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 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 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 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!