Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A taste of Pounding Sand

Hubby's band played the office Christmas party. Someone nudged the video camera, so you can't see the guitarist or the drummer or the fabulous banner I made, but you CAN see Hubby on bass, and what more do you need in concert footage? Next gig is at Cryer's Back Road Inn, on January 24th. You know you want to be there.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

My dog has night terrors

Otis, our pug, is napping by my desk. He just broke into a horrific, keening wail, in his sleep. It is just about the worst sound you could ever hear.

Being the loving pet owner I am, I leaned down and shouted, "Otis! Honey! It's OK! Wake up! Otis! You're OK!" And he did wake up, calm down, and go back to sleep.

He has only done this a handful of times, all within the past few years. Never as a younger dog. Part of me would love to be able to see what he sees, because dear GOD it is terrifying, and his life is about as dull and predictable and gravy-soaked as a dog could ever hope it to be. I have no idea what could be that upsetting. But I will tell you, that sound cuts through me like a buzz saw to the brain.

Then again, anything that scares him that much would probably be a bit more than I want to witness, I guess.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Yeah, that sounds good, too

Weird fact about Christine, #38: I tend to sit here and read about the nutritional profile of my food, as I eat it.

So, yeah, I'm reading about the stuff I just dumped in my tea, and I started adding more stuff. Right now I'm leaning over a hot steaming mug with a tea bag, a couple of cardamom pods, some cloves, a slice of ginger and a cinnamon stick. You instant tea people can have your way, but me, I have something to chew on, later.

Which may be disgusting, I suppose. But, hey, I'm not making YOU fish out a cardamom pod and chew it, so keep yer hands off my mug.

Completely OT? I hate Sears. I hate them all. I hate their crappy selection of stuff, their bizarre system of starting the checkout line a full 15 feet away from the cash register, and the fact that I spent hours there, last night, giving them money in exchange for Christmas gifts.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Perfection Makes Perfect

About 20 years ago, Hubby and I got a fortune cookie that rocked our world. It was not a fortune at all. It said, "Perfection makes perfect."

What the heck? We laughed about that cookie for ages.

At the time, we did not see it for what it was: a harbinger of a new day when fortune cookies wouldd not predict your future, but just piled words on you, or revisited the wisdom of your crankiest elderly relatives.

Tonight, we ordered Chinese food. Here is the sad collection of modern fortune cookie contents we endured tonight; wisdom, opinion, and wishes abound: only one could qualify as a fortune:

Share your joys and sorrows with your family.
Society prepares the crime; the criminal commits it.
Wish you a long life.
You are sociable and entertaining.
If you want to have a friend, you have to be one.
Serious trouble will bypass you.

Honestly, fortune cookie manufacturers of the world: you can do better.

On an unrelated, holiday-oriented note, Christmas preparations continue:
Two of the Sons have purchased their Secret Santa presents for their assigned brothers.
The second Christmas tree is up and decorated.
The presents we already have bought, are wrapped. Which leaves me with an updated shopping list I need to tackle, this week.
My mother came down with her annual gingerbread house extravaganza and Christmas ornament shopping trip. We are all on a sugar high.
For the third year in a row, the ornament I chose broke, before we could get it out of the bag. Traditions, man.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

One Christmas Tree is up

Hubby and I have always done a real Christmas tree. A few years ago, we realized that the cats found the secret spots beneath the tree to be the ideal place to, um, "go", so we replaced the Christmas tree in the basement with an artificial tree.

You'd think that meant we stopped having a real tree, but no. Now we have the Christmas Morning Fake Basement Tree for present opening purposes, and the Upstairs Real Tree for smelling-like-Christmas purposes. Kind of excessive, for a Scrooge like me, but, ok, I can get with the program.

Today the house was fairly clean, I have 2 weeks before my next deadline, and so everything else can kind of wait a bit. I decided to crank up the tunes and decorate at least one tree.

The Upstairs Real Tree is now decorated. It is not a great tree--and Hubby has spoiled me with years of consistently breathtaking trees, so maybe a normal person would not even complain about the tree we've got. But I look at it and I think, "This tree is weird".

It's not just the tree. It's the ornaments.

We have a wooden ornament in the shape of Texas. We have no Texas history at all. No Texan family. Hubby and I have never been to Texas. But there is a red Texas on my tree. It says "Merry Christmas, Y'all!" All my blog readers in Texas can feel included in the holiday spirit at chez Waste of Time. Ok.

We also have a china dog bone with holly on it. My mother gave it to us, for our dog. She gives us a dog ornament every year, because one day Otis will move out and have a tree of his own and this way he'll have a head start on an ornament collection. Only this dog bone looks for all the world like an erection. A big brown dog bone is fucking my tree, right by the living room window. But it has holly and ribbons on it, so it's festive, OK?

We have the collection of ornaments made by the Sons, when they were smaller, and even a few I made myself as a young girl. No problem there. A certain level of homemade tackiness is important to the holiday. But WHAT possessed Son #1's teacher to use that photo? The one where his poor little 2nd-grade self looks like he would rather stab himself in the eye than pose for the shot? Eh, she was a crappy teacher and we all hated her, anyway. Fine.

Now that I look at it, I think the tree is perfect, for this year. A little quirky, a little obnoxious, a bit of an attitude problem in spots, but all sparkly-glowy where it counts.

Merry Christmas, y'all.

Friday, December 12, 2008

It's not exactly Frost/Nixon, but...

Penelope has agreed to interview me. If you'd like to play along, the rules follow at the bottom. And you should. It's your chance to be risk-taking AND the center of attention.

1. As we know, you have 4 sons. Were you tempted to try again for a girl or do you think boys are best?

I think Hubby would have enjoyed a girl, but I would not wish a teenage daughter on anyone, so I am very happy with the 4 we have. Not to mention, my great-grandmother was the 17th child in her family, and the FIRST girl...so, you know, there was no guarantee I would have produced one, anyway.

2. You have a super bass playing husband. Would you be tempted to loan him out? (Across The Pond perhaps?) ;o)

For bass playing purposes? Oh, absolutely. He lays down some of the funkiest bass lines you'll ever hear in a crappy southern Maryland bar. He can also play drums, and some guitar. And he can open a beer with anything. So, you know, he is the life of any party. Of course, if he is going to cross the pond to play bass, he will need a roadie---I think I qualify.

3. If you could do any job at all, what would it be?

I would love to be able to write more, and do more creative stuff. Not art, exactly, but interesting and decorative things. All of which requires much more time. Because, dammit, those 4 sons of mine have a nasty habit of trashing the house and requiring transportation all over the known world. So, in a way, I am fortunate in that I can SEE my ideal job, and occasionally brush my hand against it. Makes me think that at some point I will be able to achieve it all.

4. What do you never leave home without?
My GPS. A small, digital camera. My cell phone (although today Son #2 took it to school, so I have been groping for it all afternoon). And a heaping helping of Catholic guilt.

5. What is your secret to a successful family life?

Here is the small print if you would like to play along. Bear in mind that if you do, I'll be the one asking the questions this time!

Link back to the original post - in my case that was this.

Put the rest of the rules in your post:

1. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me." (Or email me cebasham at gmail dot com)
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. I get to pick the questions.
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

So, to all and sundry, you really should ask me to interview you. I promise to be...aw, heck, I promise nothing, but it might be fun. Thanks, Penelope!

Son #1 Has Advice on Women, Too

The other day, I posted some advice on guys, from Son #1. Coincidentally, yesterday he offered some advice on us women, too. And although it pains me to say it, he is, again, correct.

Long story slightly less long: Son #1 has a friend--a friend who is on the edgy end of the spectrum, but who seems to have cut back on much of his wilder behavior, in recent years. This boy also has been polite to me and loves my cooking. So, you know, he's OK, even though I know his sordid past.

Unfortunately, Son #1 has started dating this guy's ex-girlfriend. The girlfriend, and her friends, have started some nasty rumors. The other day, Son #1's edgy friend believed all the rumors and assumed they were coming from Son #1, so he sent a group of kids to jump him in the school parking lot.

Son #1 has used a mixture of bravado ("Beat me up? You're half my size. You're not beating NOTHING. Stop sending your friends and fight me like a man.") and reason ("Dude! I don't know anything about these rumors. I don't want to fight you!") to smooth things over.

Last night, I think he settled it all, with one more phone call to Edgy Friend (who, all threats aside, skipped school yesterday). This is what I heard:

"Man, they are teenage girls. They are going to make drama. They are going to start rumors. They are going to blow things out of proportion. You can't let what they say change what you're doing. You can't make them stop spreading rumors and going crazy. You just have to let it go."

I'm proud of my son for his surprising store of wisdom, but just a tad embarrassed for my gender.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

So what DOES she know?

Yesterday Hubby and I took 3 of the Sons out for some trashy-but-satisfying fast food and familial conversation, without the need for dish-washing.

Son #2 was talking about his history teacher, who has spent the past few weeks praising the merciful, useful Social Security system which only has minor problems and which protects us from ourselves, by saving our money for us and giving it back to us when we need it, because "Most Americans are too undisciplined to save for their own retirement":

"She had never heard of a Ponzi scheme, so I explained it to her. Whenever there's something like that, that she doesn't know, she calls me up to her desk and asks me to explain it to her quietly, so the other students don't hear it. Then she goes on with her lesson and doesn't mention it to the class."

Son #2 comes home from school most days with some basic piece of information that his teacher swears she's never heard before. Most of the time, according to Son #2, his teacher's main goal seems to be to ensure that the rest of her students never hear about that stuff, either. Is she embarrassed by her own ignorance? Is she using her classroom to promote a political agenda?

In the spirit of "You can learn something from anyone", and "Son #2 should find something to respect in his teacher, because she is his teacher," I asked him, "Well, what does she know?"

I figured he'd say, "Well, she really loved teaching about the War of 1812" or "She gave us so much information on the Whig party that I thought it was going to come out my eyeballs" or something.


"Well, she knows Republicans are evil."

I would say she probably knows a lot about whales, too.

In The Know: Are Our Children Learning Enough About Whales?

Saturday, December 06, 2008

A Meme Stolen from Penelope

69 Questions Guaranteed You've Never Answered. (Not sure who guarantees it but that's what it said on the tin.)

1. Would you bang your neighbor? Dear lord, no.

2. What describes your relationship status? Married, but someone last night thought I was hubby's girlfriend, so I guess we're sufficiently affectionate.

3. Where are you? In the living room.

4. What's the last movie you've seen? I think it might have been iGo To Japan--a TV movie. Does that count?

5. The last person you held hands with? Hubby

6. Who Is Your Best Friend? I seem to have several in the running.

7. Who have you talked to most today? Hubby, so far.

8. Do you carve pumpkins every year? I did every year for about 17 years, but this year I didn't...and someone smashed my pumpkin.

9. Color of your underwear? Purple and black

10. Color of your shirt? Navy blue

11. I'm always... swamped

12. Who's on speed dial 2? 4? 6? I don't use it.

13. Honestly, how many people do you have feelings for? I have feelings about everyone I know, I think.

14. Whats your favorite season? Summer.

15. Good advice if you ever go camping? Don't invite me, as I hate camping!

16. Are you a bad influence? On occasion. But I'm not going to make you do something you wouldn't do.

17. Rather have your name or your siblings name? Mine.

18. Would you do anything for someone else? I'll do some things for some people but there aren't too many people I'd do ANYTHING for.

20. Have you ever been called a bitch? Just once, that I know about.

21. Have you ever been called a slut? Yes.

22. What is your ringtone? A horrible piece of non-music.

24. Are your grades good? Thank goodness I don't need to worry about that anymore!

25. Do you ever think people hate you for filling these out? Naaah.

26. Does your best friend(s) have a nexopia? I don't know what a nexopia is!

27. Whose page did you visit last? Penelope's blog--that's when I stole her meme.

28. Last time you went out to lunch? Son #4 and I stopped at Taco Bell on Wednesday.

30. Who is your favorite character from Friends? I take the 5th.

31. Do you have a tattoo? Nope.

32. Do you want one? Not really.

33. Do you have one or more Britney Spears CD? No.

34. What did you do last night? Danced to Hubby's band at the office Christmas party, helped the band load up their equipment. Hung out with Hubby, afterwards. Great fun.

35. Are you a LOST fanatic? No. I kind of hate TV, most of the time.

36. What's your name spelled backwards? Unpronounceable.

37. Do you have a song by Ozzy Osbourne in your library? We have some Ozzy.

38. iPod or Zune? Neither

39. Do you watch Family Guy regularly? I've only seen maybe 2 episodes.

40. King of the Hill? See the answer above.

41. Do you read trashy romance novels often? No.

42. What's the last thing you bought? I'm doing a lot of online Christmas shopping.

43. What's the last thing someone bought you? Hubby bought me a drink at a bar the other day.

44. Do you ever sing obnoxiously in the shower? Not too obnoxiously, I don't think.

45. What's in your CD player right now? Amy's mix CD.

46. What's your favorite movie? Maybe The Manchurian Candidate.

47. Another favorite movie? The Shawshank Redemption.

48. Do you believe everyone has a soul mate? Not really.

49. Can you sing? Not well enough for other people, but I have fun in the car.

50. Do you play any instruments? No.

53. Are you ever a freak about cleanliness or organization? No, unfortunately.

54. Have you ever been to South America or Africa? No.

55. Do you know how to knit? A little.

56. Do you have a job? I work, but I don't have a job.

57. Have you ever written love song lyrics yourself and put them on nexopia? No.

58. What are you doing right now besides this survey? Talking to a friend and wishing I had some tea.

59. Last place you went for vacation? New York

60. Favorite number? I don't have one.

61. Physics or chemistry? I took chemistry.

62. Facebook or Myspace? Neither

64. R-rated or G-rated movies? Can both be good, and both can stink.

66. Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, or Star Wars? Star Wars.

67. Fly or road trip? Either.

68. Batman, Spiderman, or Superman, or the Hulk, or SilverSurfer? Spider-Man.

69. What's your favorite Disney movie? Snow White, maybe?

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Advice on Guys, from a Guy

Son #1, who is 17:

"You know why I love talking to J--- on the phone? He calls, we make plans to do something, he hangs up. He doesn't ask me how my day went. Because unless you're a girl, and you're cute, guys don't want to talk to you on the phone for an hour."

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

He knows the words, but not the tune

I took Son #2 to the art supply store and a teenager was running the cash register. The woman behind me (grandmotherly type) approached the register and said sweet-faced teen smiled at her and said, "How's it hangin', ma'am?"

Monday, December 01, 2008

How to be a writer

...a writer cannot afford to give in to feelings of rage, disgust, or contempt. Did you answer someone in a temper? If so, you didn't hear him out and lost track of his system of opinions. You avoided someone out of disgust--and a completely unknown personality slipped out of your ken--precisely the type you would have needed some day. But, however tardily, I nonetheless caught myself and realized I had always devoted my time and attention to people who fascinated me and were pleasant, who engaged my sympathy, and that as a result I was seeing society like the Moon, always from one side.

Alexsandr I Solzenitzyn
The Gulag Archipelago Two

Saturday, November 29, 2008

When a man loves a woman? Really, Percy?

Was just listening to "When A Man Loves A Woman" and it struck me: no way he is singing about the love a man has for a woman:

He'd give up all his comfort
Sleep out in the rain
If she says that's the way it ought to be

You just show me the woman who insists her man abandon a comfortable place to camp in inclement weather. No, if a man is sleeping out in the rain, I will lay you odds his wife is sitting in the car, bitching. Probably texting her friends, too, to document that her husband took her camping in a typhoon.

But, hey, I am forever grateful for the man who loves this woman to put up with my heaping helping of crap. Just, you know--he can rest assured I will not insist he sleep out in the rain. Ohhh, no.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Christine's Product Round-Up

As in, you need this stuff:

Wal-Mart has these Fudge Marshmallow Cookies--they are basically the world's most nearly perfect PMS food, and I only discovered them yesterday. Get them. Great Value brand.

Green Logic ELIMINATOR--a friend sent me a bottle and that stuff is AMAZING. It is the only cleaning product I have ever used which makes things smell like--nothing. Not flowers-and-stink, not chemicals-and-stink, but rather like...clean air. It is terrific.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Paperwork, and other joys

The dishes are done. The laundry is done. I have flushed all the dog poop I can find. Hubby's library books are neatly stacked, ready for return, next to the giant bag of recyclable paper trash which I will deposit after my trip to the gym. I've fought the insurance company (and won!)and have a small but manageable stack of paperwork to mess with and file, this morning, while nagging children to do their school work.

I love Monday mornings. I feel so competent.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Because I'm a genius, that's why

Son #1 flipped out a couple of weeks ago, because his uniform was not ready on the day he needed it. I could almost see his brain processing the thought: "Mom may not do all my laundry every day." The other day, he did a load of laundry on his own, because he needed a shirt. His room, while not clean, is slightly less terrifying. And he has cut back on his work hours, because he decided that his grades would come up if he did. Clearly, on some level, my "Hey, it's YOUR life, you've got to figure out how to make it work," speeches have sunk in.

Also this week, I had a massive craving for Russian Tea. You know, the stuff with the Tang in it. I found a recipe online. It is full of sugar. I don't want a lot of sugar, and tend to find most things too sweet, anyway, but if you don't put the sugar in the proportions are all wrong. But we have that powdered flavorless fiber stuff...which I am now going to use in place of the sugar in the recipe, so that it measures like it should, but is now not a Secret Evil Treat, but instead a Healthy Nutritional Supplement.

I have been going through the house looking for stuff to eBay (in addition to the stuff I'm eBaying for a friend, on commission), leading to a small infusion of cash each week. Feel pretty good about that.

My spin instructor says my form is perfect. I would rather have a perfect BODY and crappy form, but I will take what I can get.

The family Christmas cards have arrived, and I got Christmas stamps at the post office, and I have put them aside to work on at my friend's annual Christmas Prep Party. I also have found some very cool Christmas gifts. Not anywhere near enough, but I have a handle on the holiday, and it's not even Thanksgiving yet.

For some reason, Hubby's Cat has decided to spend some time with me, on occasion. I have no idea why. Or maybe I do. Maybe she has just noticed my recent small victories, and wants me to know I finally do not suck.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

For the Foghat Fan

EVERYBODY needs a ladies' size Medium tank top, signed by the members of Foghat. Am I right?

That's the way, uh-huh, uh-huh, I like it, uh-huh

I have been pissing and moaning about the cold, rainy weather and short days to just about everyone. Endless summer, where did you go? Today, lemme make up for that a bit with Things I Like:

Leaf stains: you know, when leaves fall on the sidewalk and it's rainy and they get plastered there and then a couple of days later they get swept OFF the sidewalk and the tannins (or whatever) have made stains on the sidewalk in the shapes of the leaves? I think that is beautiful. I think we need more sidewalks, not just for safe walking and general orderliness, but also for the fall leaf art.

Claritin: because November is when my allergies kick in. Claritin D, you are especially awesome.

Long drives: and tomorrow, I get to take one, as I'll be covering a meeting a couple of hours from the Happy Boondocks.

Teenagers: Especially boys. And it's a good thing, too, because my house is full of them, much of the time.

My laptop: No, I LOVE my laptop. Nothing makes solitary housework go faster than being able to drag the laptop around and IM people. Even if all we're IMing about is the general boring nature of the day. Cherry Blossom, I'm talking to YOU!

Scented Candles: BJs sells a line made by the Yankee Candle people--so, you know, smells like the real thing at 1/4 the price. Yesterday I got a new candle. Smells like punch-under-the-Christmas-tree. And covers up the scent of Dog Ownership.

My Spot: When Hubby is watching TV in bed, one of our cats generally parks herself in his right armpit. That Damn Dog takes a knee. The other cat may take up a guard position at the corner of the bed. That leaves me left-side-of-Hubby. It is the snuggliest spot anywhere, and I love it.

And, this morning, as is the case most days, I love me some unsweetened, iced black tea.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Advice for the President-Elect

Sure, I have my opinions on what President Obama should do, once he's in office. Somehow I doubt he'd be interested in my ideas on missile defense in Poland. I'm no expert in international relations.

As a mom, though, let me set the man straight.

In a couple of months, President Obama is going to move his family across the country. He will have a new job, arguably one of the most important jobs in the nation. His wife will have a new job, too. They'll have a new house which they pretty much have to redecorate. Their daughters will be in new schools. The entire family is going to be exhausted, and stressed, and disoriented. They'll be lucky to spend time together, just the four of them.

Honey, now is not the time to get a new puppy.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

It's not an "extra", it's a "necessity"

10:00 Spilled OJ on the seat of my car. Cleaned it up. Went inside. Washed my hands.
10:05 loaded the dishwasher. Washed my hands.
10:07 loaded the washing machine. Washed my hands.
10:20 found dog poop on the bedroom rug. Washed my hands.
10:25 went to the bathroom. Washed my hands.
10:30 found dog poop on the living room rug. Washed my hands.

Yeah, right about now if I don't use some hand lotion my arms are going to fray.

Yeah, I voted

Saturday, November 01, 2008

The thing about guys who wear shirts like this

We have several pictures of this guy, with members of the band. But the thing I always think is, "The dude with the shirt on put it on so he could spend the evening wrapping his arm around guys."

I think we know who REALLY loves the cock, don't we?

You know what I blame this on the breakdown of?

Last night we had one trick-or-treater. One.

We also had someone come by to steal our pumpkin.

Yeah, the pumpkin that I did not have to carve, this year, so I was going to cook it. So I was going to get a holiday decoration AND food out of it. It is probably smashed on the highway right now.

You know what I blame this on the breakdown of?


Pounding Sand at Cadillac Jack's

Hubby's latest band, Pounding Sand, played their first paying gig tonight.
The drummer's wife was there, and a few friends of the band, and a few other people, but basically it was a quiet night.


The singer's girlfriend's sister got beat up in the parking lot. Six police cars responded to the scene.

I got there after 5 of the cruisers had left, and realized that I have a plan in place for these situations: If you arrive at a bar with a cop car in the parking lot, park next to the cop car.

See? I am bolder than those people who might see a cop car and keep driving.

A guy we know arrived rather lit. He continued drinking. He danced with the singer's girlfriend, drank the drummer's wife's White Russian, told us all he wanted to get married but "didn't know how to make it happen", and then stumbled into someone carrying a tray full of drinks, so that the straw wedged itself behind his eyeglasses.

He left after that.

The group of us who came to see the band sat together while the band packed up and critiqued the evening. That's not something I usually do with anyone other than Hubby, but it was interesting none the less. It's good to hear other people's perspectives. For the most part, they agreed with me on what went well, and what went badly.

Now, Hubby is home, going over the tapes, and I am looking over the leftover Halloween candy. The bowl is suffering from continued overcrowding. I'll have to do something about that.

On a semi-related note, at one point the guitarist, embarrassed by a mistake he made, said, "I'm not getting laid, tonight!" and Hubby leaned into his microphone and said, "But I will."

I think I have become altogether too predictable. Not that I'm going to change on that score!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I Gave My Sole to the VA GOP

Brick, Veggie Blonde, Sons #3 and 4 and I had a great time in the rain at the Palin rally in Fredericksburg yesterday.

Lots of people wore red.

This woman in particular made my day: She caught me hopping a fence OUT of the press area (I did not realize I was IN the press area) and yanked my sleeve. When I nearly toppled onto her, and told her not to touch me, she freaked out...and apparently talked about me for the next 20 minutes. Later, I decided that fighting her, and getting arrested, would have been very cool. But Whaddya want? At least I can be snarky on my blog.

And no, I haven't lost my ability to spell. The sole of my shoe fell off on the hike back to the parking garage. Stylish, perhaps, but definitely not the choice for a rainy day.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Field Trip

Today Sons #3 and 4 and I are picking up Veggie Blonde and Brick (and Son of Brick) to drive to Fredericksburg, VA to see Sarah Palin speak.

Yeah, I know. If you hate her, just humor me for the day.

Also planned--a trip to what is supposed to be the best Goodwill store, ever.

If I get any good pictures, I'll post them tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Snacks, but no crackers.

Today Hubby asked me to drive to Wheaton with his amplifier. I could tell he felt bad, sending me on a long drive, but...honestly I love to drive, and I love being in the DC 'burbs.

The repair place thought, briefly, that they'd be able to fix his amp while I waited, so I hit four (count 'em! four!) ethnic markets before finding out that no, the amp is going to require a lot more help and parts from distant lands.

I now have rose water and orange blossom water on my desk, and my wrists reek of orange blossoms.

I have halva, which is delicious, and 2 of the sons agree with me that it tastes just like insides of a Butterfinger bar. I am guessing that is where the Butterfinger people got the idea.

The freezer has all manner of frozen Asian meaty things, which I can just pop in the toaster oven. and I have Indian curry awaiting the microwave.

I have a bag full of a vegetable I buy in large part because the name sounds, to English-speakers, obscene. But, yeah, they are delicious, too. Points to anyone who can guess what they are.

I have cheese and meat from the Italian deli where my grandmother used to buy her refrigerated pizza dough. They still sell the dough. And I just discovered today that Hubby used to go there for lunch, in high school. Small world, man. I wonder if I ever saw him in there.

Unlike the Happy Boondocks, where I almost seem ethnic myself, in Wheaton I was clearly a member of the Boring White Minority. Which was interesting.

I am home, stuffed, beat, but satisfied. And already planning my next trip to The Big City...

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Total Waste of Time FAQs

Before you contact us, please browse through the following FAQs; we may have already answered your question!

Where are the socks?
I think they are in Son #3 or Son #4's rooms. They don't wear socks all that much, so they tend to collect there.

Have you fed/walked the dog?
Yes. Don't listen to him, he lies.

Is Son #1 there?
No. If he were here, he would have answered the phone before I had a chance. He is at work.

How can you tell your cats apart?
Jake is bigger. He is rougher looking. He has a pointy face and a white spot on his hind foot. Ellie is soft, delicate, and feminine.

Were you trying for a girl?

Who are you here with?
The bass player. Or, alternatively, the drummer. Because Hubby can do both.

Where did you get those shoes?
The thrift store. Almost always. Some chick with fantastic taste in shoes keeps dumping them and I LOVE HER.

When are you going to get a full-time job?
When I am no longer in charge of all these sons, I think.

Can I have some tea?
Can we go to Blockbuster today?
Can we get pizza/Chinese food/5 Guys Burgers & Fries for dinner?
What gas goes in the lawn mower?
When is the internet going to be back?
Go ask your father.

What kind of stuff do you write?
I used to do a lot of advertorial stuff. I write features for commercial and trade magazines, and I have written some creative nonfiction for anthologies, and a few short fiction pieces. I have also done some writing for corporate web sites. I will write pretty much anything, if you pay me. That's why Hubby calls me "Presstitute".

If this does not answer your question, feel free to contact us at Total Waste of Time. Your time is very important to us! Have a great day.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I want a bucket of carp

Hubby saw something on Mythbusters about sticking your feet in a bucket of fish, to let the fish eat the dead skin off of your feet. Amazingly, that was not the "myth" part.

Why am I hearing about this after it's been declared unsanitary? Dammit, I want to keep a bucket of tiny carp under my desk, so I can have continuous pedicure action while I'm working and futzing online.

Hubby suggested that my feet would not have enough dead skin to sustain a bucket full of fish. I offered to let him use my bucket, too, but he refused. Man has no idea what he's missing.

I do appreciate that he noticed that my feet are sufficiently soft and cute to not require the fishbucket.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Request for Submissions: Girlhood Stories

My buddy Amy is working on some sort of book projecty-thing--it may end up a book, or maybe a web site, or maybe some whole new thing. No clue, at this point. What I do know is, she's soliciting submissions from girls and women.

Amy wants to look back at our girlhood and see what we were, before we became women. The sweetness of it, if there was any, but really any other things that we remember about that time in our lives.

If you are a woman (Sorry, guys, Amy is not particularly interested in your input on this one!) with something to say, send it to Amy, ok? Essays, poetry, anything you think might communicate what you have to say about your girlhood, or girlhood in general. Let 'er rip, so to speak. And when "it" becomes whatever "it" is going to be, I'll tell everyone about it, here.

At this point, Amy is not at all sure where things are going, and so she also does not know if this is something that at some point might become a "paying market". So, I would say, do it if you want to, and enjoy it for what it is.

Want contact info? Comment here, or email me, and I'll send it on.


Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Hubby's Favorite Meatloaf

Hubby grew up in a restaurant family: not just a family that ate out a lot, but a family with a lot of restaurant owners in it.

I grew up in a house where, well, if it was Friday we were eating tuna patties and it didn't matter if they were horrible it was Friday and Mom had made them and there were children starving in Asia and finish your peas.

This sometimes means that I have a hard time cooking for him. It's a cultural difference.

And then there are times when, well, the fact that he is a guy completely overrules all of that, and he eats stuff I cannot imagine ever putting in my mouth.

Like the time he fished a week-old pork chop out of the dog's dish. Yeah. He did that.

The other night, I was going to make meatloaf. For reasons which will become abundantly clear, it turned into one of those items I would never, ever eat. But Hubby was thrilled. So, here's

Hubby's Favorite Meatloaf
*Defrost a bag of frozen ground beef.

*Take off your mother's ring, and slide it onto the finger with your wedding ring on it, because that ring does. not. come. off. (it could, it just isn't gonna)

*Dump the defrosted meat in a bowl. Add 2 eggs. Add the last of Emeril's BAM IT! Salad Seasoning because lately everything you put that stuff on turns to familial culinary gold.

*Contemplate adding some oats, or quinoa, or cracker crumbs, because you usually do, but...Hubby is on a low-carb diet, so decide to skip that.

*Smoosh everything together with your one bare hand. It's clean, because you are a mom so you wash your hands all day.

*Dump it into a loaf pan, and smoosh it up against one end so there is a slice of loaf-less pan in which the fat can collect.

*Cover it in KC Masterpiece barbeque sauce.

*Bake it at 450 for an hour.

*Leave the house, and remember that the meatloaf is nearly done.

*Call home, and tell whoever answers the phone to turn off the oven, because you're going to be driving all over town.

*Get home an hour later, and discover that the meatloaf is still baking. Turn off the oven.

*Declare the meatloaf completely inedible, because it resembles the world's largest Kingsford briquette. Make grilled cheese for the Sons. Go to bed.

*Wake up the next morning and discover the briquette is STILL in the oven. It is black and hard and cold. Mention you are going to throw it away.

*When you see Hubby's distraught face, shove the charred thing in a tupperware container and put it in the fridge. Wait 10 hours.

*Microwave the lump.

For some reason, burned, abandoned food really appeals to my husband. I think the only thing I could have done to improve it would have been if I had let the dog lick it, first.

And it's a banner day, at Chez Christine

Today, Son #2 got his braces off. He is thrilled, naturally. And I was going to mention that to all my bloggy people, definitely. Especially since the orthodontist sent him back to school with a giant bag of chewy, sticky, hard, sugary stuff he was not supposed to go NEAR for the past few years. Understanding goes a long way.

But holy beans, you know what ELSE just happened?

Son #3 just bagged the trash and took it out. I noticed, and thanked him for seeing something that needed to be done, and doing it, unasked. His response?

"Yeah, well...it's my house, too."

Not ALL of my kids have figured that one out. But it is wonderful when one of them makes it clear that he understands that he is part of a community.

Monday, October 06, 2008

These fashion people...what a sense of humor

Here is a design by Pierre Cardin.

And here is La Pierre Himself.

Clearly, he is laughing his ass off, as he cashes those checks from le chic. I just gotta hand it to the man.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Wisdom of the Day

"Soooo, are you ever going to blog again?" she asked. Yeah, I know, I suck cheese.

Instead of blogging, the past few days I have been organizing the house. It is dreadfully dull and does not provide much in the way of blog fodder. I got nothin', ok? Be grateful I am not telling you about the mildew in the hall bathroom or the dust next to the washer.

But in my heaps of paper (I am working on my desk, today) I found the following:

"This is the work of those who are skilled and peaceful, who seek the good: May they be able and upright, straightforward, of gentle speech and not proud. May they be content and easily supported, unburdened, with their senses calmed. May they be wise, not arrogant and without desire for the possessions of others. May they do nothing mean or that the wise would reprove. May all things be happy. May they live in safety and joy.

--Metta Suta

Something to think about, as I clean, I guess.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Miracle Snack of the Day: Lemon Popcorn

Get ready to thank me.

Pop a big pot of corn on the stove. Do not salt it. Instead, sprinkle on one of those tubes of lemon flavored splenda stuff you're supposed to use to flavor a bottle of water. Live a little: use 2 tubes.

Toss the corn around.

Eat it.

You're welcome.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


Hubby wanted to go to Wal-Mart.

He considered changing out of his holey t-shirt, but, well, we were only going to Wal-Mart.
I went, too. In the hotpants I was wearing while my jeans were in the wash.
Son #3 came with us, sporting 2 kinds of plaid.
And Son #4 was, naturally, a shaggy 12 year old in a band t-shirt.

We have completely adapted to the boondocks lifestyle.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

...And Everything Else that Goes On in This Household

In Honor of Our Friends in Houston

Hubby keeps saying that it's just a matter of time before we end up in Houston. Not entirely sure why that is (although a big, hot, Southern city sounds just right to me) but I am glad we're not there just now.

In honor of our friends in Houston, Hubby and I had a little bit of our own Hurricane Ike experience, last night and this morning:

We cleaned up standing water (because someone knocked the refrigerator plug out of the socket and everything melted on the kitchen floor).

We discarded defrosted food (don't worry, it was just yesterday's pitcher of frozen mochas. I can make more.)

Hubby spent some time in the dark, cursing (because he banged his foot on a broken rocking chair that was sitting in the kitchen.)

We got hot & sweaty (oooh, baby, and on a Tuesday night, too!)

We found a roofing shingle on our deck (Hmmm...that's what you get for buying your house from the widow of a Stand Up Guy.)

I burned myself, lighting a candle.

I resigned myself to waiting for repairmen (the fridge and the lawn tractor, this time.)

So, to Jill, Casey, and all the rest, just know that Hubby and I are totally in solidarity with you.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Not feelin' the love

I keep sending out queries, and hearing nothing back. My editor's inbox is so full, she can't open the photos I sent to go with my latest travel piece. "Wait a few days, until I can clear it out," she says. My own inbox is crammed with spam, and little else. About the only creative writing I do is to describe my latest offerings on eBay.

I am just not feelin' the internet love, these days. I think I'll have some cookie dough.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Proof I Married a Man

Last week, three county schools (including the one Son#1 attends part-time) were on lockdown because someone called in a bogus suicide threat. Son #1 just told me that he found out who it was who called in the threat, and that the kid is in custody being charged as an adult, and his parents owe the county $10,000 for the hassle.

And we know the kid.

This is a kid I used to babysit, years ago, in exchange for haircuts from his mother, the extremely talented and expensive hairdresser. Sweet kid (or so I thought) and growing up to be a handsome young man.

Son #1 always said this boy was bad news, but I didn't really believe it until the boy started breaking skateboards over Son #1's head, selling drugs, and such. I've blogged about him before. That kid.

Son #1 tells me this juicy piece of gossip and of course my first instinct, even as he is spooling out the details, is to flip open my cell phone and call Hubby.

"Oh, yeah, he mentioned that a couple days ago," he said. "I forgot."

Yup. Proof positive. Hubby is definitely not a woman.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

saRAH! saRAH! saRAH!

I have been moaning about the Presidential candidates for ages. Well, actually, I had STOPPED moaning. I had pretty much resigned myself to holding my nose and voting, when the time came.


Sweet Jesus, I have a girl-crush on Sarah Palin. SHE is the one I've been waiting for. I am so excited about the election, now.

This one, and the one in 2016.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Hey, I'm all for good food, but

...some of y'all are insufferably snotty.

I gotta agree with the first person who said the truth---HALFWAY through the list: American cheese and white bread, dude. I would also suggest the addition of a slice o' ham, and some good tomatoes. It's a thing of beauty.

But the people who insist upon 3 different kinds of artisanal cheeses, layered in a specific pattern? WHO do they think they ARE?

It's a sandwich, ok?

Sunday, August 31, 2008

What Surrender Looks Like

After guest-posting at Sue's blog, I felt honor-bound to try Vegemite. But I failed. Failed miserably. I went to five stores before finding the next-best thing, Marmite.

Son #1 is at work. Hubby refused to even consider trying it. But the rest of us have given Marmite a shot, spread, thinly on buttered toast. And here is the verdict:

Son #2: I'm never eating Redcoat food again, ever.

Son #3: I didn't mind it at first, but then it tasted terrible.

Son #4: At first, I liked it, but then it got kind of a bad aftertaste. So, I wouldn't eat it again, but, well, you have your own tastes. (He said this, mind you, after spitting his toast into the trash.)

And me? Well?

I like it. So sue me.

Although I have to say, I cannot imagine any American product with a notation on the label---right out front!---telling you you should not eat very much of it. I mean, do they WANT us to think it is bad?

Holy Mary, Mother of Hair Metal

We were invited to a party last night. Hubby's old band was the entertainment. And boy, were we entertained, in a perverse, schadenfreudey kinda way. Because since they gave Hubby the boot, they have become...an 80s hair metal band.

Actually, although the music they play is not what you'd call...great, they execute it pretty well. So, no real complaints there, and I think we both wish them well.

But the best part of all was seeing the Mother of Our Lord, front-and-center. Who knew she liked Def Leppard?

(Pour some sugar on mehhhhh, in the name of God! Pour some sugar on mehhhh....I'm made of concreeeete, from my head down to my feet, yeah!)

I'm sorry, it just is funny.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Looks like somebody in Chicago loves Shakes the Clown

Not me. Ohhhh, no. I could not sit through that movie if you paid me (although the part where they attack the mimes was weirdly satisfying).

But, hey, if you know a drunken clown in Chicago, he totally needs to visit craigslist.

What Hubby Said about Sarah Palin, before the pick

"I hope McCain picks that Alaskan Governor chick, for VP. She's hot."

I guess that makes her a candidate Hubby could get behind, if, um...she didn't slap his hand first.

Yeah, I know. I just could not help myself.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Theeeeeeese little town bluuuuuues arrrrrrrrre melting awaaaaaaay

Yeah, I had 'em. And, yeah, all it took was about 2 seconds of bright lights to shake me out of the doldrums. We are already planning our next trip back to NYC.

Coincidentally, today my mother asked if I wanted to join her, and my sister, and my great-aunt, for a trip to see the Rockettes this December. Yeah, in New York.

I turned her down.

Because no matter how much I want to go, I do not want to ride the Chinese Bus with my mother and sister. They would arrest me on arrival in New York. I just know it. Ain't worth it. My mom can say it will be fun, as many times as she likes, but that does not make it so.

And here is Hubby, again, with his old pal Satan, at the Hell's Kitchen Flea Market. Which rocked, hard core. I mean, they had a giant, inflatable Satan, OK? Top THAT.

I am Queen of eBay

Because I just listed my 20th auction item of the week. Best not sit still around here, or you'll find yourself up for bids online.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

To find I'm king of the hill--top of the heap

Ya know how New Yorkers all seem to act like they were born in the Cradle of Civilization? They are better than the rest of us, and they do not hesitate to let us know. It is kinda insufferable. But who's going to argue with a New Yorker? It's not worth the wasted breath.

It's also kind of understandable.

You can get anything in New York. Whenever.

Yesterday I spent about 90 minutes here in the Happy Boondocks, looking for Vegemite, with no success. I have every confidence that if I asked the concierge at our hotel where to find Vegemite at 2 am, he would tell me, "Ya turn left and walk to 8th. Go about 6 blocks, and there's a store..."

Then again, maybe my problem is not that I live in the Happy Boondocks. Maybe it's just that my house does not include concierge service.

Yes, I am a spoiled brat. 5 days in the Cradle of Civilization will do that to you.

This is a photo of a pair of shorts I think all parents of teenage daughters will appreciate. Available, naturally, in New York. Or at least they were in the shop window.

Son #1 is Accosted by Cougars

Last night we took Sons #1, 2 and 4 to see the 25th Hour Band. They are very talented and we had a great time. And here, for your viewing pleasure, is a rare glimpse of The Sons: Son #1, being accosted by cougars. They grabbed him and danced with him and he rolled with it. I think he is getting used to the idea that women in their 40s and 50s cannot get enough of that Son #1 Stuff. Pretty much the same reaction he gets from teen girls.

That's him, in the white and grey t-shirt, cringing as a woman older than his mother tries to plant a wet one on him.

What can I say? The boy is a force of nature.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Sue Loves Vegemite

And so shall we all. Or at least that is my hope. I'm guest posting over there on Sunday, so y'all should go visit. But come back, OK? I'll miss you.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

I wanna wake up in the city that doesn't sleep

Actually, that is where I woke up every morning, this summer. Because, as Fiddlin' Writer's husband will tell you, "if you don't stay on teenagers, they go nocturnal". Yesterday was the first day of school and I think they are back on target, mostly.

Back to New York, though: those people DO have something going all night long. One night, Hubby and I were watching a terrific band. No dance floor, though, so I was sitting. Which, come the wee hours, is a guarantee I'll fall asleep.

1:30 am, I asked Hubby to walk me back to our hotel. Which he did. But he asked me, on the walk, why I wanted to leave. Did I not like the band?

Um, no. I may feel like a city chick, but this boondocks-livin' woman needed to get to sleep. Back home, 1:30 am is pretty much "last call".

A few hours later, he returned, with the pizza-by-the-slice experience of a lifetime. I really should have gotten out of bed and had a bite. But, dude. The CITY may never sleep, but Christine is a big fan of shut-eye. BIG fan.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

In old Newwwwwww Yorrrrrrrrk

We didn't go toooooo overboard on the touristy stuff, but we did go to the top of Rockefeller Center, and then we took this photo down on the street. Or, I should say, Hubby took it while I ate a hot dog. I don't particularly like being 69 stories off the ground, but it was a beautiful view.

Can't Say They Didn't Warn You

For those of you who do not live in the Happy Boondocks with me: We live in a Navy town. Lots of non-military people still make a living off the water.

And yes, that is a strip joint in the background.

I laughed all the way home.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Sue asked for it, Sue got it

Sue said I should, so how could I argue?

A.) attached or single? Married 20 years last week. Remember? Anniversary trip?

(B.) best friend? Kate. She pushes, she pulls, she laughs when I take myself too seriously. She can handle anything but bullshit.

(C.) cake or pie? I'll have a little of each, please. With whipped cream.

(D.) day of choice? Mondays. I feel productive.

(E.) essential item? I love my Nuvi.

(F. ) favorite color? It changes. Just, you know, not pink.

(G. ) gummy bears or worms? No. Swedish Fish.

(H.) hometown? Gambrills. But it's been a long time. I've lived in Lexington Park longer, by now.

(I.) favorite indulgence? Frozen mochas.

(J. ) January or July? January SUCKS. What a dumb question.

(K. ) kids? 4 boys. 16, 14, 13, 12.

(L.) life isn't complete without? Change and challenge.

M.) marriage date? August 6, 1988. Because we wanted to start things "with a bang"...also, that was the day the O Club had open for our reception.

(N.) number of brothers & sisters? one sister. We are completely dissimilar.

(O.) oranges or apples? Yes, please.

(P.) phobias? Used to be water, sharks and heights. Don't like any of those, but not terrified like I was.

(Q.) quotes? "But what if your family doesn't like bread? What if they like, say, cigarettes?" -- Fat Tony, The Simpsons.

(R.) reasons to smile? Refocuses the mind.

(S.) season of choice? Summer.

(T.) tag seven peeps! You read this far? TAG, you're it!

(U.) unknown fact about me? In 7th grade, I tried to get everyone to call me "Betsy". It did not work.

(V.) vegetable? Yeah, I eat 'em. Better when someone else cooks them, usually.

(W.) worst habits? Tendency to stew.

(X.) x-ray or ultrasound? Have had 'em both.

(Y.) your favorite food? jalapeno poppers, at the moment.

(Z.) zodiac sign? Libra. Sheep. Any other calendars out there I am supposed to consult?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Laundry, etc

Hubby took Sons #3 and 4 to the beach today. They'll be back on Sunday. I stayed home, so that Son #1 could work. And Son #2 is happiest hermitting in his room, anyway. So, it's a quiet couple of days, ahead.

Coincidentally, our replacement washer arrived this morning. I am on my 5th load of laundry.

I am still using the crock pot pretty much continuously---yesterday was apple oatmeal (I like it better undercooked in the microwave) and tonight is French Onion Soup. Which, if you make it yourself, you realize is basically onions and way too much butter. But it's still good. And the whole house smells like caramelized onions. Which is cutting the "old laundry" stank. It's an improvement, really!

I figure I'll spend my time cleaning this place...school starts in a couple days and I am in no way ready.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I'm gonna make a braaaaaand new staaaart of it

We drove to NY and back, so our car was in a parking garage across the street from the hotel, but we didn't need it at all. We took the subway once, a taxi twice, but otherwise just hoofed it. Which was great, because when we were not walking we were eating. Remember the sandwich? Here it is again:

We also heard terrific music. Really, really great music. Blues at BB King's (awesome dinner, too), and rock at Smith's Bar, which, were it in southern Maryland, would feature drunken rednecks singing the wrong lyrics to an off-key Man in the Box, but in Manhattan had talented bands with singers who were almost good enough to make it. But not quite. We even bought a CD from one of the performers, mostly because we knew the girl deserved SOMETHING.

We saw Young Frankenstein, which was actually a musical. And still funny.

We ate Thai food. And it was disappointing. Not bad, exactly, but not as good as we can get here at home. Which was a great thing to discover. Something! We have SOMETHING they don't have!

Hubby also found fantastic bagels, crisp, delicious popcorn, and pizza by the slice that made him moan so hard I got jealous. I picked up black-and-white cookies for the Sons, and rugelach. Yum. And, yes, we spent $42 at the Hershey's store. Because, well, if you're going to be gone for 5 days you should come home with a boatload of candy.

These vagabond shoes are longing to stray

And so they did, up and down the streets of Manhattan for 5 days. Which was tremendous. So much to see, so much to do, so many blisters on Hubby's feet he could barely walk, some days. So, we became intimately acquainted with the Foot Care section of Duane Reade, and I switched my hot stilettos for a pair of flip flops.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Crunchy cockpot beans

In my continuing enthusiasm for all things crock pot, I made the garbanzo beans-that-are-supposed-to-be-like-cornnuts. I cooked them for about 20 hours, instead of the 10 on the recipe. At 10 hours, they were not crunchy.

But now, mmmmmmm.

They are not exactly as crunchy as a cornnut, but then again they are not exactly junk food, either. I am contentedly snacking on roasted garbanzo beans at my desk, in a house full of candy, cake, and other junk. So that has got to tell you something.

I am definitely making these again.

I wanna beeeee a part of it! New York, New Yorrrrrrk!

Ah, the street sounds.

Hubby gave me his wireless internet thingy so I could keep up with email and such. Mostly I used it to tell people I need to move to New York. Or, better yet, a giant New York-like city in a conservative, Southern state.

Houston? Are you listening? You need me. Hubby says so.

So I would walk down to Starbucks or Jamba Juice or the Asian-owned deli, hit the salad bar and hang out upstairs while Hubby slept...chatting with friends, writing, surfing the net, but most importantly just listening to the city.

Why is it that TV sounds grate on my nerves, but sirens and traffic do not?

The deli bars were great. Huge, varied, and fresh. And it is easy to find unsweetened jasmine tea.

Cynthia just went on a big rant about how great it is to live here in the middle of nowhere, because you can get perfect tomatoes and cucumbers and sea salt. Oh, PLEASE. New York has all that, too. Only they have it in the middle of the city, and it will cost you.

Sing it, Eva!

Here's the front of our hotel. We were just steps away from Times Square. The room itself was nothing out of the ordinary, but the location was PERFECT. That little green awning is at the deli.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Crock Pot Mac & Cheese

Cynthia told me about a year of crockpotting, and I told Amy. Now all 3 of us have the crockpot bug. Amy made the mac&cheese last night, to mixed reviews, so I tried it tonight.

It is not the amazing miracle food they say, but it is pretty good. And, you know, it is homemade and real food. Perhaps I will tweak the recipe, in future. I did kinda customize it already, though:

wholegrain noodles (it's what we buy, folks)
1% milk (see above)
we didn't have dry mustard, so I used some Goulden's...don't laugh!
and the cheese was about half American, half cheddar, with about 1/4 c shredded brie (because it was sitting in the fridge looking lost)

Sons #3 and 4 have tried it and declared it OK, "but there's something in there that makes it not so good. I can't tell what."

I'mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm leavin' tadaaaaayyyyy

My husband and I got home from vacation last night. Which means we had to pick my kids up from my mom's place, on the way. Over the 5 days we were gone:
My oldest son was FORCED to get a haircut.
His best friend's girlfriend showed her true colors (she is a whore, just like my son's girlfriend, and probably all girls, because girls are crazy and heartless), requiring hours of daily telecommunication, and then we wouldn't go pick the friend up at 11pm after 9 hours in the car because my husband and I are unreasonable (and wanted to go home and have sex instead, but of course my son did not know that).
My mother and her younger brother got into a loud argument about religion and politics in which my mother came out looking like a loon. They may never speak again, and the sons are convinced my uncle was 100% right in his opinions, mainly because he did not scream, cry, or stomp his feet to express them.
My oldest son's manager at his new job forgot to write down our vacation schedule, so he missed 3 shifts for which he never should have been scheduled. Said son wants to use his relatives' positions of authority in the company to get the manager fired. He has no understanding of the fact that he is a 16 year old busboy who's been employed for less than a month. My husband and I are mortified at the idea that he might start throwing his (nonexistent) weight around at work.
My second son has no life (according to the oldest).
My third son is a big wimp (according to the oldest).
My oldest son is a real jerk (according to the entire carload, after this harangue).
All my youngest son got from our trip to NY was a tshirt.
And gas was more expensive here than in the city we passed on the way home. By about 20 cents a gallon.
I had not checked my email in a couple days, so my spam box has 1081 items in it. No, wait, 1084.
Our washer has been out of commission for over a month, and was finally deemed irreparable this morning. So Hubby and I spent a chunk of the day at Sears, arranging for replacement.
I had to take our son to a school conference today because he spent last year acting like school was a place to meet girls, instead of the place that gives you grades for work you do. Every teacher will tell me "He's a very intelligent young man, a joy to be with, with a great grasp of the material, but he never turned anything in."
This morning the publisher of my most consistent writing gig called to tell me that they will no longer be using the kinds of articles they hired me to write. So, you know, there's $5200/year I will have to find another way to earn.
There's more, ok? But our vacation was great and I feel pretty good about life in general, but...let's just say we hit reality pretty hard, today.

But here is a photo of me at the Carnegie Deli. I am to the left of the waitress holding the pastrami and corned beef sandwich which originally inspired this trip to New York.

Staaaaaaaart spreadin' the newwwwwwwws

We're back!
Much thanks to Andrea and ALF for ensuring that I still have a blog even though I ignored it completely while we were on vacation.

For those of you who discovered my blog because you love ALF, well, let me just say that you will probably never see a grass-related post here, because as far as I am concerned grass is something of which you are only vaguely aware until it is time to pay Son #2 to mow it.

New York was flippin' AWESOME. I had been there briefly, before, about 22 years ago, with some friends who 'showed me everything I needed to see', according to them, but this time, baby, I had a blast. Hubby swears I was born for life in the city. And I hasten to agree. I actually called/emailed/IMed half my friends, over the course of the trip, to tell them that I need to move to New York.

How I will finance this, I do not know, but those petty details are for other people to sort out. Start thinking, please.

The photo, by the way, I took at the Hell's Kitchen Flea Market. Which totally rocks. I got myself a TRULY BITCHIN' hat. You shall see.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Let Me Ask You This, Am I The Ultimate Fighting Champion?

Hey there, ALF here from over at I Shot A Man in Reno. Christine was kind enough to let me guest blog today as she makes her way home from what I know was an awesome time in New York. You went to New York, right Christine? If not, you should have.

As you all know, Christine has four sons. This is a fact that intrigues me to no end. Four sons. Four of them. All boys. That just seems like so much fun. I don't have any children but I do hope that one day I will have some and if things work out, I would really like to have four of them. My husband and I have discussed it and we both agree that four children seems like just the right amount of mayhem needed for our lives to be complete.

My husband would be beyond pleased if we had four children and they all were boys. The reason for this, as far as I can tell, is that he has developed a fool proof disciplinary technique to handle boys.

Are you ready for it?

The answer to disciplining sons, according to my childless husband, is to construct an ultimate fighting octagon in the backyard.

When the time comes that there are differences in opinion between the son and my husband, they will simply take the conversation out to the octagon and settle it there. The rules will work like this: once you can beat dad in the ultimate fighting octagon then you can do whatever you want. Until then, you'll do what dad says.

He has decided the ultimate fighting octagon is no place for women and girls. He believes that there will be "fight nights" with titles such as "Mom Don't Look Tuesday" and "Watch Out Sunday".

This is the same man who is currently waiting not so patiently for me to be finished here so that he can search the Internet for a place to buy a two stroke blender - instead of buttons to control blending speed, it has a motorcycle throttle.

Welcome home, Christine.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Yeah, I know, I'm supposed to be on the road

But it is HARD, getting us out the door. So for your reading pleasure, I have the following, from Son #2, last night:

"If variety is the spice of life, the Playboy Mansion is a bowl of rice."

I told him that a lot of people would consider it a rather hot bowl of rice, but he is not convinced. I considered showing him the Playboy pic from the 50s that basically looks like a blonde, pre-weight-loss me, but I think that is too cruel, even for me.

And they said it wouldn't last. . .

Andrea here from over at Asphalt & Brie guest blogging for our favorite blogger.

Christine and Hubby are off celebrating 20 years of wedded bliss. I gotta tell you folks that I've been in a whole mess of weddings but this was by far the most awesome! Hmmm, I remember it like yesterday (cue hazy fade-out and music). . .

  • Mike being ambushed and having his chest hairs shaved by a bunch of guys (roommates). Christine was royally pissed!

  • Bridesmaids, Christine, her mom and her sister picking out dresses and Mom treating us all to lunch.

  • Rehearsal dinner at Dankers. We ate so much and it was Yum-O

  • Food hangover on the big day.

  • Fight between groomsmen and bridesmaid over who gets what changing room at the church

  • Bridesmaids prancing around the church in shorts and flip flops one hour before the ceremony starts--yep, a few folks had started arriving

  • One of the bridesmaids dad rebuking us, "Don't you think you all need to get dressed."

  • Christine walking down in the most gorgeous dress and her hair perfectly in place (courtesy of a lot, and a mean A LOT of hair spray)

  • Mike and the groomsmen where HOT in their Tuxedo's. Who knew Rocker Dude and college boys could clean up so good.

  • Wedding Reception at the Officer's Club. They bought us our food but all we wanted was some Pepto...food hangover.

  • Limbo with a broom someone found in a closet.

  • We were some partying fools

Well, those are some of the memories. But my most favorite memory of all: seeing two friends whom I love dearly driving off to start their lives together.


So congratulations, Writer Girl and Rocker Dude!

When not traveling down memory lane, Andrea can usually be found in the soda aisle of Kroger trying to figure out the difference between Coke Zero and Diet Coke.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Sometimes, you have to take the bull by the horns

...and blog stuff because you know the people involved will not blog it themselves.

A friend emailed me tonight that her teenage daughter had texted her the following: After she and her boyfriend were done shopping, they were going to go to his house "so that he can take a nap and lace his shoes".

So that's what they're calling it, these days.

Ooooh, Guest Bloggers

Hubby and I are leaving in the morning for a few days in NYC. On the agenda:

Eat a pastrami sandwich the size of Hubby's head.

Visit the Museum of Natural History, while bitching that museums in DC are FREE.

Go to the top of the Empire State Building ("It's romantic! Like Sleepless in Seattle!")

Get standby tickets for a taping of Conan O'Brian. Make fools of ourselves.

And win a boatload on Cash Cab. Richard, we will be calling you for sports-related questions. Be near the phone.

I most likely will be blogging on the trip, because, let's face it, I am like that. But I have lined up guest bloggers for the days we're on the road.

ALF and Andrea are on the case.

What? How do YOU prepare for vacation?

We're leaving for NYC tomorrow morning, early. I gave a key to the kid who'll be watching our cats, gave the roofer the OK to work on the roof while we're gone, called the next door neighbor to tell her not to freak out when she sees guys climbing on the roof or letting themselves into the house, and continued piling laundry on the heap in the living room because, naturally, the THIRD part Sears needed is still on backorder and will not arrive for a full month.

I have yet to pack a thing.

But I did just re-caulk the master bathroom shower stall. Because there comes a point when no amount of scrubbing is going to get rid of the mildew on there, and I get cocky about my home repair skills.

Let's just say it's a good thing that my father will never have any reason to look at the caulk job I did in our master bath. Because he would just burst into tears of shame, I am sure.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Only in America: chicken pickin'

The other night I was cooking dinner for the Sons--I had already fed Hubby, early, so he could go practice w/the soon-to-be-named band. Dinner included sauteed chicken.

It is summer. That means we have extra boys in the house much of the time. Son #1 leaned down the stairs and offered the spares some chicken. A voice rose up the stairs:

"Is it boneless?"

God bless America, nobody is going to starve in Christine's house.

Band names redux

Hubby's in a band again. Nice guys. Good music. Everything is cool. They will be ready to play out, soon, I think. Time to pick a name.

At this point, there are 2 options. One Hubby likes, one three band members and I like. He'd appreciate some other input. What do you think of these two?

Pounding Sand

Major Malfunction

Send your friends by to vote, too. We need all the opinions we can gather. Thanks!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Gross thought of the day

Fair warning to Hubby and others with a sensitive stomach: even I can see this was a gross thought.

I just used my Ped Egg: you know, those foot file things? It is great, by the way. So I opened it up, afterwards, to dump out the little powdered foot pieces into the trash. And I thought, "Hmmm. I wonder if the dog would like this, sprinkled on his food?"

I didn't do it, ok? It was just a thought.

What is UP with Yahoo?

Lately, Yahoo has been a pain in my neck.

Mail shows up in my inbox long enough for me to see it, and then seconds later completely disappears. (So, hey, if you are waiting for a response from me I probably didn't get a chance to read your email)

Messenger skips stuff. As in, I'll write something and the other person never sees it. Or they do, and I never see it. But sometimes the missing text shows up in a transcript, if you print it out. What is THAT?

Several times a day, my "contacts" list disappears, so that I look like I have zero contacts. I live in terror that this will become a permanent situation and I'll lose all kinds of important people.

They'll tell me I have unread messages in my inbox, but...wait a minute or two before actually allowing those messages to show up IN my inbox.

Anybody know what is UP with these guys? Gah.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Guest bloggers? What a concept!

Penelope is on vacation this week and has solicited guest bloggers to carry her blog while she's gone. BRILLIANT! I love it!

And, coincidentally, Hubby and I are going to NYC for our 20th anniversary, next week. We'll be gone for 5 days, and while I realize that I am a total Internet junkie and completely incapable of abandoning my blog for that long (intentionally, anyway) the concept of guest bloggers DOES intrigue. Anyone wanna have a go? You could be Christine for a Day!

No sob story required, but obviously they were be accepted with joyful gratitude. Just lemme know...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Mad William's Oceanic Windows Have a Home

Very often, the total waste of time gang watches TV in my bedroom. I am a less than enthusiastic participant.

So, when I won half of Mad William's Oceanic Windows, I knew EXACTLY where I would put them.


Monday, July 28, 2008

Calling all Republicans: an Obama poll

This morning I read yet another article in which a Democrat claimed that race would be a factor in the Presidential race: the implication being that if Obama loses, it will be because people won't vote for him because he's black.

I hear this a lot, always coming from an Obama supporter.

But I have yet to meet a Republican who says they're planning to vote for McCain because he is white, or who lists Obama's race as a factor in their decision making process. I am pretty well convinced that this is just a bullshit argument. Heck, conservatives can find all kinds of reasons not to like Obama. It's not like we're all a bunch of racists, you know. We just disagree with him. Or dislike him. Or are terrified that Obama in the White House means terrorists in the streets of the US.

So, prove me wrong, Internet.

If you are going to vote McCain, or write in someone else's name (I'm talking to YOU, Richard!) or will be staying away from the polls on election day at least somewhat because Obama is partially of African descent, please email me, or comment anonymously here, and let me know. I'll post a tally (but no names or email addresses or blog links--not trying to start anything! really!) of those who say that Obama's race is a factor.

I realize this is completely unscientific. But...honestly. The whole thing seems ridiculous.

Saturday, July 26, 2008


Son #1 has worked all of 3 days. Today was his longest shift; after 7 hours he was so hungry he begged me to stop at Subway on the way home. Which we did.

And there, he bought his mom a soda. Out of his tip money.

Son #1 is adorable, OK?

Friday, July 25, 2008

Blues Jam--what next?

Blues Jam was last night. Fun as always, except...Wave, Mark and Cara are all moving away.

You heard me: WAVE IS LEAVING.

This is a crisis of epic proportions, both social and musical. But at least we all got hugs out of it.

On the bright side, Son #1 was back, playing well and having fun and subject to flirting by much older women.
Also good: we seem to have created a sort of Dance Craze. See me doing The Doug with, well, Doug, and Connie. Pardon my fatrolls. While they are magnificent, they are not the point of this photo.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I hate Sears AND Roebucks

Well, not entirely. But I hate that their crappy repair system means I have been without a washer for weeks on end.

Two nights ago, Son #3 and Son #4 fought over a shirt. Basically the last clean shirt that either one can fit in that is not meant for winter.

Yesterday, Son #1 borrowed boxers from Hubby, so he could go to work.

Last night, after cleaning out the gutters and trimming hedges, I fell asleep in my yard cleaning gear in part because I knew the sheets were already stank and also in part because I only have Fredericks of Hollywood gear left, for night.

Today, I am taking it all to the laundromat because THIS IS RIDONCULOUS. We need clothes.

So here it is: note that it is attempting to swallow my coffee table and the electric piano. With some success.

Here, also, is a photo of it inside my minivan. The minivan we purchased because it had more passenger space than any other car we could find. Yeah. See? I wasn't kidding. Lots of laundry.

UPDATE: I spent 4.5 hours in the laundromat, Thursday afternoon. That comes to 37 loads of laundry. Between loading machines and unloading them and folding stuff and all that, I spent all of 20 minutes sitting still. Between that, and spin class, and a night of dancing at the Country Store, I am a bit on the sore side, this morning. But at least my living room is no longer under attack.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

4 random sentences

Stolen from Shamelessly Sassy:

I am a crappy communicator, even though I do it for money; actually, I think that is WHY I do it for money.

The Sons have a friend over to spend the night; everyone in the family has a crush on Guitar Boy.

If I use a curling iron, I can delay getting a haircut for a very long time.

I buy pink stuff so the boys won't lose it for me.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

So get out of town, Salsa Personalities. That's your warning.

You Are Barbeque Sauce

You are a social person. You enjoy cooking for other people.

You are both skillful and competitive. You enjoy mastering hard tasks.

You appreciate complexity more than simplicity.

Your taste in food tends to lean toward interesting flavors.

You appreciate exotic spice combinations. You tend to like cutting edge, fusion cuisine.

You get along with all personalities from a distance. Except salsa personalities, who always seem to annoy you.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I STILL can't serve a beverage correctly

Not long ago, Son #4 declared that we needed juice glasses. The glasses we had in the cabinet were too large for juice.

My arguments that, firstly, any glass from which you drink juice becomes a juice glass, and secondly, that nothing prevents you from pouring a small amount of juice into a tall glass, were met with extreme eye-rolling and sighs.

A couple of weeks ago, I was at the thrift store and found several juice glasses. Cute ones, too-green glass with little flowers on the side. So I bought them, and put them in the cabinet.

Son #4 just drank something. And what did he say?

"You know what I really don't like? Green glasses. They make everything look green."

I. Give. Up.