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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Christmas recap

Holy leave of absence, Batman! Turns out my "brief respite" from writing my blog was more like a prolonged divestiture. My last post was in March 2014 and that was my only post The. Entire. Year.

Oh my.

All I can say to my loyal readers -- all 3 of you -- is that, well. . . meh. My kids stopped being funny for awhile, I got busy. . . life happened. Sorry.

But I'm back with some random observations of our recently completed holidays.

1. The season Will. Not. Cooperate.

We planned a trip back to the Homeland for Christmas -- in place of our usual, more easily travelled Thanksgiving trip -- reasoning that Boy #2 had never seen snow at Christmastime. How sad. All these years! He had an empty place! What kind of parents were we?

It didn't snow in the Homeland. In fact, it was colder at The House than it was in the Homeland region. We did see snow near Christmas because clever family members had planned a skiing trip while we were visiting -- and there was an hour or so of actual snow to top the man-made stuff on the slopes -- but not on the day itself.

Thankfully, it did not snow at The House while we were gone. I couldn't have handled that kind of irony.

2. Southern boys -- who've never even seen skis -- can ski.

I have to take others' word on this (being an avid non-skier myself) but, apparently, my boys did a bang-up job on their first day skiing. Never mind that every time I looked out the window or ventured onto the patio, all I saw was one or both of them being hauled back to their feet by somebody else.

Those who know say they did really well. And Boy #2 has already placed his order for going again next year. . . or maybe going skiing instead of to the beach for spring break. Isn't he adorable? He's completely lost his mind, of course, but still adorable.

3. Gluten-free pizza crust tastes better than dairy-free mozzarella "cheese."

Once we were back home, we decided to stay in for New Year's Eve and have our own little party -- no crowds, no cold, no annoying revelers and all the comforts of home. The food line-up included make-your-own individual pizzas. . .which is all well and good except for those of us who can't have pizza. (There's gluten and cheese involved and, really, we don't want to eat anything that tastes too good.)

But I had a plan. And I had gluten-free flour! So I made my own.

I'm slowly learning a lot about gluten-free baking, primarily that whatever works once might (or might not) work the next time you try it. Colors are a little "off" (as you no doubt noticed with the pizza) and taste is inconsistent.

But the standing rule so far is that, no matter what you make, it always tastes better the second day. And it's 100% better than any GF stuff you can buy premade. Guaranteed.

4. I love my Crock Pot in the summer and hate my Crock Pot in the winter for exactly the same reason.

It doesn't heat up the kitchen.

This is important when there's already enough heat (and humidity) in the atmosphere for an extra continent or two, but it's sadly lacking when it's cold. And right now, it's cold.

Oh, my house smells lovely -- I'd like to develop a spray or diffuser that works nearly as well as Food Cooking in the Crock Pot -- but I'm still cold!

5. My sister-in-law knows stuff.

Never again will I demur or even balk when she offers me red wine. I'll just smile -- hopefully without trepidation -- and taste the stuff. Because she knows. Oh yes, she knows the good stuff.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Winds of change

The wind is changing. Can you feel it?

I don't mean just the approach of spring, although that's certainly a relief (and even moreso for my kith and kin in places that got more than their usual share of snow and ice by degrees of magnitude). No, I suspect there's a sea change afoot.

Because Boy #1 has asked for seconds. Of protein. Whose name didn't include peanut butter or nugget. I know!

I made pork chops for dinner. As it turns out, they weren't even particularly good pork chops, but they were fine. Gave each boy one half. Boy #2 dutifully ate his half and inquired after more mashed potatoes. Boy #1, however, snarfed his down and asked for more.

Never. Happened. Before. Never-ever.

And I know there are those of you saying,"You'll be sorry you asked for this," regaling me with tales of escalating grocery bills and never being able to keep milk in the house. I know. But I've looked for this day for so long. . .let me savor the victory just a bit longer. Because if pork has fallen, broccoli can't be far behind.

And that change has got me thinking about how very different my kids' childhoods are than mine was, particular when it comes to technology.

Of the many things my children inherited from me, intense curiosity about who might be calling when the phone rings is not one of them.

Our kitchen phone looked something like this, but with the really long cord that, presumably, allowed you to get stuff done while talking. In reality, it served only to tie itself in maddeningly tighter coils that kept you tethered to the wall (in solidarity, I guess) with it.

I loved to answer the phone.

When I was 7 or 8, I'd entered a poem in a contest to proclaim my dad the Father of the Year (or some such) with our local radio station. <This isn't nearly as impressive as it sounds. In our rural area, the station probably had 15 listeners, tops.> And I won.

They called early that Sunday morning to let Dad know he'd been chosen Father of the Year. We were getting ready for church, and Dad happened to be in the shower. Guess who answered the phone. And promptly told the announcer -- and however many tens of people might have been listening -- where my dad was. He took a fair amount of ribbing at church that morning.

But my kids don't share that fascination. The oldest will occasionally check caller ID, but the youngest doesn't even bat an eye when the phone rings. I guess it comes from growing up with answering machines and voicemail; there's just not much excitement in the ring anymore. Ah, let them eat pork.


Friday, November 15, 2013

Say what?

Ever since I was a teenager, I've prided myself on having a thick skin -- that is, not being easily upset by what others say to or about me. Generally it's an issue of interpretation; most folks just don't go out of their way to be rude. . . at least not on purpose.

But my children seem to have missed my personal pride in this facet of my personality. Not only did they miss it, but they often trample right over it -- and me.

Just this week we had 2 such occasions, both on the same day.

At breakfast, sweet and funny Boy #2 turns to me, wide-eyed, and asks, "So, Mom, did you ever have any friends?"

Perhaps it was the lack of caffeine or still-sleepy ears, but I'm pretty sure he emphasized "ever" just a bit too much. Smoothing my feathers mentally, I explained that I do have friends, most of whom he knows. They come over, we go to their houses, we meet out at places. . . we do stuff together.

"I meant," he explained slowly and loudly (why is this boy so loud in the morning?), "when you were a child."

Yes, of course, I had friends then, too. In fact, some of them are still my friends now. "Oh. Okay." And he sauntered upstairs to brush his teeth.

Sitting down to dinner that night -- and not to be outdone -- Boy #1 looks at his plate and exclaims, "Oh good, overcooked! Yum!" Honestly, it's an exact quote. And he said it with much gusto and enthusiasm, not the snarky, in-a-year-or-so-I'll-be-painfully-sarcastic-every-living-moment attitude we often hear.

I gave him my patented you'd-better-watch-your-step glare, while The Husband suggested he rephrase what he just said.

"Oh, I just meant the cheese gets all brown and crunchy when Mom cooks them this way," he gushed, cheerfully. "It's how I like them!"

So there you have it: Proof that hair isn't the only thing to thin with age.