Monthly Archives: May 2012

Ahhhh Geez, Do I HAVE To?

I’ve been doing lots of deep thinking lately, and I’ve come to a conclusion, procrastinators are not lazy, they (we) are just tired of being responsible all the time.

Think about all the stuff you have to do in just one day.  For me, I have to get up before everyone else,  force a teenager out of bed way too early, get dressed, fix the teenager’s breakfast, drive her to school after asking her if she has all her stuff, drive home, wake up the younger one, make sure he dresses in clothing that is clean and not too big for him, fix his breakfast, lunch and make sure he has all his stuff, drive him to school, and then go to work myself if I have a sub job.  During the day, I do all the teacher-y stuff, then I have to go pick up the boy, then pick up the girl, come home, make sure they do homework, have a balanced dinner so they stay healthy, make sure everyone takes a shower and gets to bed at a decent time, again, so they stay healthy.  In between all that, I have to do bills, laundry, clean the house, run errands, and do stuff for my aging mother.  My husband travels a lot, so he is only available to help on a part-time basis.  I WILL give him credit for being a good husband and Dad though, and he really steps up when he is home.  Just the basics of living is exhausting.  I am exhausted just from writing about it, so this leads me to my problem with procrastination.

Some things, like going to school and work HAS to be done at a particular time and so cannot be procrastinated over.  OTHER things like house cleaning, laundry and exercising so I stay healthy, don’t have to be done on a schedule.  Those things can be fit in when it is convenient.  Problem is, I find that it is not exactly convenient for me to do that stuff.  Ever.  I have books to read and books to write.  I have friends I want to talk to and a husband I like to hang out with.  I like my kids and I like to spend time with them too.  I enjoy the computer and I like to watch a little tv.  I get tired of being responsible ALL THE TIME.  I am tired of being a good girl.  I don’t want to do anything particularly bad or illegal or anything, I just don’t feel like doing everything I am SUPPOSED to do, all the time.  So I procrastinate.

I sit on my behind and read when I should be doing laundry, so the laundry piles up and up and up and then I find myself spending three days getting it caught up.  I play games on Facebook, and look up to discover that I forgot the run the vacuum or start dinner.  I sit on my swing listening to the Dean Martin station on Pandora radio, and realize that it is time to go get the kids and I forgot to put the laundry in the dryer and I’m behind again.  I get watching Paranormal State on Netflix and delay going to the park for my walk and by the time I get motivated to go, it’s too hot or too late.  I get in a conversation with a friend on the phone and run out of time to sit and work on my book.  Again.

This doesn’t happen everyday obviously, because I am generally too busy being responsible mom to just do what I want, but it DOES happen.  I’ve decided to stop fighting it.  I am realizing that when I get distracted and procrastinate, it’s because I am tired and too filled up with everyday responsibilities, and procrastinating is my unconscious way of taking a break.  So PROCRASTINATORS UNITE!!  Sit on your butt and daydream, or take a drive, or read a book. or work on a craft project.  When you were a little kid, that was called “playing” and everyone wanted you to do it, because it’s good for you.  Who decided that grown-ups aren’t allowed to play?  I don’t agree with that person, so I am going to ignore them from now on.  Now where did I leave my book…

Have a great day and be kind to one another 🙂

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Why Does The Health Food Store Smell So Bad?

I am a fan of the health food store.  We take some supplements to help avoid things like heart disease etc and we enjoy organic products wherever our budget will allow, which considering a small organic watermelon is seven dollars, is not a lot.  We tend to make sure we have organic milk and beef, mainly so our kids are exposed to fewer hormones etc.  This is my disclaimer for the rest of what I have to say…

Last weekend, my husband and I went to what we lovingly refer to as Wild Goats.  It is a play on the name of the store, before the name was changed to something that rhymes with Pole-Dudes.  There is ALWAYS an interesting smell in Wild Goats, and to us and our kids it is unpleasant.  It smells like a combination of rotting vegetation and creepy hippy perfume, but normally, we just go “Sheesh” and move on with our shopping.  This time?  That rotting veg/hippy perfume smell was so bad I almost gagged.  I have two children, three cats, two dogs and three chinchillas.  I have been puked on, pooped on, and snotted on.  I have cleaned litter boxes, hair balls, and rodent cages.  My gag reflex is pretty well under control, but I actually had to put my hand over my nose and mouth until I got used to the stench.  My poor husband, who would rather eat ground glass than clean up barf, turned an interesting shade of green swirled with gray.  It was gross.

The funny thing was, no one else seemed to mind.  Sure, I saw lots of glazed over eyes and vacant expressions, but you know, that happens.  We walked as quickly as possible to the vitamin side of the store, got what we needed and headed toward the checkouts.  My hubs said, “Wait!  Don’t you need some milk and stuff?  We can just grab it here instead of making another stop.”  My reply, “Do you remember the time we left Don Pablos before being seated because we could smell the bathroom in the lobby?  There is no way I am buying ANY kind of food in here because of that smell.  It’s bad enough we are buying our vitamins and stuff here, but fortunately, they were packaged elsewhere.  I think I’m gonna spray the bottles with Lysol when we get home.”  Oops, that kind of blows the whole “organic, good for you” thing right out of the water.  “Oh, yeah, you’re right.”  We paid our $79.00 for four bottles of stuff and went to Kroger.

I suppose my point is, that just because something or someplace is touted as being good for you, doesn’t mean that it is.  It also means that something or someplace that normally IS good for you and just happens to smell like death one day, will not necessarily be bad forever, but next time you go into Wild Goats because you think that everything in there is good for you, make sure you don’t have a cold, take a deep wiff through your nose, and if the rotting veg and hippy smell is worse than usual, be on guard, cause something is rotten in Denmark. (that’s just a saying, don’t get upset because I implied Denmark has an odor)

Have a great night and be kind to one another 🙂

Wouldn’t You Like To Be A Teacher Too? Probably Not…

I’m going to do a soapbox here and I generally don’t do that kind of post, so forgive me in advance.

I am a substitute teacher.  I have been teaching kids in some capacity pretty much constantly since I was about 20 years old.  I have taught everybody from preschoolers to college freshmen, and I feel the need to address a few “issues” regarding teachers.

Issue #1

Teachers don’t work during the summer.

Teachers DO work during the summer.  Planning for next year.  It takes the entire summer just about, to re-do lessons based on curriculum changes and beaurocrats in the education system.  Nobody can leave well enough alone.  Ever.  So everything changes a lot from year to year.  The only time teachers can do this work is during the summer.  During our “break.”

Issue #2

All they do is teach kids, how hard can that be?

Yes, we teach your little darlings five days per week for about nine months of the year.  Roughly 30 of them at a time in elementary school, well over 100 different kids per day if you teach middle or high school where the kids change classes.  Please remember the feelings of relief all you non-teachers get when school starts again in the fall, or when you put little Jenny or Joey on the bus in the morning.  WE take your kids all day every day and teach them academics, social skills and control.  We hug them and tie their shoes and band-aid their owies.  We give them part of our lunch when you forget to feed them in the morning or forget to send lunch or money, or if the school lunch is gross and lets face it, school lunches definitely tend to have a gross factor.  We spend our own money to stock our rooms with things that will help your kid learn.  We often spend our own money when we have a student who needs a notebook or pencils and you can’t or don’t provide it for them.  We dry tears, cheer for them and cry our own tears for them at night when we think about the ones with hard home lives or if one of them is sick, or hurt, or bullied.

Teaching is incredibly hard, physically, emotionally, spiritually.  If I took home all the wounded ones I’ve seen over the years, they’d be stacked up like cord wood in my house and I’d have to change my last name to Duggar and/or get a couple of sister wives.

Issue #3

Teachers don’t care, they are only teachers so they get the summers off.

See issues 1 and 2 above for your answer.

These are only a few of the issues I’ve heard people talking about lately.  There are a million more.  I get irritated when I hear people talk about how teachers make too much money.  Again, the kids that so many of the parents out there can’t wait to send back to school, come to us in droves day after day.  We are expected to make sure they do well on standardized tests, make good grades and have friends and don’t pick on others.  We are expected to be sweet and kind and gentle.  We are expected to maintain a constant level of understanding and patience, for thirty kids at once, when SOME, not all but SOME of the parents we see regularly, can’t maintain those qualities at home with only a couple of kids who are related to them by blood.

We live in a culture where no one thinks a thing of someone like George Clooney making millions of dollars for pretending to be other people in largely crappy movies.  We live in a society where sports athletes who play GAMES for a living are paid millions of dollars, and on their off time, get into bar fights, DUI accidents and drug deals gone wrong, get their hands slapped and keep getting their big bucks.  We live in a culture where teachers and nurses make fifty thousand dollars a year and when all is said and done, pay about half of their salaries to taxes and union dues and fees, only to find out that the people who WORK FOR THEM (ostensibly), i.e. elected officials etc. earn four times more than their bosses (us) and then have the balls to tell us we need to do more because they have screwed up.  We live in a culture where vice and bad behavior makes you popular and well paid.  We live in a culture where a teacher can lose their career for something they do outside of work that has nothing to do with school, but a politician can embezzle money and hide it in their freezer for years and then get re-elected.  The world is upside down.

The next time you trash teachers as a whole, stop and think for a second that maybe the problem is the system, or parents who don’t take care of their kids.  Yes, there are some bad teachers, just like there are some bad people, but overall, we are not bad.  We try so hard to take care of your kids and teach them what they need to know.  We get attached to your kids, I dare say, we come to love them and it breaks our hearts when a child begs us not to tell you when they are in trouble because they are afraid of what you will do to them when they get home.  It breaks our hearts when first and second graders come to school and tell us all about the violent, sex-filled horror movie they watched last night with their parents.  We really do care, we really do work very hard and what we do really DOES matter.  I’m not complaining about the low pay, or the long hours or the heartache.  Every single one of us knew what we were getting into and all of us did it gladly.  We don’t ask for much in return, maybe just a little respect would be nice.

So, be kind to one another, including the teachers in your life.  You don’t need to give us a gift, we’d be happy with a smile, we love it when a parent says thank-you, you’ve made a difference to my child.  Have a great night and the countdown to summer continues, eight more days. 🙂

Cat Races

So apparently, my ten-year old son turned into a bookie this morning.  He decided to launch the first annual Mother’s Day Cat Races at our house.  We have three cats, he assigned himself, my daughter and my husband a cat to “train,” collected bets, which he wrote down on some kind of weird paper, and gave me the job of standing in the kitchen and shaking the cat food to get them to run.  For some strange reason, we all cooperated, and it was hilarious.

Bella

Bella, is a small, delicate little tortoise-shell kitty.  She is kind of hyper and loves my husband with a strange, obsessive intensity.  So Hubs was her trainer.

Blue

Blue is a huge, fat Garfield of a cat.  He is a gray and white tuxedo mutt who flops down at random intervals when hauling all that chub around gets to be too much.  The Girl was assigned this bundle of endless energy.

Tigger, the sink dweller

 Tigger is the latest rescuee who we found in a glass case at Petsmart.  He is orange and supposedly a Maine Coon, which based on his size (big, but not fat like SOME people) and luxurious hair seems to be accurate.  He is a momma’s boy, and is marginally afraid of my son who made himself Tigger’s trainer.

Since Tigger will run down the main hall of our house, but then makes a sharp right and hides behind the couch when he hits the family room, the edge of the family room was the finish line.  Monkey Boy downloaded a megaphone app on his iPad and made a big long announcement on it and a ready, set, go 3-2-1 thing and they were off.  As soon as I heard him say go, I started pouring food into their bowls.  Tigger, who wanted nothing more than to get away from my son, took off at warp speed, Blue who is always interested in food was hot on his heels and Bella, who is in love with Hubs, ran because she was initially startled and then turned back to look for her Daddy.  In the end, it was Tigger by a length and a duck behind the couch due to the horror of being held for a while by Monkey Boy and Blue of course, was the first one to the kitchen and the promise of delicious kitty kibble.

I came to several conclusions during this fantastic, new, annual Mother’s Day event.  First, my son is even more clever than I thought he was.  First, he chose the cat that is afraid of him and will do whatever is necessary to get away, figuring out that said cat would also be the fastest due to fear.  Second, my son also has a brilliant future as a business man or maybe a politician or organized crime boss due to his ability to scheme, take bets and generally get people to participate in things they don’t really feel like doing, but in the end they enjoy on some level.  Third, fear, or food, gets things done faster than love because the one in love with her trainer had no desire to leave him, only turn and gaze at him with adoration.

Now that the first annual races are done, I think we should expand and invite in other cats and trainers next year.  We could charge an entry fee and take a percentage of the bets for the house.  Awwww SNAP!!  Maybe Monkey Boy doesn’t have to be a crime boss all by himself!!  Is there such thing as The Godmother?  I can put my fingertips together and mutter “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse,” just as well as Don Vito Corleone did.  Yessss, I can see it now, a Cat Race empire…

Happy Mother’s Day friends, be kind to one another 🙂

The Lead Up Day To Mother’s Day Has Been FANTASTIC, LOL…

We have three cars.  Don’t get jealous, they are all old to oldish.  Two of them are ours, one of them is my mom’s.  My mother can’t safely drive anymore, so her car lives at my house so she won’t sneak out in the night and kill someone with it.  Before we liberated it, she ran over a lot of curbs, so it has lots of loose stuff underneath.  We’ve had about five oil leaks fixed, and numerous other things tightened from her curb jumping.  She is also apparently a fan of breaking off knobs, thus resulting in difficulty popping the hood and turning on the lights properly.  The transmission is now slipping which I’m sure will result in a ginormous repair bill, but we have to get through the rest of the school year to summer before I can send it away, so Lucas Oil tranny stuff is the plan.

The other two cars that are ours, are in better-ish shape.  My car, has pretty high miles on it, but it is in great shape.  I love it.  Old dependable.  Thank you Jesus.  My husband’s car, or the “airport car” as it is better known, is a little more tired than mine.  It has been overheating, so last night, the hubs went to Advance Auto Parts and bought a new water pump and thermostat.

Where this gets vaguely interesting is when you find out that my poor hubs HATES working on cars.  My father, God rest his soul, taught him all about how to do it though and I know this, so work on them whenever possible is the thing.  I mean why pay 400$ to get that water pump and thermo replaced when the parts cost him 44 bucks at Advance?  I mean really?

So the day has been a car maintenance workfest.  He replaced the water pump and thermo ( I had to help get the new belt back on because I have this weird mechanical, physical-world mind, while my poor hubs is a computer nerd who can only picture things in his head that don’t actually exist.  Go figure.)  I felt guilty about him working so much, so I took mom’s car to the oil change place we use and got the tranny serviced and the radiator flushed and the fuel system cleaned and then I came home and got MY car and took it back and did all the same stuff plus oil change.  It took about two hours total.  I feel like a dude.  I even have some flavor of black crap under my nails from helping hubs get the snake belt back in his car.  NOT.  HAPPY.  I AM happy though that we saved all that money because the hubs did all that work.

What does this have to do with Mother’s Day you ask?  Usually, my lovely fam spoils me and does stuff for me the entire WEEKEND.  This year, hubs was out-of-town all last week and hasn’t been able to take the kids shopping.  They are worried.  I’m not.  It’s ok.  They’ll take care of it at some point, we’ll spend time together and I’ll be happy.  They’ll be happy, it will all be good.

I’m just grateful for my two beautiful children and I’m grateful to have a hubs who loves me enough to do something he hates because it makes me happy to save money.  As soon as he’s done, I’m gonna take him to Sonic for a burger.  I think we are getting old, cause it doesn’t take very much to make either one of us happy.  WOW, now that I think about it, I’ll bet they are going to take me out for a bagel in the morning!!  YAY!! Makes all that car crap worth it 😉

Have a wonderful evening and a Happy Mother’s Day!  Be kind to one another 🙂

Sorry, But I Am NOT Sorry

We are bombarded daily by insincere apologies.  The latest one I’ve noticed, is the one by the clothing company H&M.  I have never been to H&M, I don’t even know if we have one in this neck of the woods.  I’d LIKE to go, because from what I have seen in their advertising, they have pretty good prices, but I digress.  Apparently, they are apologizing because the model they used in their recent bathing suit ad has a tan.  A “too dark tan.”  So the hell what?  Is their too tan model going to send me and my northern European ancestry skin to a tanning bed or to an unprotected side of the pool?  Ummm, no.  I am not stupid you see.  I know that if I am exposed to the rays of the sun for more than five minutes I start to turn red.  More than fifteen minutes, and it becomes a burn.  I’ll get brownish eventually, but everyone makes fun of my “tan.”  It has always been this way.  Even when I was a teenager and baked myself with my friend, slathered in Hawaiian Tropic Oil (code for good smelling cooking oil) on the roof of her father’s funeral home (that’s a whole separate story), I never got really tan.  I do not want skin cancer or even worse, >gasp< wrinkles.  Haven’t these offended people ever watched Dancing With the Stars?  Haven’t they ever heard of a spray tan?

Please don’t force people or businesses or entities or whatever to apologize for stupid crap.  I don’t care if your model is too tan or too skinny or too fat.  I don’t care if your model smokes or drinks.  I don’t care if you use a foreign or southern or hillbilly accent in your advertising, and believe me, based on my Dad’s side of the family, I should be offended by the hillbilly thing, but I’m not.  You see, I live in reality land where not everyone is nice or eloquent.  Sometimes, people say one thing and mean another, sometimes people say a mean thing and mean to be mean.  Frankly my dears, I don’t give a damn.

Also, politicians need to stop apologizing for what they did in high school, or for wearing an expensive shirt or getting an expensive haircut.  If they were bullies in high school, I’m sure they are getting theirs in Washington.  If they buy expensive stuff, good for them as long as they can afford it, they should get what they want.  I could care less what somebody else does.  If they want to apologize for something, I’m sure we could find a few things they should feel remorse about that actually affect us.

Movie stars, quit apologizing to me when you screw up.  Again, not my problem.  I’ll still go see your movies, as long as they don’t suck, if you’ve gotten a D.U.I. or something.  If you want to apologize, go home and apologize to your family.  Your bad behavior affects them, not me.  If you want to apologize to me, apologize for the crappy movies that you make and promise to make better ones.

So, I am NOT sorry that I don’t mow my grass every other day.  I am NOT sorry that I drive an SUV.  It’s big and tall and I’m borderline night blind, so I need it.  I am NOT sorry that I eat meat, or buy plastic or shop at Wal-Mart.  I AM sorry about some of the outfits I’ve seen at Wal-Mart, but  I can’t do anything about THAT.  I am NOT sorry that I make a poolside friend of mine sit under the umbrellas.  You know who you are and you know that I am doing you a favor.  Just because you have dark hair doesn’t mean you can’t get skin cancer.  I am NOT sorry that I let my kids watch TV or play video games or ride their bikes sans helmet.  If I am mean to you, it will be by accident and I WILL be sorry for that and I will tell you.

One other thing, all this vapid sorry-ness, makes me want to go to the companies that are forced to apologize because they have “offended” two or three people, and buy their crap just to be contrary.  So tonight while I am moon bathing with my equally pale friend Morticia, I think I’ll pull old H&M up online and see what kind of stuff I can buy from their sorry asses.

Have a wonderful weekend and be kind to one another 🙂

My Love Letter To Fly Over Country

On my way home from taking my daughter to school this morning, I heard a Jason Aldean song on the radio about two guys from New York flying across country to L.A.  They were talking about why anyone would want to live “down there” in the middle of nowhere.  I live down here in the middle of nowhere and I would like to answer that question.

The middle of the country is beautiful.  I’ve been all over it and it boasts mountains, lakes, plains, forests and rivers.  Farmland spreads in some parts as far as the eye can see.  You get fed from that middle of nowhere.  I live in Ohio, so I feel that I can only speak with authority about Ohio, even though I have spent considerable amounts of time in other places.

Early spring from my grotto. And oh yeah, that big black dog is called Emma.

It is green here.  Right now in the spring, it rains at least some, almost everyday and a LOT on other days.  The grass is green, the leaves are green, the flowers are blooming and most places you go, the air has a slightly flowery smell to it.  The clouds and misty mornings make me feel cozy.  Sunny mornings put a kick in my step.  We have to mow our grass around here, cause it grows really fast.  As the season rolls on, the leaves on the trees will get bigger, the shade will get deeper, the sun will get hotter and it will be humid.

Full summer in Missouri, also in fly-over country. Also, this looks a lot like Ohio.

Summer is pretty much what you picture summer being.  Hot, humid, languid.  We celebrate flag day out here usually with patriotic concerts.  Parks have free concerts all summer long, usually once a week.  Farmer’s markets open and are something to do on a Saturday morning.  You can get the freshest, locally grown food available.  The Fourth of July is fun.  We have picnics and play outdoor games and go to fireworks displays or those patriotic concerts again.  It is old-fashioned.  It is American.

Little Red and her Wolf, getting ready to Trick or Treat.

Fall is my favorite.  The humidity goes away and the air is clear once again.  The sky is a kind of blue that humans try to duplicate but can’t.  Fluffy white clouds scud across that blue sky and once in a while, the air has a bite to it that reminds you that winter is on the way.  The warm afternoons and cool nights turn the trees to their fall colors, gold, red, yellow, orange.  We still rake leaves out here and even though we aren’t supposed to, we put them in piles and burn them just to smell our childhoods again.  We celebrate Halloween and we call it Halloween, not Harvest, that’s Thanksgiving.  We take our kids to pumpkin farms and buy the biggest ones we can.  We also buy gourds and corn shocks to decorate our porches.  We hang fake spider webs and prop up fake witches with silly brooms.  We make or buy costumes for our kids and take them Trick or Treating.  We take them to neighbors we know, and neighbors we don’t know.  We are not afraid of each other out here.

A couple of years ago, we had a little snow, then we had freezing fog. The result? Narnia, or as it’s more commonly known, my backyard.

Thanksgiving is technically in the fall, but around here, sometimes, its in the winter.  Some years we are buried in snow, some years, like last year, we never have to wear our super heavy winter coats.  We get ice and snow and blustery wind.  Christmas is especially wonderful if there is snow.  The outside lights get buried sometimes and the soft snow glow they give off is truly a thing of beauty.  Sometimes in the winter, if you go outside at night in the crisp cold air, and look up at a star filled sky bright with stars, you can almost hear them sing.

Then, you have the people who live here.  The folks.  Of course you have stupid people and mean people and people who just take pleasure in making things hard for others, but overall, the people out here are nice.  They are helpful to one another.  When we have natural disasters or tragedies, we don’t sit on our butts wailing and whining and waiting for someone else to come save our butts.  We dry our tears, we stand up and dust ourselves off and get to work fixing things.  We help our neighbors.  We have bake sales and benefit dances and festivals and give the proceeds to our friends in need.  If someone is desperately ill, we do the same thing.  We count on no one but ourselves.  We’ve learned a long time ago that ourselves are the most dependable people there are.  If someone is having a rough time, we do things for them without saying anything.  We invite them to dinner, or we buy something they need and tell them that we had this lying around and we don’t use it anymore, would they like it.  We don’t want to make anyone feel bad and we don’t feel the need to toot our own horns.  To do something nice for someone and then make a big deal about it is not the way we roll.  We are quiet, we are thoughtful, we are good people.

Yes, we live in the middle, but we are educated, we like the arts, the majority of us believe in God.  Lots of us have guns and go hunting.  We support the military because we understand that freedom isn’t free and those brave souls make it so we can sleep safely and in freedom.  What we are NOT is close minded and intolerant and selfish and racist, and with all due respect, we don’t like it much when people tell us we are because it’s just not true.

So the next time you are flying over from somewhere to somewhere and you wonder why anyone would live down there in the middle of nowhere, now maybe you have a hint of an idea why.  It’s beautiful here, the people are good and there is room to breathe.  Why do you live at the edges?

Have a wonderful day and be kind to one another. 🙂

I Need An Ark, Or At Least Glass Block Windows

The falls.

I read an article a couple of weeks ago that said there are only two states in the US that are not under some level of drought conditions.  Alaska, and my lovely home, Ohio.  I have just two words to say.  No shit.

It rains here.  And rains and rains and rains.  A couple of years ago when WE were in a drought and everyone was acting like the world was coming to an end and we were all gonna starve to death because of the little dried up plants, I remember saying in my oh so knowing way, and I quote, “Don’t worry about it.  We’ll have a couple of dry years and then nature will make up for it.  If we’d just stop monkeying around with everything and let nature take its course, we’d see that the system has balance.  We’re short now, but over time, it will be made up.”  Let me go on record right here, that I am officially, mostly right.  We are getting back in buckets the rain we missed out on a few years ago.  We don’t get nice, steady English countryside rain around here anymore.  We get American style flash flood, Noah’s Ark downpours on at LEAST a weekly basis.

I like cloudy, cool, misty weather.  I even like rain and thunderstorms.  Makes me feel like I’m in a wonderfully creepy horror story somewhere and that at any moment, something exciting, like a cape wearing vampire or a mysterious old witch woman will show up at my door and spice things up a bit.  Turns out I’m kinda wrong about that.  No body cool or mysterious or exciting ever shows up at my door.  Unless you think the Duke Energy guys who are tearing up everyone’s yards right now are exciting.  No, the only excitement all this creepy weather gets me is a flooded basement.

Stupid, fruitless, pointless activity.

Our house was built in the 1970’s.  The people who lived here before us apparently really LIKED 70’s decor and did NOTHING to this house. We stripped wallpaper and ripped up dirty shag carpet and threw away deteriorating pleated drapery with abandon when we moved in.  They also apparently didn’t mind the crappy little slider windows in the basement.  They lock nicely etc, but when it gully washes, they can’t stand up to the pressure.  Last Tuesday night we had three storms in a row.  Bad ones.  It thundered, the lightening was bright and frequent and it rained.  It rained so hard in fact that the drains in my window wells, especially the one in back, could not keep up with the water.  So the window well filled up to within two inches of the top of the window, then just as you thought  it was going to overflow into the yard, the crappy old slider window blew out.  Or in, however you want to look at it.  It popped out of the frame and Niagara Falls entered my basement.   Then it stopped raining, we got the water swept into the drain, it started to dry out a little and about an hour later it did it again.  Then in the middle of the night, it did it again.

Doesn’t “working” look like fun???

It’s not as much of a tragedy as it could have been.  The previous lackadaisical owners obviously didn’t finish the basement, and we put most everything in plastic tubs, so that’s cool. But there is something about seeing water flowing into your house that makes you want to catch it in buckets and empty said buckets down the utility sink.  I don’t know WHY you want to do this fruitless thing, but you do.  So, we caught a lot of it in buckets the second time it stormed, and it didn’t get as deep as the first time.  I thought the strenuous nature of the activity was going to give me a heart attack, but alas it did not.  My young son has since been praying for more rain, because he likes to “work.”  That’ll wear off pretty soon I’m thinking.  Personally?  I do NOT like to “work” so when it dries out, I’m calling the glass block window guys.  I want those suckers cemented into the walls of my basement toute de suite.  Let no one say that my husband and I will live here for thirty years and do nothing to this house.  Just because it’s taken us ten years to put the stupid things in means nothing…

Have a great day and be kind 🙂

The Obession With Food Continues… My Yummy Yummy Chili Recipe

Alrighty then, last time, I was kinda complaining (well ok, not kinda, I just was) about the never-ending food demands of my family.  I briefly mentioned that I liked easy recipes like chili, so that got me thinking that I should MAKE some of my chili, which I did and while making it, I decided to take some pictures of it and share the recipe.  I’m no Martha Stewart or Rachel Ray, but my food is pretty good and made with easily available stuff and my kids eat it.  So, please try my chili and I hope you enjoy my accompanying comments and extra directions.

1 Can Dark Red Kidney Beans – The brand is unimportant

2 14/15 oz cans tomato sauce or tomatoes

1 1/2 pound ground beef

1 small onion finely chopped

1/2 green pepper finely chopped

2 cloves crushed garlic

1-3 Tablespoons chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

Salt to taste

First of all, if you like turkey chili, you can make this recipe with turkey, I’ve done it, it’s pretty good.  I’ve also made it with a combination of turkey and beef and that was better.  All beef is best.  Don’t buy cheap beef (anything labeled ground meat should be suspect, if you go with chuck, drain it after you brown it).  You can also make it with soy if you are a veg.  The flavor is just fine, but as has been previously established, we have texture issues in this house, so the rubbery balls of soy didn’t go over too well, but if you like it go for it, again, the flavor is fine.

Finely chop the onion and green pepper.  Don’t whine and tell me you don’t like green pepper.  If you chop them fine, you won’t even know they are in there.  The undertone of their flavor is crucial to the success of the dish, so man up and put them in there.  My kids hate GP and they have no idea that this chili has any in it.

Brown the ground beef in a skillet with the green peppers and onions.  If you or the kids are super hungry, you can put a little of this well cooked mixture on a piece of folded bread and have a little snack while you wait for dinner.  It’s super good and my mom used to do it for me.  While the meat and veg are browning, drain your beans.  The toots are in the liquid.  It is gross and stinky and will make you stinky if you don’t drain them.

If the grease in your meat doesn’t cook away, drain the mixture and put it in a big pot.  Add everything else.  One comment on the tomatoes.  Again, due to dislike of slimy things, we don’t care for canned tomatoes.  They result in yucky lumps of stringy tomato gooze in the final product and we don’t like that, so I use tomato sauce.  Either one will work.  Also, if you don’t have actual cloves of garlic, use garlic powder or something like Tastefully Simple’s Garlic Garlic.  I usually put in about a tablespoon and then if I want more in it, I can add it.  Just remember, once it’s in there, you can’t get it out,  but you can always add more.  With regard to chili powder.  You need at least one tablespoon to make it taste like chili.  I usually use two and it isn’t too spicy at that level.  Three, and the kids don’t like it.

Stir it all together, bring it to a bubble, turn the temp to low, put a lid on it and let it meld together for 45 minutes or so.  You need to check it every so often and stir it so it doesn’t stick or anything.  If you think it’s too thick, add some water.  I usually fill up one of the tomato sauce cans and dump it in before I put the lid on because it WILL thicken again as it cooks.

If you have picky children, who would eat chili, but not vegetables, one of my favorite additions to this pot is to finely grate a large carrot and put it in with all the other ingredients.  If you grate it on the little holes on the grater, they cook down so much, they are not noticeable and they do not change the flavor.

When it’s done, serve it with shredded, sharp cheddar cheese and crackers.  It is delicious, easy and comforting.  This recipe doubles or triples well if you are feeding a crowd.Enjoy and be kind to one another 🙂