time today, I am typing one handedly a recipe for you.  You, my little sweets.  Here you go:

Chocolate Fudge Cake with Edible Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Instead-of-Frosting Frosting

Mix in bowl:

1 2/3 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cocoa (baking, not instant hot chocolate, silly pickle)
1 1/2 teaspoons soda (baking, not ginger ale, dingaling)
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk (or milk with a splash of lemon juice in it to make it lumpy and nasty)
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Ask your four year old to turn on the mixer.  Tell him to turn it on ONE.  He will turn it immediately on the highest setting.  Change your clothes and comb cocoa powder out of your hair.  Have the dog lick up the batter that splatters on the floor.  Threaten small child.  When mixed, bake at 350 40 minutes, or if your oven is like my oven and likes to compete in the Indy 500 of ovens, 30 minutes.


Spread with:

 Edible Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough:

Cream together 2 sticks of butter with 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup brown sugar
Add 1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon each soda and salt
2 1/2 cups flour
2 cups chocolate chips

I personally think cookie dough is kinda foul, but most people find it a guilty pleasure.  I find a large bar of Lindt Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt in my purse more of a guilty pleasure, or sipping a glass of Merlot while watching  Parenthood on my DVR a guilty pleasure, but to each his own.  Needless to say, a cake spread with cookie dough will make your little kids eyeballs pop out with delight.  Stick a candle on it and you're done.

Happy birthday, my little crumb cakes!

This recipe was linked up at which is a very sweet little website.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Pumpkins, tangerines, and other fruits

A freshly, brand spankin' new, four year old.

Punkin' patchin' with my punkins.

I would have enjoyed said punkin' patchin' more had my hair not been in the midst of a dying disaster.  My poor follicles have really taken a beating this week and I'm so overloaded with chemicals now that I'm surprised I have enough brain cells left to blog.  They have seeped through my very scalp, leaving me incapable of remembering my address, my middle name, and lines from The Princess Bride, all things I used to be able to bring to the forefront of my mind at a moment's notice.

Anybody want a peanut?

So, you'd think I'd have learned my lesson but I will most likely repeat my DIY hair color in a mere couple of months from now, seeing as how my hair is a peculiar shade of rusty...orangey...browny...but I love this peculiar shade seeing as how it is not black.  Black is what happened when I went to Sally and requested medium brown.

I like black.

It's slimming.

Goes with everything.

It's easy to accessorize.

It's timeless.

But not on my head.

People will argue with me and tell me I already have black hair. No, no, no.  When I truly DO have black hair you would see the difference.  When I have black hair, I look like Elvira.

When I try to remove the Elvira-ness, I end up with tangerine.

Which causes my husband, in an attempt to be sweet - either that or in an attempt to cover up his hysterical laughter at his wife's pumpkin head - tells me that Milla Jovovich in The Fifth Element is quite attractive.

Too bad Milla is eight feet tall, has an accent, and looks fabulous wrapped in mummy wrappings.  Other than that, yeah, I can see the resemblance.

In the middle - right smack in the middle! - of my hair disaster was our pumpkin patch field trip with our new group of homeschoolers.  A new group I'm trying to impress with my whole life in the attempts to make a friend.  When I'm not frightening them with my Morticia hairdo, I'm emotionally vomiting on them about how I got myself terminated from a childcare position.  I think I may have to find a new group.

Anyway.  Don't come to me for hair color advice.  I'm learning to love my chocolate covered tangerine locks and also beans and rice, which is all we'll be eating for the next month due to my $7.99 Sally Beauty Supply purchase becoming a $40 spree.  Sometimes being frugal stinks.  

In other news, I have a four year old.  Help.  Actually if you ask him, he'll say he's almost six.  Whatever, Grover.  Time to put him in a pickle jar.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Oh Lordy!

So, I'm going to attempt to write about something serious, which you know I rarely do.  Sometimes it just annoys people because they come here for life shattering news about Sharpies and paper towels, and other times I don't want to (write about something serious) because 1.) I think I won't do it justice or 2.) I don't want people to disagree with me about things that are important.  After all, we can disagree about Bounty vs. Brawny and I won't get butterflies in my stomach.  Sometimes I do touch on touchy things, like homeschooling or natural childbirth, but I try - really, I do! - to not be TOO judgemental and to assure you all (all three of you loyal readers) that I love you no matter your own personal creeds on such matters.  And I really do. 

Something I don't really ever write about is Christianity.  Most of you know where I stand since I do attend church regularly, talk it about occasionally, worked for a Baptist mission (though I use that term loosely now), and my children may or may not have tried to convert you in the past. 

I have a lot of friends and family members who don't subscribe to the Christian faith.  In fact, they can be downright hostile to it.  In my efforts to keep these relationships, I steer clear of anything that might be construed as judgemental.  Because that's a hot button trigger right there.  "Don't judge me."  I hear that all the time.  And I don't, and I won't.  But that doesn't mean I won't, at least once in a while, put it out there in the hopes that you might stop being defensive and just think about God. 

I realize some of you just got so turned off, you've already flipped your computers off.  That's okay I guess.  I get annoyed with people's view points who I find erroneous or unresearched.  So, I get it.  But I do try to read your strange emails, call to arms Facebook posts, anti-Christian propaganda, so if you do the same for me, I appreciate it.  After all, I want to know and understand what it is you're thinking.  Why are you so defensive and judgemental of religion?  Did you have a bad experience?  Do you hate what you think it stands for?  Why do you think we're (religious people) so ignorant and uneducated? 

You must have read the bible quite a few times to be so knowledgeable off what it says, right?  Oh.  You haven't?  Maybe you have flipped through it once or twice, but it seems confusing, or more likely, you are going by what someone who you respect has told you.  I heard it's really anti-women.  I was told it's full of contradictions.  It has nothing to do with my life.  Wasn't it just written by a bunch of guys; who cares what they have to say?  I wouldn't even know where to start.  It's not relevant.  It's all about killing homosexuals and not having sex till you're married and how you have to be depressed and grumpy and joyless all the time in order to go to heaven.  Oh, and don't forget how it's about how you can never have fun again!

Does this sound like you or someone you know?  How about this reason for rejecting Christ:

I've led such a horrible life and done such horrible things that if I so much as walked into a church building, God would smite it with lightening.

This one always makes me laugh because it's INCREDIBLY obvious at this point, this person has never cracked the spine of a bible.  Look at the heroes of the faith:  David was one of God's favorite people, yet he was an adulterous murderer.  We're talking super diabolical at times.  He was an emotional wreck who enjoyed writing gloomy poetry, struggled with depression, and had a pesky problem with murdering people who irritated him.  Moses was a bit of a whiner and was not the most courageous guy you'll meet.  Paul was a HUGE critic of Christians, to the point of personally putting them to death when he got the chance.  Peter was a big ol' liar.  No one in the bible was anywhere near perfect besides Jesus, and no one since has ever been perfect.  You have not committed a single new sin.  God has seen them all, and He saw yours. 

If I'm wrong and all there is to this life is being nice sometimes, recycling, trying not to yell at your kids, balancing your budget, voting, eating organic local food, paying taxes, and occupying Wallstreet, then I guess you can indulgently roll your eyes at me and relish in your rightness.  But if YOU'RE wrong, then you have a bigger problem.

What if we didn't come out of some cosmic soup?  What if the big bang theory is just that, a theory?  Not to mention the theory of evolution.  Theories.  There used to be a theory that the earth was flat.  What if we're not as smart as you think we are?  What if we aren't any different than any other generation; full of idiotic ideas and wrong suppositions?  What if you're wrong?  I mean, I can hardly get my checking account to balance correctly, I certainly am not prideful and arrogant enough to say I know definitively how the earth began.  Maybe you've had more education, maybe you can spin words with intelligence and witty remarks until your listeners are blue in the face, maybe you have a PHD, but can you seriously say you have all the answers?  In God's words in Job when He really gets his sarcastic on, He says "Who is this who obscures My counsel with ignorant words? Get ready to answer Me like a man when I question you. Where were you when I established the earth? Tell Me, if you have so much understanding. Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him? Let he who argues with God give an answer."  Then Job answers, "I am insignificant.  How can I answer You?  I place my hand over my mouth.  Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know."

Is what turns you off of religion the hard parts?  You know, those parts in the bible that you'd like to take your black highlighter to?  Yeah, the women being meek part...the life begins at conception part...the we're all sinners and fall short of the glory of God part...the don't get a divorce part...the I can't do this on my own part...the bad things happen to good people part.  I don't like that last one either.  I don't like not knowing my future here on earth, but I do like knowing where my real future is.  What happens here doesn't matter.  Not so much.  Ask a Christian mom who has lost her children.  What keeps her going?  You can call it ignorance and not dealing with reality, but she's had more reality than you'll ever want to have.  She's hit her knees harder than you ever will.  Yet, she gets up and lifts her eyes towards heaven because she has learned true faith and real hope. 

Or maybe what turns you off is the hypocrites.  Yeah, I don't like them either.  Sometimes I can be one though.  If the Christians you know are high and mighty and holier than thou and look down their noses at you, then those may not BE Christians.  But don't jump to the conclusion that because of one or two or even a whole church of "Christians" you know are rotten, that this whole religion thing is worthless.  True Christians will cheerfully admit they're more rotten than you.

Christians all over the world are being persecuted for their faith, some to the point of death.  Faith is real and active.  Not all Christianity is loosey goosey, come as you are, let's all love one another as long as it's easy and as long as you think like I do, go to church on Sundays and beat your wives on Mondays, weak, meek and turn the other cheek, God will drop a new car from the sky if you pray hard enough, Christianity.  Some people's faith would make you cry, if you took the time to hear about it.  Some people's stories would leave you speechless, if you listened to them. 

So, that's all. I hope I don't lose friends. I hope I have the guts to publish this.  I hope you read it all and aren't rolling your eyes at the end.  I hope you at least consider what you think you know.  I hope you come back.  I hope you comment if you understand and comment if you don't agree, but at least sorta get what I'm trying to say.  At least appreciate and respect a view that you think is weird and judgemental and faintly creepy.  At least stop and think and find out for yourself.  Don't just pretend you know if you've never really searched it out.  It's really the only way to discover what YOU really believe in and be able to stand on it.  And if you DO research and search and talk and read and STILL come to conclusion that it's all religious propaganda, then that's alright too. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

It's the name of a musical

So my blogging window is limited because we're totally stealing internet access from our neighbor's because the router we bought was bad.  We only get a sliver of a half of a fraction of a percentage of a bar and only if I place myself precariously on the side of my craigslist mattress which folds in the middle like a cheese sandwich, and aim the computer towards the window.  I don't think our neighbors would mind because they are listening to country music as they work in their yard and anyone who listens to country music are good people.  I know this. Anyway, I have to blog fast before the sliver of a half of a fraction of a percentage of a bar becomes nil and void and poof! vanishes into a world wide web graveyard from which no one ever returns.  Dead zones follow me.  It's weird.  I'm like those people who can't wear watches because they're magnetized or some such thing.  Luckily, good ol' blogger saves what I'm writing every few minutes.  They're good people too.  Except when it comes to allowing people to leave comments and then they twirl their handlebar mustaches and tie those comments to the railroad tracks where I never get to see them again.

I've been a little obsessed with hair lately.  Not the stuff on my head, which is just irritating beyond belief and going gray at the speed of light, but the other stuff.  I bought a new razor, spurring my budget conscience obsessed husband to say sweetly,

Hey, honey, could you quit spending like a drunken sailor?
I almost felt guilty for my shiny new green razor all perched pretty like on my shower wall, but only almost.  It had been almost six months since I had a new one and I might as well have been shaving with construction paper for three months of that time.

May I remind you that I am a pale-ish white person with nearly black hair?  I am not one of these lucky duck blonde girls who only have to shave bi-annually: we're talking daily in the summer and even then I sport a five o'clock shadow on my ankles by dinner time.

I know, I know.  This is really more than you want to know about me.  Be quiet.  I'm sharing my soul here.

So I refused to feel guilty about my splurge and I even didn't care about the cut on my shin bone that almost made me bleed to death.  It was the sign of a freakin' good razor!

But sadly, the whole purchase came back to bite me in the tushie.  Late last night a huge, we're talking ginormous, crash rocked through our sleeping house.  I tend to suffer from what is called Emergency Situation Tourettes Syndrome which basically means I cannot be held responsible for what I say when confronted with ginormous crashes in the middle of the night,  loss of blood,  scary movies, or scary movie previews.  I also suffer from Pregnancy Tourettes,  which means I can't be held responsible for what I say when confronted with smells, bad drivers, empty cupboards, or toilet paper commercials.  But I don't have that malady currently, so no worries.

Great.  Now I want a baby.

But back to hair.  The crash from my bathroom made me jump to the logical conclusion that mutant alien zombies were coming through the window.  But it was only the new razor falling off the shower wall where it was SUPPOSED to be hanging nicely from its included-at-no-charge shower wall hangy thing.  I still suspect mutant alien zombies.

Mutant alien zombies with suspiciously smooth legs to boot...

The second hair story that's been on my mind because I recently shared it on Facebook (like good anti-social people do who avoid real relationships but talk freely online) is about when I was pregnant with Gianni, a scant four years ago.  Confession time:  my belly button gets a little fuzzy when gestating humans.

That rustling sound you just heard was the sound of all males leaving their computers in disgust.

Okay, now that it's all women here, let's dish!

I grow a tummy like a cute little fuzzy peach.  Or a kiwi.

So, I get this brilliant idea while eight months pregnant to use this hot wax thing I've had in my bathroom cupboard for like, ages.  This seems super dooper logical to someone whose braincells have recently leaked out their ears and onto the floor.  What?  Your brain cells don't do that when pregnant?  Huh.  Interesting.  Well, anyway, I smear the hot wax all over my sasquatch belly and poor little Gianni, who is swimming around inside, all fishy like and bouncy and practicing his own stunts.  I wait until it hardens.

If you've never waxed. it's a painful procedure, but heck, at least it's fast, right?  All I had ever done at this point was my eyebrows, and that's like, a centipede worth of skin you're messing with, so who cares.  You can do it!  Grit your teeth and it's over in two seconds!

Well, not so much with a giant belly that holds an eight pound sumo wrestler and all the baggage and furniture and supplies said wrestlers carries.  We're talking major real estate.

Needless to say, Pregnancy Tourettes reared its ugly head.

I did finally get all that wax off, but it was not without tears and begging for my life to be spared to the Waxing Gods.

If ever I become with child again, I will embrace my kiwi belly, for it is beautiful and round and furry like a kitten.  And who doesn't love kittens?  Ummm, no one.  Everyone loves kittens.

Now that I think about it, no small wonder poor Gianni was bald.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


You ever have one of those days?
One of those days where:

the coffee tastes especially yummy

the kids get 100% on their math test

you wash the sheets and they smell like Snuggle Blue Sparkle

you sweep and mop the floor

meals are delish and appreciated by everyone

the history lesson with the kids is fun and educational both

work goes well

the bills get paid

an unexpected check arrives in the mail

there's a new stack of library books waiting

the whippersnappers don't argue, not even once

Well?  Isn't that a lovely description of a lovely day?

This was not that day.


I've given myself radiation poisoning from the number of times I've nuked my same cup of coffee

I waited too long to eat breakfast and was riding on a broom by noon

I kept dreaming all night of certain people in Michigan I don't ever want to see again, much less dream of

the kids woke up squabbling with each other

then they repented and got all nice which only makes me feel guilty for being short tempered with them.  I read this interview with I can't remember his name, but he played Sam on Lord of the Rings, and his mom in real life is an actress, I can't remember her name either but she's famous, and he talked about her being manic depressive and when she was nice, she was nice, but they lived in fear of her not being nice and it totally colored his whole entire childhood and adulthood, and I was like, wow, like I didn't have enough pressure to not ruin my kids, now I have to totally watch my mood swings

we went to Walmart which is really a heinous place to go even if your day is going well, and mine was not, not so much, and I saw this mom yelling at her kids who were really not being all that naughty all things considered (although maybe they really were spawns of Lucifer at home before they got to Walmart, who knows) and it was like looking in a mirror except I'm not that mean and I don't smell like cigarettes but still

and my $1 Elf eyeliner didn't transform me into Katie Holmes or Salma Hayek like I thought it might, me being the hopeless optimist that I am

and I have to call and argue with some medical bill people who are trying to send us to collections over a bill that insurance should have paid almost a year ago and I really don't want to because arguing with medical bill people is slightly more fun than say, poking yourself in the eye with a flame thrower, but it has to be done

and my hair is being especially obnoxious and if I had the guts I'd go all Sinead O'Conner but I don't have the voice

THIS has been our day.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Homeschool Blog Awards

You know.

If you were so inclined.

No pressure.

No prizes.

Just warm fuzzies.

And you can't put a price on that.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Paint, Unicorns, and Drowned Ancestors

I own three cameras (not counting my phone) but I can't make any of them work.  One had its batteries fried inside it (they sorta 'sploded), one is brand spanking new but either its a lemon or the only AAA batteries I can find are dead as a doornail, and the other is the camcorder which also takes still pictures but it needs to be charged and I don't which one of our 3354839.34i87 cords and wires and plug in thingies will do the trick.

So, I can't put up photos of our cute house.  But that's okay because most certainly there'd be a two foot high gremlin with his fingers up his nostrils stealing the camera anyway.

I'm not much of a decorator.  Some women (you know who you are) are really amazing at knowing what to buy, what not to buy, where to put it, what colors to use, etc.  I'm not that woman.  And after our little stint as professional parents came to a close, we were forced to realize we don't own anything.  Here's what we had in June:

each other.

boxes of clothes.

boxes of books.

a Kitchen-aid mixer.


That's it.  Not a stick of furniture or a wooden spoon with which to stir the spaghetti sauce which is fine actually, because you can't make spaghetti without a pot.

So, little by little, we've managed to get the bare necessities: a sectional couch that looks like everyone else's brown sectional couch except ours is stuffed with spike balls, a free kitchen table with four chairs (count the people in our family and you may see the problem, but hey, the kids have small tushies and can share), a bunk bed, a mattress set, some Goodwill dishes, and an embarrassing number of pizza cutters and ice cream scoops.  Why?  I don't know.  Evidently every time I was in a thrift shop the past three months, I had a panic attack that we would someday have pizza and/or ice cream and have nothing with which to slice/scoop.  So, if the world indeed ends in 2012 like John Cusack said it would, I will at least have my pizza cutters and ice cream scoops.  Cuz there might be zombies or something.  I don't know if there will be, but it's only logical.  I can slice em up and then scoop out their brains.

Anyway, I was supposed to be walking you through our house.  So, back to the decorating.  The only successful thing I've done with decorating is my collection of black and white photos.  It's our Family Wall and it's come with us no matter where we've gone.  I think that sentence is grammatically WRONG, but you get my drift.  Everyone is our relative, some we knew personally, some are much too far gone for us to have known.  One is of Mike's aunt who is standing in front of the projects of NY city where she grew up: a pretty Italian girl with her black hair blowing in the breeze and wearing gloves and a scarf that look fashionable now but were probably all she owned to keep the cold out.  Another favorite is my great, great, great Grandma (totally guessing the number of greats there) Loretta, who rumor has it, died after being baptized in the Columbia River in 1877.  I'd love to know if this family legend has any truth to it and Cora and I plan on doing some genealogy this school year.  Also on the wall: my dad as a chubby toddler, both of my grandpas in their military uniforms, my grandpa as a baby in the arms of his mom who looked like a totally rockin' '20s flapper, my mom and my mom-in-law as curly haired little girls, and plenty of my own kids in black and white. 

We also bought: a hutch that doubles as a tv stand for our wee little tv, and several dressers.  You remember the craigslist dresser, right?  So, being me, I of course had to take as many shortcuts as possible with this thing, in terms of making it presentable.  It is beautiful wood with scalloped edges and just lovely, but some dingbat had painted it diarrhea brown.  No problem, says I, we'll buy the cheapest white paint on the market and that'll be that.  Well, I thought I bought the "paint and primer in one" deal, but I did not, and the diarrhea turned the weirdest shade of pepto bismol pink.  A second coat did not solve this predicament. I was in a pickle.  Also, I was out of paint.  Also, I was in trouble with my mother in law for getting paint on her patio.  That reminds me, if you're reading this, honey, will you go over to your Mom's and clean that up?  Thanks, love muffin!  Anyway, at this point I was really getting annoyed with myself and had to go buy primer.  Then I had to go buy more paint.  Then I was really high on fumes and started painting unicorns and sunbeams everywhere.  Eventually I got my dresser white.  Even though it was for Anna and she was mad that I covered up the pepto pink.  Ungrateful pixie! 

So when you're me, this is how you buy a used dresser:

1.  Risk your life and almost get chopped into pieces by craigslist sellers in remote locations.  Spend $30.

2.  Paint with cheapest paint possible. I bought a small can because I actually had two dressers to paint: $10.  The other one had to be painted because it was owned by smokers.  Smokers who evidently crawled inside their dresser to do their smoking.

3.  Go back to Lowes.

4.  Buy primer. $5.

5.  Whine a little.

6.  Enjoy the fumes.  Hum a little Doors.

7.  Go back to Lowes.  $5.

8.  Finish with spray paint.

Bask in the glory that is your $30 $50 dresser.  Easy as pie!  Except I may or may not have killed a couple brain cells.  Pretty sure I wasn't using them anyway, so no loss.

Also, when you're me you don't own a pie pan and your kids clamor for chicken pot pie and so you make it in a large skillet.  And it looks totally fabulous, like something on the cover of Martha Stewart magazine, and they snarf it all up before you can take a picture.  Which you can't do anyway because of all those cameras you can't figure out.  But it was pretty.  And it was good.  And so was my homemade pumpkin spice coffee creamer.  Also, no photo.

The end.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Interview with Shari

  • I met Shari a few years ago when we first bought our house.  I have this crazy spouse who is super friendly.  He's one of these dying breeds who think neighbors should know each other.  Like, first and last names!  Like, may I borrow a cup of sugar or have your kidney? kind of know each other!  He's just nutty like that.  I'm not so friendly, but I adore this trait in him.  He pushes me to have friends.  Some of my very best friends are because he forced me to quit being a loner.  So, when we moved in and Shari moved in behind us, we shared this funky driveway.  This driveway is one of the reasons we couldn't sell our house later, but I always liked the goofiness of it.  Anyway, I was perfectly content to just wave occasionally to New Neighbor and call it good but Mr Friendly said nope, let's take over a bottle of wine and welcome her to the neighborhood and be FRIENDS. Gasp.  Can't we just smile when we drive by each other and return each other's mail when it's delivered to the wrong address like lots of other neighbors? I pleaded.  No?  So we went over.  And knocked.  And introduced ourselves.  I think at first she thought we were a little weird.  Or maybe selling something.  I knew she was a single mom already just from not having seen a man around; just her and her three teenagers.  I assumed she was divorced like every other single mom I knew.  Turns out she had just lost her husband a couple months earlier to cancer.  Her kids were super cute.  We babysat their hermit crabs.  Her teenage son chased down our dog, who had delusions of being a greyhound, at least a couple times a month.  Her girls babysat my girls. We gabbed in the hot tub after long days at work and raising kids.  And we became friends.  So here she is - one of the most inspiring people I know:

    1. Introduce us to your family please!
    My name is Shari , I am wife to Jason Coltharp and mother to 3 wonderful grown children, Kyle,22, Katie, 20, and Tessa,17. I am also a new Grandma to a beautiful 4 month old, Laycee.
    2. You're a new gramma, can you put into words what that feels like? How is being a mom different than being a gramma?
    Being a Grandma leaves me speechless :) I love it!! I love that I can spoil her and then give her back.
    3. You lost your husband to cancer a few years ago. Did you ever feel like in those dark days that you could find love again?
    I lost my husband of 11 years in 2004 and I truly never did think I would find another man who would love me as wholey as he did. For 5 years I cried but then God brought an old friend back into my life
    4. Introduce us to your new husband!
    Jason and I worked together 17 years ago and back then he was just a kid I could talk to . Little did I know he thought of me a lot more than just a friend. He has been wonderful at being patient with me in a way I can't even be patient with myself. It is so nice to be able to share of myself and once again be loved
    5. What's something - as a mom with grown and almost grown kids - you would tell a young mom?
    If I had to give a young mother advice it would be to be true to what you know you are capable of and love yourself first so that your children can see and feel what love really is.
    6. If you could go back 20 years and meet yourself, what would you tell her?
    If I went back 20 years to give myself advice I would tell me to have faith. It took me til I was 35 to have it.
    7. You're stranded on a desert island: what book, movie, person, food, would you take?
    If I were stranded on an island I would have to figure out a way to have peanut butter and chocolate,A lifetime supply of red wine, as far as a book or movie I think I would replace the 2 and take a journal :)The only person I would like with me would be God. He could keep me sane better than anyone I know.
    8. Favorite tv show?
     I think for my favorite show I would have to say CSI.
    9. Biggest pet peeve?
    My biggest pet peeve would have to be people telling others that they can't do something. Everyone can do something and should be aloud to at least try!
    10. Favorite memory as a child?
    My favorite memory as a child would have to be just camping with my dad.
    11. Favorite memory as an adult?
     I am still making memories as an adult but becoming a Grandma on Easter morning was a pretty darn good one for me :)
    12. What inspires you?
    What inspires me??? Everything does. Even the mistakes I make. I am just thankful to wake up in the morning and to face whatever God has in store for me. I may not be perfect but I am perfectly made.

Monday, October 3, 2011


Let's try something new and exciting!

I won't try to talk you into being a follower again.

I know how you feel about Kool-aid.

Never mind that seeing the cute little faces over there piled up and growing gives me a cheap thrill.

But you can skip that part if you're so inclined.

Just scroll down far enough to Subscribe To Posts and sign up for that.

It'll be our little secret.  Actually, I don't think even I will know who does it.  But it will save me from sending out emails which will save me like, two minutes a week.  Two minutes that could be nibbling Lindt Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt.  Two minutes that could be spent showering.  Or unpacking a box.  Or reading a book.  Or writing a book.

So then you'll get an email automatically.  I think.  I subscribe to a couple blogs and that's how I get notified.  And it's ever so nice to have them delivered to your inbox instead of Mrs Petunia Smith who wants to notify you of your African lottery winnings and wants to know where to deposit your millions.  Or Emma Clark who wants to tell you that she was surfing the internet like she always does when she found this amazing way to make a fortune by doing nothing.  Or Mr. Satisfaction who wants to give you a good deal on magic winkie pills.

Also, since Facebook is all funky and weird and annoying, my feed may not post on your page any longer and so Networked Blogs isn't as convenient as it used to be.

Thus the fact that my last several posts have very few, if any comments.  And you know how that makes me feel!

In need of chocolate.

So, doooooooooooooooooo ittttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt.

R.I.P. my jolly old elf

Two days ago came the sudden death of a beloved one in our home.

His death was, as I said, sudden.  
Anna was helping me unpack like the good little slave labor she is.
A few minutes later, she disappeared.
Then, she came back.
Handed me a pile of letters.  Eight years or so of Santa letters.   Unopened.  Suspicious indeed.
Since she had left to go get reinforcements (Cora) I was really up a creek without a paddle.  Or a life jacket.  Or a granola bar.
We had to have The Talk.  Not That Talk.  The Other Talk.
I was sad.
I am still sad.

At least I have Gianni.

Is it wrong to keep having babies just to keep the magic of Santa Claus alive and well in my house?

The girls weren't angry.  Cora actually seemed very nonplussed, but now that she has her own room (Roo and Moose are sharing) she has become very teen-like.  Anna cried a little.  But then I started telling her funny stories about Daddy and I being Santa and how much fun we have and how one year, etc, etc.  Now she's excited to keep it up for the little ones in her life.

Then I stuck my foot farther up my mouth. 

They have never really believed in the Easter Bunny.  I always thought that was a dorky one and I just can't figure out a way not only to make it likable and believable but a way to tie it into Jesus' resurrection.  

So, little kids, after Jesus had been dead for three days, the Easter Bunny rolled away the stone from the tomb!  Jesus climbed on his back and together they hopped through the town leaving chocolate eggs to all the good little boys and girls.  

It doesn't have a good ring to it, never mind that it smacks of sacrilege. 

So, anyhoo, as we were talking of Santa, the subject of the Tooth Fairy came up.  I also think the Tooth Fairy is a bit weird and faintly creepy, but whatever, we've always done it.  Of course I am the world's worst tooth fairy stand-in and the fact that these poor offspring of mine haven't figured out the truth sooner is a miracle since I forget at least 3/4 of the time.  But anyway, Anna said something about the Tooth Fairy and I said something about her not being real of course, but I was so shaken up about the whole Santa thing that I wasn't really thinking straight or listening properly and I THOUGHT we were talking about the Easter Bunny.  Which they already know isn't real.  Not the Tooth Fairy.  Which was what we were really conversing about now.  Which they didn't know wasn't real.

Silence fell as I realized what I had done.

Anna squeaks,
'You mean the Tooth Fairy isn't real EITHER?'

I have to stop blogging now so that I can go buy my traumatized daughters a pony.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Touch of Home

There is something about the first few nights in a new house...  

My favorite sound:

The dishwasher running.  Our new one is evidently made for elves, but no matter.  It purrs like a kitten and I love the sound it makes when the kids go to bed and it's humming in the background.  I really don't know why I love that sound the way I do, it's not even that I hate doing dishes by hand.  I even have a thing for Dawn soap.  I use it whenever I get the chance.  I would totally take a bubble bath in that blue, bubbly stuff.  What is it about a dishwasher though and that sound?  It sounds like security to me.  I know.  Weird.  

My favorite smell:

Popcorn mingling with hot cocoa and stinky kid feet as we all cuddle on the couch together and watch a movie.  I don't even like popcorn or hot cocoa but I do love my kid's stinky feet.

My favorite sight:

Anna's hair all bundled up on the top of her head, Cora's long legs stretched out over way more than her fair share of the couch, and Gianni passed out halfway through Mars Needs Moms, his sticky hands dangling over the side where Milo lays, licking the butter off his fingertips, my hands anchored on his little butt to keep him from falling off, his Buddha belly sticking out from his muscle shirt.

My favorite touch:

My feet on Hubby's lap.

Actually, my feet (one foot, I exaggerate) hurt.  I dropped a rather large picture frame and it stabbed me right on top of my Hobbit foot.  Now I have a crater on it and it hurts like the dickens.  I don't know how I will skip and frolic and chasse and leap and pirouette with dem ballerina babies tomorrow.  I'll have to distract them with fairy wands and flower crowns so they don't mutiny.

My favorite idea:

That we are all together again, all five of us, whole and happy, broke but fed, missing our five boys and Marie, tired but blessed; broken picture frames, sore feet and all.