The Crazy Suburban Mom: 2010-06-13

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Weekend round-up, tsunamis of nausea, evil baby bunnies and a rock with personality

1.  Pandora   I used to have a wire hanging down by the exhaust pipe.  I kept scooching it back up under the bumper and it kept falling back down.

Yes, I should have brought her back to fix that wire and yes, I still have the back lift gate to deal with but whenever I picked up the phone to call Chrysler I thought I'd vomit. So I spent a few thousand hours waiting for  the tsunamis of  nausea to subside...

Which was never.

So yeah, the wire.  I don't know know what happened.  It broke I guess.

And me, my excuse is I just wanted to not have to say, Yo, me with the big blue money pit on wheels again.... for a few months.  I mean, is that so bad? In retrospect that, like almost everything about Pandora was...


...a bad idea.

Not a clue what that one wire, now two, used to be but I have to take Pandora through her first inspection ever this month and I am sure - Oh, I am sure - that whatever that wire is, it's going to cause me to #FAIL inspection.

2.  Catdog   One of Ginger's favorite things to do is to sit around on the tippy tops of furniture.  I don't even notice anymore but when someone visits they say, Oh how funny! Just like a cat!  And yeah, it is...


It's easy to catch a shot of her there because she will watch the outside perched all day if I leave the door open.  Ginger's an old girl but if any of those evil baby bunnies hop by...


...she wants to know about it...

3.  The Guitar Containment Facility aka my kids room .  There will probably be an update on this soon as my designer (aka the guy who power washes my house) has some room in his schedule to work on it again.   The plan is to add the wall shelving and hopefully do something with the closet.


The closet organizing is where I think we should go first but there are issues.  I can't  find a closet organizer I can afford and I can't find a closet organizer that will be half closet and half office space.

And that is really what he needs.  And it's driving me - I mean him, nuts.  Well, okay it's driving me nuts because everything that needs to be in his room is in my living room.  Like this stuff...


That is his paper work and his birthday gifts...


I don't recall what this was...

But this is the rock with personality...


and it needs to be out of my living room...

So to wrap up....

Anyone got any solutions to get the rock with personality out of my living room.... 


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Thursday, June 17, 2010

My kid's not going to college...

My kid’s not going to college used to be a hard sentence to get out.  My friends we all about where their kids applied, who they'd heard from and where their kids were going. When they asked me I was honest, “My son’s not going to college.”

My son's always had other plans.


  My son is in a luthier apprenticeship.  Don’t feel bad if you don’t know what that means; spell check doesn’t either.  A luthier is someone who makes or repairs stringed instruments; in my son’s case, guitars.  My son has been all about guitars since he was twelve, probably.  I say probably because I’m not sure.

I wasn’t paying attention. I was too busy driving us both crazy and spinning my mommy-wheels trying to get him to do my version of  applying himself.

In fact I was so busy I missed that he already was applying himself.


 While I nagged constantly about school-sponsored clubs and intramural sports – Anything that would look good on a college transcript; he taught himself to play the guitar and happily pursued his dream.

Without me…


I hope my son continues learning, always.  I hope this program renews in him what an education is; engaging, interesting and applicable to his life.

But the real education here was mine.  What is it we say as parents?   I don’t care what you do as long as you’re happy.  There are a million, million versions of that phrase and for how many of them do we add a but and change the whole meaning because we know better?

  I only want you to be happy but a college education is…  Whatever makes you happy makes me happy but there is no future in… I don’t care what you do as long as you’re happy but that job won’t…


At some point it’s time to just let those words stand without the but because that's how they are right. And back when we wanted to be artists, and writers, and ballerinas...and joyful, we knew that.

So, whatever makes you happy, makes me happy.

Rock on, Baby.  Rock on.


Original date of publication November 2009, NJ Moms Blog.  My son completed the apprenticeship in February of 2010 and these are photographs of him at work.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Nineteen thousand seven hundred and ten meals to age eighteen

     During the spitting fiasco that was the year 1992 I was in a constant state of, What?

Is it the food? 

My cooking? 

The entertainment value of my face covered in strained plums? 


  I wrung my hands, lost sleep, whined, and doubled my laundry with each new food.  I didn’t know why he hated what I was feeding him; I only knew he did. It would be better when my son could tell me what he wanted, I kept telling myself.

      My theory was all the food drama and half my laundry would vanish once he could verbalize.  In 1992 I spent a lot of food-covered hours in a fantasy.  My kid and I having endless and interesting discussions about The New York Times Dining & Wine section, convivially musing over  our points of view but then I would sneak in stuff about the new jar of toddler chicken and beets I have for his dinner ...We would compromise, find the toddler-foodie middle ground and work our way up to mother/son sashimi platters.

 Clearly, a theory born of deparation and lack of sleep.

Talking did  stop Mt. Baby from erupting constantly, but so many perfectly reasonable foods turned out to be surprisingly repulsive.

I needed a separate day planner just to keep up with the reasons why this brand was good and that one was totally unacceptable, and which skinless baloney had skin, and why a meatball is good but a meatloaf is giant square doody on a plate, and frankly, I grew tired of hearing why my cooking was disgusting really, really fast.

In retrospect, spitting turned out to be an efficient, albeit inelegant, means of articulating his dislikes.

     There are things that boy came into this world hating and still does Ultimately, It wasn't worth  full-scaling it every time he wouldn’t eat cooked broccoli because he ate it raw.   He’s a great kid; a really great kid.   I picked my battles and told him if he’d accept my rules (he did), I would accept his.

The Rules

The Hot Tomato Rule – Hot tomato pieces, even in foods primarily made up of tomatoes, are evil bits of despicable awful that should be eradicated from the planet.

The Star Trek Rule - Foods of differing types shouldn’t touch à la the Matter/Anti-Matter Reaction on Star Trek where the two are always kept apart with a containment field. If Matter and Anti-Matter touch, or to extrapolate in the case of food, a noodle and a Ding Dong, there will be a cataclysmic explosion and the Universe as we know it will cease to exist.

My son swears, in the case of the noodle and the Ding Dong, this is possible. He is less certain of the Matter/ Anti-Matter thing because, that’s a TV show, Mom. Geeeze.

The Acid Rule - Cooking is lose-lose proposition. Just face it and move on to dusting. Too bland and they tell you you've fed them bulky air, too ‘picy and they say, What's in this stuff acid? Are you trying to kill me?

 And sometimes there are no words, just some impromptu dinner theater involving a dramatic death scene.

The Specks Rule - There are a rainbow of specks.  Green specks could be parsley, could be basil, and could be play-doh for all he knows. He’s never eaten a green speck.  Black specks effectively eliminated one of the five foods he was willing to eat at Disney World. Black specks are grill marks and other signs of cooking.

It was a very long, whiny, week at the Magic Kingdom.

The Same/So Not Same Rule - Foods loved at a friend’s house will never be liked at home.  Period. Wrap it up, put a bow on it and walk away from the stove.  This rule will drive you crazy if you let it, so don’t.   This rule caused me to buy several whole turkeys, a Costco-sized box of samosas, sausage biscuits, pork butt (twice), Hot Pockets, and two hams.

Forget it, you can’t serve anything anyone else made with the same results. Take a deep breath and just go to your happy place.

Which will not be your kitchen.

The Styrofoam Rule - Foods that come in Styrofoam containers are accepted without question.  This rule caused me to investigate the possibility of getting rid of my dishes and buying mass quantities of take-out containers.

   My kid's nineteen now.   A year ago he came home from Jamaica and said, "Ma! I ate conch soup off the back of some guy's bicycle.  It's great, you should try it."  -  And that is something I would have bet the ranch would have never happened by the way - And it was then I knew I'd been taken for an excruciating eighteen year ride on the good ship what's in this stuff.  With taken being the operative word.

Save yourself that ride.  And in case you don't know how long that ride is... I've done the math.  Nineteen thousand seven hundred and ten meals to age eighteen.  Do you really want to say, Just two more mushrooms, that many times?


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Retro-Tuesday with a triple dose of sodium

My issues with creepy 50's/60's jello monstrosities are well known so I'm not going to beat that gelatinous horse today.  There is another food that baffles me.

 I love so much about that era but I don't understand why they took foods that didn't need gilding and turned them into the stuff of nightmares.


What was up with the bizarre treatment of hot dogs?

This article promised a lot...


Too much.  Some things are perfect already.

A hot dog.  A bun. Period.  This...



But this business...


Green and red peppers cooked in water served over scrambled eggs and topped with weenie shrapnel?

What evil, twisted mind thought of that?




This recipe falls under that whole, why are the hot dogs standing up thing?  So many recipes call for having your hot dogs vertical and what in the world is up with that?


I guess there might be some appeal in this last one because there are very few things not improved by bacon but how much sodium can you serve your family before it's actually a misdemeanor?



Email me and I'll put your link right  here.

Vonlipi's Favorites 


I'm interrupting Retro Tuesday for... and yep, it about broke my face but...

I'm smiling...

headshot border

Since everyone said the same thing which was pretty much...

Geeeze, smile already will you?

I did.  It will be buried, never to be seen again in a little bit by Retro Tuesday anyway whenever I get it together.  But for now...

I'm ...was, smiling.


Monday, June 14, 2010

A well stocked pantry soup

I know there are a lot of saving strategies for the grocery budget but the only thing that works for me is staying a galaxy far, far away from those welcoming automatic doors and enticing loss leaders.

I dunno... Once that rarefied, grocery air hits me, I lose more resolve with each new and improved thing.

And it's ninety-eight feet thirty times worse if I send someone else to pick up eggs and Advil.   They come home with eggs, Advil, six flats of petunias, two carts of groceries and a trailer hitch pulling a new table and chairs for the deck and Oh, we still need to get the umbrella it wouldn't fit on the roof of the car.

For me a well-stocked pantry is the best defense because it keeps every one with a credit card away from the stores.

There are things I like to keep in my pantry at all the times so when I have to use up one semi-petrified chicken breast...

petrified chicken

I can.

That sad looking thing has been in my fridge, way the heck in the back down the road from Gdansk, for days. This morning I got together some of my pantry items and made soup.


I'm serving it later with grilled cheese.

It was easy, really delish, and...


... not a fresh veggie in the whole thing...

What can I say, the fresh veggie pickins' were slim but I always have those up there and these below..

frozen br rice

...bottom right.  I always have them in my freezer.

I like rice.  It's healthy.  It's filling.  It's  inexpensive and it's good for you. And brown rice is great for you and has tons of fiber.  Fiber is the new black, by the way...

Anyway, I make it in bulk, freeze it in portions (flat) and than stand the portions up like little rice soldiers waiting to go into pantry battle.  It's perfect really. 

Mom Central asked if I wanted to be part of an Uncle Ben's Brown Rice Blog Tour and they offered to send me the makings for more little rice soldiers, Was I interested?  Uh-huh.

The nice thing about having  rice in your pantry is that it works for so many things.  I made a great soup this morning but its just as easy to make a quick pilaf.  A quick saute with a few almonds in butter, than some diced onions, add the rice, maybe a bit of lemon zest...  the almonds...salt and pepper and....well, done.

And you can substitute a quarter amount of brown rice into a rice pudding easily. And if I get, What are the dark ones in this stuff?

I'm not beyond saying, Oh, those? Those are the chocolate rices...

All's fair in love and pickiness.

Fiber is the New Black Pantry Soup

12 cups water
2/3 cup of Uncle Ben's cooked brown rice
Whole jar of dried veggies
1 Tablespoon dried sliced garlic
2 Tablespoons chopped dried  onions
1 Tablespoon dried Parsley
2 or 3 Chicken bouillon cubes - or if you have soup stock you can just use that
Whatever left overs you need to use up

Add all ingredients to a large stock pot, bring to a boil and than reduce to a simmer.  Cook until dried ingredients are rehydrated and tender and rice has broken down a bit.  About an hour...

You may need to add more water.  And you can add other seasoning to this.  It's just a pantry springboard, have fun and please don't make this a calculus equation!

“I wrote this review while participating in a blog campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Uncle Ben’s and received samples to facilitate my candid review. Mom Central sent me a gift card to thank me for taking the time to participate.”


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Where's Tazzy Today?

Tazzy contemplates throwing my desktop down the Grand Canyon...

grand canyansq

And no, I'm not kidding.

Been trying to save the desktop and every thing - every single thing - on it for about three days.  Nope, huge #Fail.  

Had to reformat the hard drive and reinstall Windows... and it hurt more then my back does.



I mentioned the spill I took this week in my Weekly Round-up but seems my little topple off the deck is kind of well, I don't even know what.

I don't know if anyone's had a car accident, ever?  But you sometimes get out of the car and feel fine and then over the next few days your muscles and everything else revolt until you are one giant ball of muscle spasms and pain plus a giant whining annoyance to everyone you come in contact with?

Not that you come in contact with that many people because they start to run when they see you coming because they don't want to hear your self-pity anymore...

That's pretty much where I am now.

For some reason the whole fall is getting worse, not better, and I'm waking up in a giant state of OW!OW!OW! every twenty minutes all night which I could stand because it didn't hurt during the day until today.  So now I'm basically in a state of OW!OW!OW! all the time.  But I'm alone cause who wants to hear that?

No one.

So um, yeah.  Ow.


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