Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Conservatively Liberal

Election years make my brain shrivel up into yesterday’s raisin. They suck the life out of my normally optimistic mood, and make me want to unplug every social media site, television, phone, and news platforms.
Because I hate politics?
No, not really, though I confess to loving them about as much as I love a slight papercut. That is to say, uncomfortably ignoring them for the most part. There are the issues I care about, and about a million others that make my head swim. But that’s not the reason:

It’s because, like a gawky, awkward pre-teen, I don’t fit in anywhere.

To someone who knows cheerfully that they are Liberal, everything is black and white. 
Too someone who knows happily, that they are Conservative, everything is black and white.

Being a homeschooling, pro-life, Christian, in a heterosexual marriage, I’m much, much too conservative for the liberals.
Being a short skirt wearing, gay friend having, reader of Harry Potter, sipper of wine, I am far too liberal for the conservatives.

Does that make me murky gray?

What’s a girl to do? Bury her head in the sand and refuse to come out? Tempting.
It’s difficult to make friends of any sort when you say something like,
After the baptism tonight, do you want to come over and watch Hells’ Kitchen?
Hey, let’s go to the Dave Ramsay conference and then go wine tasting!
We missed the church prayer vigil cuz we were out trick or treating.

I’m one of the most Goody Good Girls you’ll ever meet (ask anyone), yet I don’t even own a denim jumper. I make my bread from scratch, but I’ve also taken my kids to the Anheiser Busch Factory (that’s Budweiser, yes. The beer. Not butter beer, but there are those who would cry that that would be even worse). I wear sparkly eye shadow and high heels, but I believe in modesty. I love my Jesus, but there are times I hate praying over dinner because of the squirmy shenanigans going on and the fact that my hard work is getting cold (Martha, Martha, Martha…I know). I’m certainly not a Democrat, but I’m also the worst Christian you’ll ever meet. Is that me being humble, self deprecating, or just honest? Yes.

I have straight friends, gay friends, Calvinist friends, Buddhist friends, friends with eleventy-seven children with four more on the way, friends with one child and laser beam eyes that will shoot your way if you ask them how many more they want, friends who go to church four times a week, and friends who wouldn’t be caught dead in a church (or that’s the only time they’ll be in there!) Friends who would pray for my soul if they saw me in the beer aisle at the super market, and friends who consider me a light-weight because I draw the line at two. Friends who would never consider even celebrating Christmas, much less teach their kids that there is a Santa Claus, and friends who will only accept “Happy holidays,” instead of “Merry Christmas.”

Am I well rounded? Do I have such eclectic friends because I am non-judgmental, or because I am luke warm in my convictions? I honestly don’t know. I know my liberal friends don’t feel judged by me, because they’ve told me so. But have I watered down the scriptures in pursuit of friendships? Jesus told us to eat with tax collectors, the first century equivalent of lawyers. What to do? Crap, I don’t even know any lawyers.

I love my friends. They’re the greatest group of weirdos you’ll ever meet. But they make me sad sometimes, because while they’re yelling about someone hating them, they’re doing the same thing to my other friend. And even if they don’t know that person personally – well, wait. That’s the problem, isn’t it? Can’t we all just sit down at a Chik-Fil-A and have a book group about 50 Shades of Gray? Hahahaha: 50 Shades of Gray in a Chik-Fil-A. I slay myself.

But seriously, while you feel certain in your convictions, whatever they may be, slamming one of my friends isn’t okay. Because they disagree with you, doesn’t make them a hater. We all suck at love, anyway, don’t we? Who has cornered the market on that? The atheists? The Christians? The muslims? The homeschoolers? I repeat, we all suck at it. That frumpy mom you roll your eyes at for being so religious and close minded; she’s been on a journey you’ll never know about. That lesbian who has just come out of the closet; she was one of my only friends at a time when the religious were too busy for me. That teenager with a mouth like a sailor and no respect; given what he’s had modeled for him, it’s amazing he came out sane at all. That woman who’s been divorced twice; she already feels like a loser without you pointing it out. That mom with the autistic daughter; she doesn’t need your spanking methods. That man with the gay son; he doesn’t want your chicken sandwich shoved in his face.

Does this make me weak, meek, turn the other cheek, we’re okay, you’re okay, all we need is love, hold hands and share a Coca Cola and hum a Michael Jackson song? No way. I think everyone needs conviction and passion and should never stop learning. And do I think we all find our own way to God? Not really, no. Being a Christian I can’t say that and still be a Christian.

I’ve done the legalistic approach, where your spirituality is determined by the length of your hair and your skirt. And I’ve done the “God is in the trees” route, so “don’t you dare tell me what to do,” too. I am fiercely pro-life, but I don’t march in parades. I love my gay friends, but I haven’t been invited to any of their weddings, either. When I go to the library, I might leave with a devotional book and Twilight.

So, what am I, in this election year?

Mostly –

confused. And my nose is full of sand. Could someone smuggle me a People magazine and a glass of vino, please? 

What about you? Black, white, murky gray? Are elections easy for you? Seen anything in your friends that make you sad recently? Talk to me, Goose.

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Nutty Bird

When I was a pre-teen, my grandparents on my mummy's side, Rod and Joyce (you can seem him on this post ) owned a frozen yogurt and sandwich shop in Pendleton, Oregon. 

My sister and I worked there one summer (or two, I don't remember, but my grandparents were gypsies and never stayed in place for longer than a year, so I doubt they owned it that long). I have a couple funny memories of that place, the first being that Pendleton has a large Native American population and one gentleman in particular used to come in frequently. He always wanted the chili and he would walk in, cross his arms, and bellow,

"CHILI BEAN!" in this terrifying, deep voice.

Not "chili beans," in the plural form, just 


He was the largest man I had ever seen, and though he didn't dress in native garb completely (I seem to remember a cowboy hat, wranglers, and a more authentic looking Indian type jacket), he was very unmistakably Native American, and let me tell you, rather frightening.

He also would let out a massive fart before he left.
Also, rather frightening.

Anyway, my other fondest memory was of a sandwich they invented.

It was called The Nutty Bird.

Ruebens? Love 'em.
Turkey, cream cheese and cranberry? Delish.
Ham and swiss? Tasty.
Subway Italian Trio with all the veg, hold the cheese, extra banana peppers and salt and pepper? Yum.
But The Nutty Bird? The one and only? Divine. Heaven in a pita. Yes, ma'am.

Make one. 
You'll thank me later.

The Nutty Bird

Layer in one pita:
sliced turkey
cream cheese
sprouts! (Sprouts are underutilized and deserve an exclamation point). Also, you can have the kids grow them in a mason jar and call it skool.

Drizzle with Thousand Island dressing, your favorite brand or homemade.

Sprinkle with sunflower seeds. Lots of 'em.


Along with the scent of Jafra cosmetics, this is a favorite Gramma Joyce legacy. 

Homemade Thousand Island

3/4 cup mayo, or half mayo and half sour cream
1/4 cup chili sauce or ketchup
1 tablespoon dill relish (use sweet if you want, just don't ever come back here. We are no longer friends)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
salt and freshly ground pepper

Friday, August 24, 2012

A Dapper Boy Have I

So the man cub has morphed from Dirty Goat Boy into a dapper, jaunty little gentleman lately. This is because his daddy squirted him with cologne a couple weeks ago, before church, and told him,

"All the girls will find you irresistible now. They won't be able to stop kissing and hugging you."

You'd think, wouldn't you, that he would have found this gross, since he is 4, not 14, but nope. A sparkle came into his brown eyes the likes of which I'd never seen. 

He sidled up to me, right under my nose. When I stared blankly at him, he waggled his eyebrows suggestively.

And Daddy was right! I couldn't stop kissing and hugging him. 

The problem now is two fold:

1. He won't stop applying it. It's a little much for a wee boy. You can smell him coming a mile away. I keep hiding it. He keeps finding it. And the eyebrow waggling begins anew and with endless passion.

2. I used to be attracted to it. Because my man wore it. On special occasions. You know? For kissing and hugging? And now it smells like my son. I'm confused.

And lest you worry about him becoming a dandy, a pansy, a well coiffed boy with a European shoulder bag... Don't fret. He still won't bathe.

Which makes the cologne even harder to swallow.
Because now it's Mountain Breeze mixed with chickens mixed with dirt mixed with graham cracker mixed with Ranch dressing.

A dandy he is not. Dapper, he is. A dapper rake.
Women, hold back your daughters. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Doing it differently

My apologies if this is copyrighted - I couldn't find out for sure. Originally from the Official Book of Homeschooling Cartoons, by Todd Wilson.

Things I plan to do differently this school year:

1. Not force anyone to eat breakfast. Namely, Anna. The other two eat the second they get up, sometimes earlier. I always have this inner voice in my head that tells me if my kids don't have a nutritious breakfast, or at the very least, a bowl of sugar frosted cocoa bombs, then they will not be able to concentrate, fail at school, never graduate, marry a thug, and go to prison.

But fighting over breakfast is not a good way to start the day.

Maybe I'll set out a bowl of grapes, or a bag of pretzels, and if she's hungry over her science lesson, she can munch.

After all, no one knows our own bodies like ourselves. And if she really hates food in the morning, I think I'm just gonna let her hate.

2. Get up earlier and wake the kids earlier. I hate this one, because I really like getting up when I want to, and letting the kids sleep as long as possible. After all, that and the pajamas, are the main reasons we homeschool! My kids are not good morning people, but you know what? They are worse late morning people.

Plus, they go to bed earlier, which you gotta know...can just be nice. Not that I don't love the little gremlins.

“There was never a child so lovely but his mother was glad to get him to sleep.”

― Ralph Waldo Emerson

3. Grammar and vocabulary and spelling.

Yeah, we mostly skipped those last year. Don't judge.

4. Tightening up on Anna's schooling (not trusting her to be more independent than she naturally can be) and continuing to loosen up on Cora's. What does this mean, practically? Sitting nearby and NOT doing eleventy-seven other things while Anna struggles with math, and allowing Cora to spend afternoons at the library alone if she wishes.

5. Doing a lot more field trips and meeting more potential friends. Especially for Cora, who finds it hard to find a Bestie. We joined a whole new group this year and are looking forward to getting involved. Last year, I had about as much interest in being involved in anything, as I do in nuclear physics. That is to say, zero.

6. Remembering that while I don't enjoy teaching school, I do enjoy my kids. While Pre-Algebra might not make sunbeams shoot out from anyone's head, unicorns prance by, violins play, or rainbows emerge over the kitchen table, I don't have to come to school kicking and screaming harder than the students. It's bad for morale.

What are you doing differently this year?

Monday, August 6, 2012

Health Plan Promise!

Yesterday, I went running. I had been realizing for quite some time, that I am not the svelte, thin, non-jiggly woman I once was. My body hurts all the time anyway, from too much ballet and too many births, so I figured, maybe I should be sore for a reason. You know? Like from working out.

I convinced Mike to go with me, and part of the reason was for him. He had gone twice with Cora this week and I didn't want him to ruin his streak. So, despite the fact that it was a mere 94 degrees, I strapped on my sports bra and tennies and off we went!

It was so great. I could literally FEEL the fat melting off me. I totally found my rhythm and I could sense that I was getting stronger. Runners say you just have to hit your stride and there I was! The way there was pretty tough, but by the time we turned around, I was really pounding the pavement and my heart was singing its new health song. I could even envision the future:

Me, in nothing but a sports top and short shorts. I'd be tan and toned and even the eighteen year olds would look at me with envy! Mike would be fit and buff, and we'd be the motivation of middle aged frumps everywhere! We'd be ADDICTED to this running stuff, like all those other ADDICTED runners we know!


No, really. It sucked. I never want to do it again. My shins were splintering into a thousand pieces, my face was egg plant colored, I had sweat running down the twins, my toes felt like they'd been hit repeatedly with a hammer, and I had an instant migraine the likes of which I'd never had since New Years Eve 1999 when I was pregnant with Cora and thought I was going to die from the disco lights in my head.

Those feelings cannot possibly be good for my health and I quit.

If you ever see me running again, it is because someone is chasing me with a bloody cleaver and you should intervene.

I remain,

your chubby friend,


Sunday, August 5, 2012

Notes to Weird Mothers

Mothers are weird. Not just I-have-barf-on-my-shirt-and-I-don't-care weird, but weird in other ways.

Ways like:

Sacrifice. I don't mean I'm giving up my glamorous day job as a model to stay home and check the newly potty trained toddler's briefs for racing stripes, if you know what I mean, but sacrifice as in, everything I do revolves/involves/is for my kids. Everything I do. That's right. And there's no Bryan Addams or Kevin Costner in tights either. Just me. Even the coffee I drink is for them. For their safety and well being. We sacrifice and dedicate and breathe for them.

And we like it.

Don't you find that weird?

I LIKE working an extra shift so I can buy snow cones at the corner snow cone hut once a week. (Yes, this kind of crazy spending involves strategic planning. Maybe you have jiggle room in your budget for snow cones, Nikes, or paying the utility bill. I do not).

I LIKE not buying myself a gym membership to whip my sorry patooty into shape so that I can afford swim lessons for the little tyke. I'm just going to name my muffin top, Gloria, and learn to love her, for she is squishy and quite dependable, even if she doesn't look good in mid-rise jeans anymore.

I LIKE using Suave shampoo instead of salon brands so that I can afford the organic milk, with which they will use on their organic cereal, leave on the table, and end up washing it down the sink anyway. That milk.

I LIKE spending my only day off sitting in the scorching heat while my pre-teen swims at a meet/middler has a dance recital/toddler takes over the playground.

I LIKE driving the minivan I said I'd never drive back in 2005 because it has room for my kids, plus their rowdy friends, instead of the Jeep Wrangler I only lust after slightly.

I LIKE learning new ways to hide the squash/zucchini/sweet potatoes in the nightly goulash.

I LIKE eating everybody else's leftover crusts of bread and calling it my breakfast.

I LIKE playing Star Wars Go-Fish twenty times a day and letting him win only sometimes.

I LIKE the sound of Spongebob Square Pants in the background while I cook dinner. For Sponge Bob is light hearted and makes me smile in spite of myself.

I LIKE pickles and cheese for lunch because there's only enough lunch meat left for one sandwich and someone will probably graciously save me the crusts anyway.

I LIKE knowing that someday my house will be clean and white and spotless, but also quiet and boring, and at the same time, hopefully not too miles away, my grandkids will be pooping and shouting and barfing and throwing fits in the craft aisle. I LIKE knowing that at those moments, my kids will be thinking, "I love my mom - how did she DO this? I'm going nuts!" and I will send them silent prayers of support and understanding, while I eat croissants and chocolate.

I LIKE that while my days are long and sometimes the same over and over, like Groundhog Day, but without the humor sometimes, the years are long and these child raising times are like childhood: gone all too quickly, never to come back.

So while I can, I sacrifice a little, Gloria and I. All too soon, we'll be alone and have plenty of time to go to the gym, eat a whole sandwich, and plate the zucchini lovingly on a crystal platter instead of hiding it in the creamy chicken casserole.

Until then, I'll just be weird.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Whenever I see Bela Karolyi

....I think of Benny Hill, the toy maker from Vulgaria


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Getting Down With Your Crafty Self

Every once in a while, I get down with my crafty, bad self (bad being the key word). I used to be quite crafty...before I had tiny human beings who sucked away my creativity along with most of my brain cells.

I could draw, I could paint, I could sketch, I could sew. I could also put my legs behind my head, so I guess most of my talents are kapoot.

Now I'm lucky if I don't super glue my fingers together or sew all my arm holes closed. I made Milo a dog bed the other day and I was so distracted by the three ring circus around me, I put the buttons on the wrong side. No way was I gonna rip em off and start over because I have the Universe's Smallest Needles and I didn't want to thread them again. Besides, it's not as if he has thumbs with which to button.

Lick thread...squint...poke...miss...trim thread...drop needle...lick thread...squint...draw blood...lose button...

But if it's super easy, we're talking mega simple, and CHEAP, I just may get out the ol' hot glue gun, and go nuts.

Did I mention cheap? I heart cheap. You're talking to a person who literally has a shoelace in her hair as a headband at this moment. This is how cheap I am today:

I needed a scrap of lace and surprisingly, had none. Not the teensiest bit. Not a smidge. Not even a tad bit of lace ribbon. I had seen something on pinterest with a empty picture frame (of which I have several that languish sadly in my cupboard because my hubby called them creepy hanging on the wall). Behind the picture frame is either ribbons of lace, or just lace. This lace is perfect for earrings. I used a mixture of nails and fabric glue to stick it into place. I also may or may not have glued my fingers together.

I also needed something for my necklace collection. I took the largest frame and hammered in a bunch of nails. This looked terrible when done, I confess. But once hung on the wall and adorned with necklaces, it looked super cool!

Wait. I was talking about cheap lace. So, anyway, I went to Goodwill, my home away from home, and when I refused to spend the $2.99 they wanted for a lace table runner, I snagged a lacy baby girl's dress for .99 . Voila!

Pardon the cell phone pictures. I still have no camera - hence the phone shots, sent to Facebook, then downloaded.

Here's the earring one:

And here are the two of them together. They're getting along great.