Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Tuesdays suck when you are out of work. There is no promise of the mind-numbing weekend (filled with beer) and the hope of Mondays emails has worn off.

Today, the kids are sick, Scot has class, and the economy has me fearing a foreclosure is in my future. Not one of my best days.

I'm angry that our wonderful (insert sarcasm here) politicians couldn't rise above it all to get the bailout through. McCain had to pretend he saved the day, and Nancy Pelosi couldn't help but rub the Republicans noses in the mess they've helped create.

"Class- listen up!" I want to say to them all. Immature schoolchildren who can't help but throw punches on the playground.

I feel like curling up in a ball and listening to Phil Collins "The Roof is Leaking". Good choice of lyrics for today. Feel free to join me in my wallowing. Here's a sampling of the lyrics.

The Roof is Leaking - Phil Collins

The roof is leaking and the wind is howling
Kids are crying 'cos the sheets are so cold
I woke this morning found my hands were frozen
I've tried to fix the fire, but you know the damn thing's too old

And me, I'm getting stronger by the minute
My wife's expecting, but I hope she can wait
'Cos this winter looks like it's gonna be another bad one
But Spring'll soon be here,
Oh God I hope it's not late

Monday, September 29, 2008

Relief from a -777.68 Day

This is something that made me laugh today. Thought we could all use it.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Here's Your sign!

There are times when the Universe tells you to stay home. These are the days when you drop the eggs, you scrape your knee, and you break a plate. All by 11 a.m. You know what this is like. Zen bullshit aside, we all have times when we are walking disasters and are dangerous to ourselves and others. Not just a bad day. But a day when you are tempting Darwin to take you out of the gene pool.

Many years ago, my mom and I got ready to go to the gym together. My mom was driving. As she proceeded to back the car out of the garage, she failed to notice my dad's car parked in the driveway. "screeeetch." A long thin scratch was etched into both cars' side panels. She had "keyed" the entire length of both cars. My mom promptly pulled the car back into the garage, calmly got out of the car, and went into the house. "I'm not going to the gym today, " my mom said. "My biorhythms are off."

What? What the heck did that mean? Was that akin to people acting crazy during a full moon? Whatever she meant, I filed it away to deal with later. But I started paying attention. Soon enough, I had a bizarre day of missteps and Mr. Magoo tragedies. Instantly it hit me; my biorhythms were off! Many years have come and gone, and being a bit of a sleep deprived ditz, I've had many "off" days. Sometimes it just takes me a little longer to recognize what a hazard I am.

Saturday I left the house with the girls to return a jacket and to buy Little Mermaid sheets. The first parking lot came loaded with a crazy woman in a Jag, zigzagging through the rows. My purse hit the floor as I slammed on the brakes to avoid her. She was completely oblivious. This was my first sign. I hit The Rack to return the jacket and was stunned at the line. It was one central line, with no return desk. The girls and I waited our turn, and after 20 minutes of bright lights, crying babies and over stimulation, we were out the door. Next stop was Target . Walking by a mirror I caught a glimpse of myself and was horrified. Bags were under my eyes from Friday's late night, and my hair looked crispy and electrocuted. I had thrown on a baggy peasant blouse to hide pizza sins, and realized the front of the shirt was skimming the top of my boobs. Please God don't let me run into anyone, I thought. We blew out of the store and headed to Wendy's for lunch. Only two stops on the freeway and the hungry children would be fed.

Wouldn't you know it; the highway was closed southbound after my exit. Everyone was funnelled down to one lane and 4011 cars crawled the next mile . Voices from the backseat started chirping hunger cries, and it suddenly dawned on me that my foot kept slipping off the brake. While idling forward at 5 mph , I had narrowly averted a dozen fender bumps by slamming on my brakes just in the nick of time. What the hell was wrong with me?

Wendy's was empty as I had totally missed the lunch hour. The two famished children picked a high top table and I ordered lunch at the counter. While we ate, I was aware of someone looking at me. I turned to the left and saw a man sitting two tables over from us, alone. He looked to be in his upper 20's. I smiled a genial smile and looked away. I proceeded to eat but felt eyes boring into my body. I didn't want to look, because I knew the single man was still staring at me. But not looking at him would have been like not looking at a wreck on the road; you're drawn to it in a sick way. I turned my head quickly and looked again. Wink. He winked at me. "smack," went his mouth. Did he just blow me a kiss? You could have called to tell me my house had been robbed and my panties stolen. That's how violated I felt. When an old man winks at you, it's endearing in a slightly corny, pathetic way. When a 25-year old winks and blows a kiss, you feel naked. I tried not to perspire and kept my focus with the girls. Five minutes passed and perv picked up his cell phone and made a call. Always able to be in on two conversations, I chatted with the girls' and listened to the voice mail my admirer was leaving.

"Hey Cory, it's Ken." "Give me a call man." "I just got out serving 5 months in jail for attempted." "Come out to Arizona and we can chill together." "Say 'hi' to Dan for me."

Attempted. Attempted what? Attempted wife-snatching and pillaging in the Wendy's parking lot? Hark! A sign. At once, I saw the moon wax and wane, heard planets crash together, and felt my alignment go out of whack.

"Girls, get in the car. Mommy needs to go home."

Saturday, September 27, 2008


I took Bernice for a run today, and naturally she took a big dump. Being a good citizen, I promptly picked it up in my doggie baggie, and trotted off to the next trash can. I couldn't help but make a mental note of how heavy the bag was. Good grief. It had to weigh close to a pound. Now I know this fact seems inconsequential, but see, I happen to feed the dog as well. I know that this bovine eats one small bowl of food a day. How was all this poop being generated.? So it came as a surprise when I saw Bernice doing her business for the second time today, this afternoon. And shoot, if it wasn't a humongous amount again. Unless this dog is putting back the grass or shrubs when I'm not looking, I don't know where are the waste is coming from. She is thin, though. That's the answer to all of our weight loss quandaries. Poop more.

Friday, September 26, 2008

A request of my Michigan family (the ones who stick fingers in their ears and sing "la la" while the AZ family discusses politics )

Dear Undecided/Independent/Apathetic Voter,

You know who you are. I'm begging you to please take this Friday night and figure out who will best lead this country out of the Darfur it is becoming. I'm not telling you to vote for Obama, even if McCan't has done nothing but grandstand and showboat these last couple of days. Forget the fact that Obama is looking ever-so-presidential and dignified. Form your own opinion based on what the candidates say this evening. Just feel something about this election. Each American has their own power and voice to use on November 4th. VOTE. Don't sit home and mow the lawn/paint your nails/yell at your kid. Do the needful.

Thank you,

Your annoying sister/sister-in-law/aunt

Thursday, September 25, 2008


I ask that everyone please say a prayer, or a Buddha wish, or send a good thought our way this week. Scot has an interview for a position next week and we really need this job. OR, in another couple of months we will be one of those American families facing foreclosure on our house. And this blog will get even more sarcastic and nasty. It's for the good of all of us. Please, please, please. Thank you.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Love is Deaf, Dumb, and Blind

My husband is still around. I'm starting to think maybe he's losing his senses. And mind. While I haven't let my body go too much over the years, the housework and everything else seems to be suffering. And he still comes home. Oh rather I should say, he still stays home with me (rather hard to leave all day when you're looking for a job). Here all all the disgusting pig dog habits I have become guilty of doing over the years.

1. The laundry looks like the dogs folded it. The only redeeming quality is that it smells good. When it sits in buckets unattended for 3 days, those wrinkles get set in, alright. We all look like we're wearing stuff Goodwill dropped off at the curb for us.

2. I stink like a sumo wrestler. On my good days. Why is it that man can ride his bike for 2 hours and come home smelling fresh? I got the Philadelphia Hoagie Stink gene.

3. I'm using a dermatological cleanser that contains sulfur. When you're looking for nookie at night, I'm like kissing a fried-egg sandwich.

4. I return any item I've used from the garage onto the garage floor when I'm through with it. I know my man will clean it up. Horribly lazy, bad habit.

5. My freezer-keeping skills make fetching an item out of the fridge an exercise in frustration. You can refer to old blog photos for proof of this one.

6. I don't hold back with the stinkies. No point in making yourself sick, right? And if I'm provoked, I will rawhide your pillow.

7. I had the nerve to admit I get confused about what states border us. It was my "Is chicken of the sea chicken, or tuna?" moment. My excuse was that Arizona is a big state and I don't leave it often.

8. I've started burping in sentences. Without apology.

Forgive me my indiscretions. I am not worthy.

Who is really in charge?

How did I let this happened? I've become on of those women who put their dog in their purse and buy jackets and costumes for their furry friend. Just Sunday, I walked around BevMo with the dog under my arm. Oh God, help me. I'm becoming Paris Hilton. In the olden days, I used to call these sub-par dogs "microwavables" and wonder what good they brought to the World. As Patrick gets more and more comfortable here, I'm starting to revisit those notions. This is what I found last night. This in a house where animals are not permitted on furniture. This house ain't big enough for another princess.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

This is the scarecrow that's on the label of Dundee Beer's Oktoberfest Brew. It's a lip-smacking hearty harvest of all the regular hops and stuff, plus some seasonal flavors thrown in as well. I'm considering saving the cardboard six-pack holder it's so darn cute. We got it at BevMo for $5.99. I say, If you can't live like it's Autumn, drink like it is.

Chick bashing

I know that I like some wussy music. For years I've been told this from all men. Christopher Cross was the first cassette I bought, and my musical taste later morphed into Adam Ant and Corey Hart. Nowadays I favor some "heavier" musicians such as U2 or Lenny Kravitz, but I still have a weakness for the pretty boys. For instance, Chris Martin of Coldplay. I know he's a bit of a freak with his colored arm bands, and his music is filled with predictable choruses and crescendos. But I love a sensitive crooner. Another recent addition to my puss repertoire is Keane. I don't care if I could take them all in a bar fight; their swirling vocals and piano medleys drive me wild.

Earlier today, Scot put on the radio. The first song to come on was Duran Duran's New Moon On Monday. There I was, nestling the chicken in the pot, singing along with Simon and the boys. My kids looked at me as though I had slaughtered the chicken, but I think it was my singing that caused the wincing. For years, Duran Duran mesmerized me with their jelled hair and puffy shirts. The order in how I wanted to marry the band member was "John, Simon, Nick, Roger, Andy." The very next song to come on was "Free Fallin." But it wasn't by Tom Petty. It was Tom Petty on Estrogen. After a few lines I pinned down the singer. John Mayer.

I listened and the more I heard, the more I thought Tom Petty should bash John Mayer's lights out. What an embarrassing rendition. It was fluffy and light, almost as if the guy's hair was doing the singing. Mayer has many of the sound qualities of Jack Johnson, minus the drop dead sexiness factor. Mayer is cute, but he lacks that certain je ne sais quoi even girlie boy musicians like Boy George have. He's.... limp. His first hit "No Such Thing" was catchy and listenable, but in the last couple of years everything he does seems to sound the same. And have you seen the chicks this guy gets? Mayer must serenade naked with diamonds. He's worked through Jennifer Love Hewitt, Jessica Simpson and a short time ago, Jennifer Aniston. Recently Mayer couldn't help but spill to the media that he was responsible for ending the relationship with Aniston. Poor Jennifer. Here's a girl who has had lots of heartache, but always takes the high road on her break-ups. In the end, it was the Aniston kiss-and-tell that made me hit my wall with Mayer. It's alright that he wasn't my favorite chick music before. He was still tolerable. But if you can't be man enough to keep your mouth shut about your private affairs, I don't want to listen anymore. Girlie music or not.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Phrase of the Day

Do The Needful- To do that which is necessary. (source- Wikipedia)

At DHL, Scot worked with many Indian contractors. In correspondence, the Indian employees often used the closing phrase "do the needful" instead of "regards" or "sincerely." When Scot brought it to my attention it seemed rude, and condescending. But in the Indian culture it's just a way of asking someone to follow through with a task. I promptly added it to my daily lexicon. Nowadays when I'm standing in the kitchen with a full trash can, I simply look at Scot, eye the trash, and say "do the needful". It's to the point. Simple and brilliant.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Reason 268 Sarah Palin Should Pack It In and Head Home

When Sarah Palin was asked what the Bush Doctrine was, she didn't know.
Hell, I didn't either.
But guess what? I'm not running for VP of the United States!!!
It was at that point the bells went off in my head.

I am smart enough to know that I am too dumb to run for VP.
I would get tripped up in each and every question.
So, why isn't Palin shaking in her shoes?
She's too dumb to know better.
Someone put it so well today. They said that it's really not putting "Country First" to pick a running mate with so little experience.

It's all so interesting. And puzzling.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

disclaimer, apology, etc.

Okay, Scot has freaked the hell out because I mentioned Glock and day care in the same sentence. He feels my last blog was a bit.... harsh. The truth is, I love my job. But even the best jobs come with complaints. I had to vent. Ever the conservative with all issues private, Scot is horrified at my exposed online life. He just mentioned that if I ever did have a day care accident (God forbid), Nancy Grace would dig up this blog. So, take it easy everyone. My sense of humor has gone nutty.

Dear Parent,

Dear Day Care Parent,

While I love taking care of your child, there a couple of issues I must bring up at this time. This is my job, therefore I expect that you appreciate the fact that I have certain standards and guidelines. These parameters are in place to make your day care experience, and my day, more enjoyable. As it stands now, Jr. will get the short end of the stick if you continue to piss me off. I realize you might have forgotten the basics that were covered in the contract I had you sign, Therefore, I will remind you. Please peruse the concerns I have, and commit them to memory. Again.

1. Payment is due when service are rendered- You must pay me when the day is done, or at the end of the week (for weekly care). I don't take layaway (that would mean you would need to leave jr. with me and I don't want them). I also shouldn't have to remind you three times that you forgot to pay me. You would gladly shuck out $50 for Fido at DoggyDayCare. Is Jr. not worth it? While I love your child, I don't do this for shits and giggles. I am currently the breadwinner. Every $40 helps. Keep this in mind the next time you have your pay check direct-deposited. How would it feel if Mr. Boss waved your check over his head, laughing, and made you wait another week for it?

2. Any child who is sick (green nose, fever, vomiting) must remain at home. - This is simple. A green nose that has continued for 3 weeks is not indicative of a healthy child. When said child starts hacking, clear the hell out of my house. If your saw your co-worker brandishing a Glock in their pocket, it would make you quake in your cubicle. Your little loaded weapon with the funky nose makes us all nervous, too. I have a child with asthma and two babies in my care. Jesus does not heal green noses. Go to the doctor, medicate, and then you may return.

Looking forward to seeing you soon!

Toni's Loving Care

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A few of my favorite things (for today)

Best New word alert (new for me, the one who dwells in 1989)

- ( pronounced : skwrote) - A derogatory name for a man. Comparing a man to a hairy, nasty scrotum.
Used in a sentence- "That egomaniac down the street is such a scrot" .

Best website


If you reach deep levels of satisfaction reading recipes and finding great spices, check out Penzeys site. Send for a free catalogue or visit the store nearest you. Their spices are absurdly fresh and well-priced. Their recipes kick ass, and their stores are a veritable feast for the nose.

Trader Joe's Plain Refrigerated Pizza Dough

I am so over Boboli and other crap they sell at the regular supermarket. And I sure as heck am not going to roll out my own. This dough is phenomenal. Take it out of the bag, let it rest for 20 minutes, roll in out, and top it. As good as any take-out pizza. And it's less than $1.50. I just bought 5 and froze them. Hope they keep. Neighbor on San Vicente, and you know who you are, I have one coming for you. I tried to drop it off tonight, but you weren't home. You lose. Just kidding. I'll try tomorrow.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Hummus me you won't make me eat that?

The last two decades have had two foods that hostesses serve and people rave about. I've brought them, bought them, served them, eaten them, and have always been left wondering why they are so popular.
The nineties were about guacamole and this decade is all about hummus.

The similarity is a strange, rather flavorless ingredient that is pounded into oblivion, mixed with herbs, oil, and spices, and served to you with chips. Last year, I attended a good friend's birthday dinner at a vegetarian restaurant. One of the major offerings was a triple medley of hummus. Huh. I tried it and wasn't moved. Everyone "oohed" and "aah ed" and I started feeling like a college student who had received a placebo joint. I wasn't feeling it. It wasn't heinous. It just tasted like garlicky Elmer's. Seems to me that when you gotta start bastardizing the taste of something so much, maybe we're all trying too hard. Another food that falls into this category is tofu. Ever notice no one ever grills up naked tofu? It's basted, fried, or marinated. I realize I'm a little late to the party on hummus, but I think a better use for that trio would have been joint compound, mortar, and wood filler.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Heeeeeeeere's Patrick!

Our fake Christmas tree was purchased late one December when the 75% off sales were happening. Scot was down with the flu, so I knew it was my chance. He thinks artificial trees are the devil's work. I hauled the 9 foot sucker in the house by myself and set it up in front of his recumbent body. He was too sick to protest or care.

I got tired of waiting for Paw Placement to call me back concerning Chico. I mean really! Did they want this dog to have a home or not? Scot was busy with his study group at our dining room table today when I herded the kids into the car. I remembered there was an adopt-a-thon going on nearby. I'm always disappointed in the selection at a pet adoption fair, and never expect to go home with a dog in my car. Today was different. Inside the front door of the Pet Market were 15-20 Chihuahuas, dachshunds, terriers and other small microwaveables. Just what I had been looking for. And then I saw him. His given name was Chewy (kind of scary) and he had been surrendered by a Hispanic family that had to give up their house for an apartment. Bernice used to live in the Bario and was named Sophie, so I get along well with the Spanish dogs.
We promptly renamed Chewy "Patrick" and loaded him up in the car.

"OH MY GOSH," Scot said. That's all he really could say as I came in through the front door holding Patrick. He had two guests in the house and he couldn't look like a jerk asking me "what in holy tar nation did you do?!" I expect a beating or two later.

So far, so good. No bloody carnage amongst Bernice and our step-daughter dog, Annie. No chewing. Potty outside. I really couldn't ask for anything more. It's love. Scot hasn't had a chance to spend any time with Patrick yet (poor thing is trying to think of a process that needs streamlining). He knows I'm happy though. And usually that makes him happy. We still have the fake tree. Nice guy.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Day to Reflect

September 11th has become a day to reflect. Perhaps it is because we all knew where we were physically when the tragedy happened that we remember so distinctly where we were emotionally and financially in our lives as well. I didn't lose a loved one that fateful day, and I didn't view the atrocity firsthand. My life (thank God) did not become severely altered that beautiful September morning . But we all changed in some way seven years ago. We became aware that nothing stays the same, and that we are all vulnerable. The U.S. lost it's shit-eating grin, and I saw that my life wasn't always under my control. Trite as it sounds, I got tough after September 11th.

That Tuesday was an ordinary day. Scot and I stumbled across the hot Arizona asphalt into an obstetrician's office in the morning. We visited a new dentist that day. The office had TVs recessed into the ceiling with live footage of the attacks playing on every screen. Two months later Scot and I recalled that we were both given orders to have further work done by the dentist, but we couldn't for the life of us remember what those orders were. For dinner that night we sat in a crowded sports bar and watched a big screen TV project a WTC building crumble to the ground. It was ghastly and crude given the environment, but appropriateness had fallen by the wayside. People didn't want to be alone. My parents were in China for two weeks, unreachable. The World seemed to be spinning off its axis and we were all along for the harrowing ride. The one saving grace after the attacks was the kindness people exhibited. Never before have I seen people drive so well, or heard so many "thank you's." We needed to dole out kindness to prove that goodness still existed.

Right after 9/11 , I was glad George Bush was in the White House. I naively thought we could all be wrapped in the warm blanket of high defense spending. It didn't seem possible that with a tough team like Colin Powell and Donald Rumsfeld we would be attacked again. To an extent, this was correct. We have dodged many planned attacks whose chatter was heard by the right people. For all these averted disasters, I'm grateful to my government.

But I also never realized that being attacked and then attacking ( Iraq) could devastate our country's economy. My life was financially solvent for 29 years. Not one bump in the road. On 9/11, Scot and I were flush with successful jobs that brought in good money. Sadly I was always under the assumption that good, hard work was enough to keep you employed. On October 29, 2001, a week after Maggie's birth, Scot was laid off from his job. The terrorist attacks were the impetus that slowed the economy, and stopped his company's IT spending. In between then (2001 ) and now, Scot has held four jobs. In each job, despite having more experience and working on a Master's degree, Scot's salary has gone down. We were making 80% more money in 2001 than we did on Scot's last job. That would be the job he lost last month on account of today's weak economy.

Nowadays, Scot is looking for another job, and I'm busy doing day care and tending to the kids. We await this upcoming election with great anticipation. Change is ever-present in this household and we're ready to see how our new leaders are going to positively shape and direct the way this country is headed. What 9/11 has taught me is that tough times must be weathered, and that nothing good, or bad, lasts forever. Hope is the only thing that you need to have when you get up on a no-prospect, ugly Monday. Hope that the day will improve with a phone call or an encouraging word. Kindness buoys self-esteem just when you feel yourself sinking in a pitty party puddle. What I fall back on is that my family has a beautiful life and has been given great opportunities over the years.

Today, I can look back and see where I've been and how far I've come through some tough, tricky shit. Many years back, I filled out a survey asking me if I was "emotionally strong". At the time the biggest emotional wallop I had handled had been a romantic break-up. I had been coddled and loved by parents, a great husband and financial security all my life. I wasn't sure I'd ever dealt with true adversity. I answered "no". I received the same email questionnaire recently and was asked the same question. "Are you emotionally strong?" Without hesitation I answered "yes". Yes, I'm strong as hell.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Obsession du Jour

I gave up dog huntin' for 3 days, and now I'm back at it. I feel this sick desire for something warm in my lap. A needy little creature whose ears I can twist when the mood strikes me (just kidding!). This time, my pet project is Chico. Chico is another Paw Placement Puppy. My mother has informed me that she thinks all PP animals are rejects with serious problems. My response to that is "Duh. Aren't we all." My house is not the Cleary house these days, yet we all still have the need to be loved. Just because Scot's unemployed and unshaven doesn't mean I'm kicking him to the curb. Yet. Another couple of month and we'll talk. But really. How much shit could an 8-pounder cause.? Here she is readers! Chico ! Or George. Or Patrick (depends on who I let name it).

It certainly looks like Satan resides in her eyes, doesn't it? Ah hell, there's not enough drama around here. Let's mix it up a bit!

postscript: Scot said "who are the Cleary's?" oh yeah. I mean the Cleaver's . After two Fat Tires I got a little sloppy.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Can you say that another way?

I can only imagine how hard it is to give the same speech a couple dozen times in 11 days . How many ways are there to say the same thing?


Can Sara Palin utter any words other than

"I told them thanks, but no thanks."

I know Palin's got a staff that's helping her to bone up on crucial issues such as geography, table etiquette , and history. There must be a speech writer lolling about somewhere. Does no one in her camp have ears? I've heard it so much I'm starting to think I'm carrying cable news broadcasts in my brain. And while these handlers are at it, get the chick some new glasses. The hot-for-teacher image will fly even if she's sporting smaller frames.
"We write to taste life twice. Once in the moment and in retrospection." - Anais Nin

What a beautiful sentiment. Exactly how I feel about blogging. There have been times I've barrelled past the dog and children to escape to the office to put it all down. It's addictive, but in a very cleansing way. Once I've released the hostage thoughts, I think a little more clearly.

I completely plagiarized that quote from another Blogger. This morning I was watching the Today Show, who was highlighting a mother of 4 who had recently been injured in a plane crash. Stephanie Nielson, and her husband Christian, survived the accident but are in serious condition with extensive burns. Up until the crash, Stephanie had kept a daily blog on her love and joy of motherhood. Something like this one (squinting of eyes and screwed up mouth is the face I'm making ). In only two weeks the couples medical bills have topped $2 million. Their insurance pays the first million. Word of Stephanie's situation has spread and blog readers and anonymous Americans have ponied up $100k. The Internet is a marvel. What a blessing for that family.

Anyway, the wonderful quote was on Stephanie's sister's blog. Both blogs are found at www.nieniedialogues.com You can read it to check on Stephanie and Christian's conditions. The site also has pictures of the cute couple and their adorable litter, I mean family. As for Stephanie's blog, this is how the Today Show described it.

In the cluttered landscape of “mommy blogs,” Stephanie Nielson stood out: a mother of four young children who focused on the joys of motherhood instead of its travails.

Holy fish patties! Did you see that? They even referred to mother's woes as "travails." Oops.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Trickle-down Chicken

Chicken has been included in my many cost-cutting measures. I used to buy it boneless, skinless, sexy, and packaged in neat little perfect portions. Now , I'm buying whole birds. For about $3.00, I get enough chicken to feed us for 2-3 nights. But, it's a serious bitch to get ready for cooking, and the process takes some finesse. Unless you pull the chicken skin when it's semi-frozen, it comes off in phlegmy shards. Then the giblets and innards need to be removed from the cavity. Finally, I take the back of my hand and pummel the back of the sucker, in effect butterflying the bird. This whole cleaning and butchering would take the average person five minutes. But I can't get through the exercise without having to stop to wipe a butt or scratch an itch. So, four hand washes later, the chicken is ready to be marinated. My many skin picking attempts haven't been 100% successful, so there are fatty white patches sticking to the bird. On the underside, I have broken wing joints from violent pulling. Scot grills the little baby and the end result is succulent. The remaining splotchy fat imparts a sumptuous, buttery flavor. It doesn't look pretty, but it's damn good. And here comes my point; I understand why poor people are fatter and tend to eat more fat. It's cheaper, and it's easier. Another couple of months of living like this and I'll screw the fat picking and fry up the whole thing is Crisco.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Weekend in Flagstaff

Our tenth-anniversary weekend in Flagstaff (not in St. John or Mexico mind you , and 3 months past due) has come to an end. Scot's brother Cory was gracious enough to let us stay at his vacation cabin. The cabin is new, so Cory has furnished it with the bare minimum. No TV. I was horrified to know there would be no MSNBC piping into my brain all day. I shouldn't have worried.

On Saturday we picked up Christian (who attends NAU) and headed up Snowbowl Ski Resort's chair lift. Mt. Humpries is Arizona's highest mountain at an evevation of 12.500 feet. After an hour of having Scot scare us with "what if" chair catastrophe scenarios, the three of us hiked around the mountain's disc-golf course. Christian and Scot played, while I slowly followed behind. Scot kept asking me if I was okay, and if I wanted to go. I guess the dumb - stupor look on my face worried him. In reality, I was completely transfixed by the beautiful day. The air was the clearest I had seen it in weeks, I heard the wind whiz under a bird's wing, and for the first time in ages, I had nowhere I had to be. We ended the perfect day by taking Christian back to his apartment and enjoying a sushi dinner.

Today I realized that it wouldn't have mattered where we had gone for this trip. We had stars, a change of scenery, and good conversation. We got to finish sentences and share thoughts that normally get interrupted by children or life. I didn't even miss the TV (much). We had a great time being together, alone. Very reassuring things to know when you celebrate your 10th anniversary.

Vera, I never knew ya...

Vera is in Flagstaff this evening. Really, my heart is as broken as hers. Ah, the hell with it. Who am I kidding. Vera didn't give two shits about us. Scot and I met Vera on Friday afternoon. Immediately I was a little freaked at her size. She was advertised as a medium dog weighing 40 pounds. But I'm wondering if they've been feeding her at all. The dog is tall, and very long. It's possible with some attention and Kibbles and Bits, this girl is going to be ginormous. Vera's foster parents brought her out to the backyard and let her off the leash. For the next 45 minutes, Scot and I traded innings throwing the ball for Vera. When Scot's arm got tired, I got the ball and threw for a while. When we stopped throwing the ball, Vera jumped on Scot's back. And then she muddied the front of his shirt. It was then I knew that Vera was too much puppy for us. She was more intent on playing ball and looking over the fence then in snuggling up to me. She didn't come when I called her or respond to my pathetic doggy talk. It was kind of like the dumb jocks in high school; good to look at, nice to take out, but not much substance. I knew if I took Vera home, she would choose her ball over me. I'm much too needy for that. I want a dog that grovels and puts their head on my lap. That night, Scot and I decided Vera wasn't right for us. We would keep looking for the second-most perfect dog. Bernice is a darn good girl.

The next day, we headed into town and checked out the other adoptable dogs at Petsmart. Vera was there, back on the market. I felt sad knowing I had gotten so close to being her forever home. Her handler at Petsmart was a young college girl who told us she had fostered Vera a couple of months ago. She said she had Vera a week when she returned home one evening to see all four burners of the stove on, gas flying full-blast. The only one at home was Vera. She figured another couple of minutes and the place would have gone up in smoke. I walked out of Petsmart with a smile on my face. I knew I had made the right choice.

Thursday, September 4, 2008


Tomorrow Scot and I leave for our anniversary weekend in Flagstaff. I'm hoping to bring this cutie home with us. Scot has acquiesced, because secretly I know he knows the joy she will bring to our home. Unless she rips out our jugular, which could happen considering we don't know the dog. But I'm thinking it will be love all around. Here we come Vera!!!

Cindy McVicodin and My touch with "Greatness"

I should start by saying I've had a little to drink. And I'm feeling particularly biased tonight. So excuse me if I offend your sensibilities, but it's my blog for hell's sake. You don't HAVE to read it. But if you're my friend you will.

Cindy McCain looked sort of "soft" and pretty last night. Gone was the shellacked do, and instead she went for the waves. The green dress evokes a fleeting Wicked Witch of the West image, but like I said, it's fleeting. Overall, I think it was working for her and her coloring. At least it wasn't the requisite red or blue damn-it-I'm-an-American suit. I gotta know; what's with the ice princess persona Cindy's got going this time around? Back in 2000, she was looking spry and sported a cute, short haircut. And never mind the fact that was eight years ago and she suffered a stroke in 2004. We all look older, but not ancient. I'm thinking it must be an attempt to make her look mature, around John's age. Or to not have Cindy look like the loaded, younger, hot temptress she was when John met her. When he was married to his first wife. That he left. For her. OOOHHHHH. That hurt. It can't be easy being Mrs. McCain. It would suck to constantly have your dramas and battles laid out for everyone to see. And blog about.

I saw John McCain in person, five years ago. His son, Jimmy, and my sister-in-law, graduated from the same Lutheran middle school. McCain was the honorary speaker that night, and I almost rubbed shoulders with him afterwards. We all attended the same reception, but I didn't have the guts to approach him and give him a shake. I thought the poor man should be able to enjoy his son's accomplishment without being pestered. So I left the man alone. At the time I thought his glory days of running for president were over (wasn't he 87 then?). Little did I know. In the midst of all the meeting-and-greeting he did, I watched him. I noticed how kind and patient he was to everyone. I've heard about his temper and half expected him to launch into a Tourette's shit-fuck-leave-me-alone-cocksuckers rant. But he didn't . I was moderately impressed. Not so much I want to vote for him. But he wasn't heinous. And that was nice to see. My sister-in-law Alex offered a little dirt on the McCain's when I pressed her. She went out with Jimmy a few times. Mostly she said that Jimmy was a bit of a jerk, and his care was pretty much left to the nanny. I'm not sure this information surprised me, but it was a trifle sad to know it was true.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Phone Muzak for your eyes

Scot had an interview today. The damn thing took 2 hours. I seriously think he was better vetted for the job than VP nominee Palin, but that's another story. Scot felt good about it, but he's felt that way when things didn't go our way. Now we wait. Here's where all the self-doubt and agony come in. The truth is that the guy is interviewing other people. I know that Scot would lay his scrotum on the line in this job, but this guy doesn't know that. I really wish I could come with him on these escapades. "Please, take him. Really, I can vouch for him. I'm his wife. He doesn't promise what he can't deliver!" I'm sure that would be appreciated.

So, I wait. And I'll keep waiting. In the meantime, I'll stare at our neighborhood distraction. Dan O'Brien lives down the street. Who? Dan O'Brien. He won the gold medal for the decathlon in the 1996 Olympics. Dan has a body like Adonis. He's a nice guy, too. I've given up waiting for him to pick up the paper in his skivvies, but I see him walking his dogs daily. I don't want the guy or anything. He's just a flower on the landscape. He's my smile when I drink my cup of coffee. He's my Desperate Housewives Moment. I thought I would share him with you. Go ahead.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Maria #4

Friday, I cleaned my house for the first time in 10 years. Wait, make that ever. The house has been cleaned, but never by my own hands. Before you go thinking I'm a prima donna, hear me out. I drive an old car, get $14 hair cuts, and have never held a job that didn't require a uniform. A cleaning lady is my luxury. My only luxury. I grew up with a working mother who had a cleaning lady once a week. Her home was her workplace, and her time free time was valuable. More than a splurge, it was a necessity. Now that I'm an adult, I subscribe to that same theory.

When Scot and I got married, we moved into a 600 square foot apartment. After three months of having Scot tell me that "fisting" the toilet bowl barehanded was the only way to clean it, I sought marriage therapy. It came in the form of Maria #1. Maria cleaned our tiny hovel, and did the laundry while we were at work. All for $50. You can't put a price on that kind of bliss. Marital harmony and free time returned to our lives. Upon moving to Arizona, I latched onto Maria #2. I did the requisite buying of cleaning materials, and the occasional cleanup, but I left the hard stuff for my bi-monthly scrubbing professional. I'm not sure where I rubbed Maria wrong, but she abandoned me after 3 years. However, we were left in the very capable hands of her cousin, Maria #3. Maria has since followed us to our new house, and we've gone through life's ups and downs, together. In the last year, Maria's husband Sergio was laid off from his job and began to help Maria with her business. Sergio did the heavy lifting and much of the mopping and high dusting.

It was with great sadness and agony that I let Maria go this week. Crazy how the trickle- down of a poor economy affects so many lives. I told her 14-year old daughter (the only English speaker) that my husband had lost his job and we couldn't afford to pay them anymore. Scot thought I was giving the teenager a bit too much information , but I didn't want Maria thinking I had been dissatisfied with her work. It was quite the contrary; I felt terrible for cutting into a family's income. I knew how crappy that felt. The next day, I began to grapple with the realization that Friday, my day of blogging, wasting time, and wandering discount stores ,was going to be spent cleaning. I had instantly become the new Maria. I started dreading the day. Not because I was going to have to work, but because I felt so ill-prepared to tackle the methodical task of cleaning. Was it counters first, or floors? Did I have a cleaning caddy big enough to hold all my supplies as I went from room to room? Was my half-assed attempt at cleaning toilets going to be my undoing? Scot told me I would not be alone in my venture. Since he's home now, he would be available to mop and vacuum. And reach the high places.

It all started well enough. I called my mother to shoot the shit, but found that one arm isn't quite enough to reach into the tub. Scot let me know that he never saw Maria engaging in personal phone calls. I hung up and found entertainment in cable TV music. I started Windexing, Pledging, and Orangegloing. It all smelled pretty clean. A nasty spot on the table wouldn't rub out, so I applied a little spit shine. The indiscretion was caught by Scot, who rolled his eyes. I moved along into the kitchen and put serious elbow grease into my work. By the time I reached my bedroom, I was feeling pretty wiped. I threw the pillows on the bed in a big heap. It didn't look quite as cute as Maria always fixed it. The last room to clean was the master bathroom. Showers are weird things. They are always wet, with soap hitting the walls, so is it really necessary to scrub them down? As I asked myself this inane question I remembered that gizmo on TV that shoots a fine mist of mildew cleaner on all the walls. Spraying bleach seemed like the good happy medium. I drenched the walls with Clorox, choked on fumes, and hosed the whole thing down.

The whole shebang took about 3 hours. Scot was my wingman with the vacuum and mop. I regularly called him "Serg" and he suggested that I patch up his jeans (Sergio has cute Levi's with patches on the butt). There were no criticisms thrown about toilet techniques. I only caught hell for my music choice. By the end of the afternoon, I started to figure out the order in which to clean surfaces, and what items required more or less effort. Doing the job myself, twice a month, will save us $190. What would rock my world is if I could hijack a school custodial cart. If I could get all my supplies in one portable place, with a big center trashcan, my time spent cleaning could be cut in half. The true test will be mid-week. If Scot's side of the sheets haven't popped up at 3 a.m., I will consider it a job well done.