Sunday, March 31, 2013

Our Weekend: Easter

Our weekend was restful chaos, if that makes sense. 
Friends, birthday parties, trips to the park, brunch, egg hunts, too much food, too much sugar, lots of movies, a few naps, cleaning out my closet, and 5784822092 loads of laundry. 
It was so good.
I am so tired.
But in a nice, happy, life is pretty OK right now way.

Happy Easter. I hope yours was as good as ours. 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Friday Diary: It's Good Friday. Let's Start Over.

Easter is this weekend, and for as much as Easter has {to be brutally honest} never meant much to me {Sorry Easter, I'm a Fall/Winter holiday girl for life}, this one feels particularly symbolic.
You all know I've never been much for beating around the Too Much Information bush, so I'll just come out and say this {cuz this is the tree fort, remember?}: I had to get a restraining order against my dad this week, and have him forcibly removed from my home. Barred from further contact with me or my children. Legally banned from my home, work and their schools.
I had to get a court order that formally removed him from my life.
And I'm almost certain there is no going back from this.
Our relationship is irrevocably over as father and daughter.
As I remove one of the last remaining members of my family that I've still struggled to have a relationship with from my life, I feel oddly sad and disconnected. Like a free floating organism in the Universe that has no beginning, no history firmly rooted in the faces of its relatives.
In a weird way, there is freedom in that too.
I don't have to be defined by the dysfunction I grew up with.
I don't have to be the girl with the troubled home life, or the scary dad or the embarassing mom.
I can just be a girl who is related to people, of course, but who they are isn't a part of her story anymore.
It's not about their mark on her pages now, it's about her chapters, and however the hell she decides to write them.
There can be new characters, and new adventures, and I am not who he is.
I am light. I am not forced down, I am anchored down. By my love for my kids and the bonds I share with my chosen family. My village.
This Easter I'll be having some of my closest friends over - who all happen to be single mommies just like me - and we'll hide an absurd amount of eggs and fill colorful baskets with candy and surprises, and watch the next generation of us hunt for treasures in the perfect Springtime sun. We'll drink Mimosas and make french toast and eat and sip and laugh and chat because we have each other.
We can start over any time. Reinvent ourselves as much as we want.
And we can lean, ever so certainly, on each other.
I'll be spending Easter free of the people who have always tried to tell me who I was, and what I was, and how terribly insufficient I was, and instead in the company of women who know me, understand me, and see me as I am.
Flawed. Free. Happy. Trying.

Happy Easter.
I hope you find the freedom and the joy, and the new beginnings that you need.
And if you find an egg full of cash, it's from me. You're welcome.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

March 20th, 2013, 8:45 am

It’s cold today, barely creeping above 60 degrees and there is a heavy layer of clouds muting the sunlight and leaving a grey shadow on everything. Not that I mind. Overcast days are my favorite. I’m staring out the windows and wondering what it would be like to live somewhere else. Seattle, New York, Boston, Philadelphia. Somewhere with more rain, more green grass, more overcast days. Somewhere with a market on the corner and where all the Chinese places deliver, you can walk to anything you want, and it’s never 120 degrees out.
I wonder if it would be any easier to write if I had 24 hour access to Chinese food, or rain more days of the year than there is sunshine. I wonder if I would find my words in a split level brown stone over looking Battery Park, or if I could go for long drives through the Callahan tunnel. Maybe I just need some silence. Maybe I just need some time.
I’m sure my voice is hiding inside me somewhere.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


There is early morning Springtime sun straining through the wood blinds and slicing across my floor. The cat is asleep on my legs and I can hear Lainie and Jackson in the next room, eating cereal out of the box and watching Saturday morning cartoons, and I can hear music coming from somewhere in the house. Sometimes I feel like my whole life is made up of the places I’ve lived it in. The third story one bedroom apartment I rented with $400 and a fake I.D. when I was seventeen, with the balcony where we drank poorly mixed Vodka and cranberry juice and smoked too many cigarettes. There was music always playing and nothing in the fridge. I lived there alone but I was never alone there. Everyone had a key and it was never just my place, it was our place, until my dad moved in and it didn’t feel like anyone’s place anymore but his, so we all left. Then there was the overpriced, swanky two bedroom apartment in the gray brick building with a kitchen I wasn’t old enough to appreciate yet. I made toasted bagels and frozen pizza and I'm not even sure we owned salt and pepper shakers. We had no furniture and even less of an idea of how to decorate so it always looked empty. That was the first time I ever felt younger than anyone, but that was the youngest I ever got to be. I spent a lot of time then at an apartment in Scottsdale with a patio that over looked the park I used to play in as a kid and it felt like a weird mirror image. I lived there almost as much as I lived at home but I was never comfortable, and for some reason I was so thankful for the time someone else spilled Kool Aid all over the floor because it meant I wasn’t the only one who made mistakes. Still it wasn’t a home of mine, so eventually and without warning, I left for good. I moved out of the gray brick expensive apartment in the middle of the night, driving an old Chevy pickup to Ajo, Arizona, the winding road made darker by the heavy uncertainty about the future. I had already fallen out of love with the boy I was moving with and everytime he smiled at me in the blue light from the radio I wanted to disappear. The day after we arrived I got so sick I almost died and I took that as a sign that I didn’t belong there. Instead of making the best of it I languished through the afternoon heat in the trailer behind my boyfriend’s dad’s house, smoking and writing and restlessly sleeping. I was dreaming of Phoenix in the same way I used to dream of New York City when I was fourteen, and I could almost taste the feeling of being home again when I first woke up every morning. I wanted to go back so badly it made me crazy with rage and the nights were long, filled with circular fights about whose fault it was that we ended up here and why couldn’t we leave. When we finally did make it back to Phoenix, our only option was a three bedroom house with my dad again, and I knew this was a bad idea but I was hoping it would make my boyfriend want to move out and break up with me so I wouldn’t have to be responsible for his fractured heart and deteriorating mental faculties. It never happened, so once again I left instead and Jackson came along only a year later. When he was a baby, we moved around a lot. Starting out staying with that one friend from high school who was a Craigslist escort in secret, and then the other friend from high school before I got sick again, and then my sister and her husband where I forgot what dignity felt like the night that I begged my “brother” in law for our air mattress back. I finally got my shit back together enough to afford for the kids and I moved into a rundown historic house in The Willo that my dad wanted more than I did. The back of the house was sinking into the ground because the foundation was missing and I cried every day. When the air conditioning was replaced with a window swamp cooler in the middle of July, we ended up in a motel and my kids’ lives were turning out the way mine had started. It was a long and crazy summer before we got the condo on the western border of Tempe, where the pizza guy wouldn’t deliver to us and there was barefoot kids panhandling in their own front yards, but at least it wasn’t a motel. It was a house and it was clean and it was ours. In the time I lived there I witnessed the births of over 40 babies, caught two with my bare hands and briefly owned my own business.
Now there is our 1,500 square foot house in Chandler. There's coffee in the morning and writer's block at night. Bills and car payments and something more stable and adult than I ever imagined for myself. 
I decide that everything is transitory, everything moves, everything shifts and by the time I’m done living I won’t even remember all the homes that we have had. The ones that stand out will not be because they had the counter tops I liked or the carpet I had always wanted. They won’t stay with me because of the square footage or the neighborhood or even because they were technically hotels. They will be forever remembered because of the time in my life they represented, the people who filled them, and the people I have been along the way.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Spring in Arizona

It's Spring in Arizona.
Even though the afternoons are long and hot, the evenings are long and cool. The air is fresh and clean and everything that the winter killed is coming back. Delicious breezes roll through and lift your spirits, awakening   forgotten daydreams of aimless drives with the windows down, sundresses that elicit playful romance, and shining bare shoulders that await the kisses and caresses that they went all winter without. 
Here's to Spring. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Hours In The Day

I am thankful for crock pots that simmer and fill my house with the smell of food I can pretend I actually took the time to cook, on the days when I have no time to cook.

I am grateful for tile-floor vacuums that make sweeping a thing of the past.

I am grateful for dishwashers, coffee makers, and myself when I have the forethought to set those things before I go to bed, and pick out my clothes for the next day.

I am grateful for calendars and schedules, even though these are things I used to loathe. They might be nerdy and uptight, but they make my life easier and keep me from forgetting to go to a meeting, a parent/teacher conference, or to feed the cat.

I am grateful for new cars, warranties, free maintenance and better gas mileage, and the very good friends who pushed me, encouraged me, and helped me make that happen. A reliable car takes so much stress away, and less stress somehow feels like more time. More time to watch movies with the kids, garden in the short stint of good weather that Arizona has between March and April, cook meals, take drives, write, just be.

There aren't enough hours for the things I want to do. For all the cuddles I want from my babies, all the kisses I want to give them, all the things that need to get done because I'm the only one to do them.
It's a reality we all live with, a balance we all strive for.
But this is a moment for being grateful. Grateful for the things that make life a little easier, and for the time that we do have.
And it's a moment for hope. Hope that we have the presence of mind and the clarity of heart and soul to make the most of it.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

What A Girl Will Do For A Tomato Plant

A girl will dig ceaselessly in the dirt with her bare hands, caking her nails with black earth and ruining any prior hint of a manicure.
She will check the moisture like a mother checking the temperature of a sick child, lovingly pinching and trimming the leaves, watching carefully as the little stalks struggle upward.
She will sing to it, talk to it, tell it about her day.
Confide in it, watch over it, bring it in if outside is suddenly too cold.
She will inspect it closely every day, waiting for the first fruits of her love and labor.
Rushing outside first thing in the morning and crawling around the garden soil in her pajamas, hoping to see the first fat, shiny bulb of a glowing red tomato.
When the time finally comes and the first tomato hangs heavy on the vine, it will take everything she has not to pluck it from it's stem and bite into it right then, right in there as she crouches in the moist earth as the sun is still barely rising, just to feel the sweet, warm rush of the juice and the seeds swirling into her mouth, like a galaxy of her very own.

Monday, March 18, 2013

A Letter For Myself, For When I Was Pregnant For The First Time

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Dear Pregnant-for-the-first-time-self,

I look at you through my mind's eye, languishing through the hot summer afternoons on the couch, eating pickles and toaster strudels by the box full, and I wonder why nobody ever told you that's not all going exclusively to your baby belly. Most of it is going to forever reside in your ass. Sorry.
Look at you, writing your birth plan and worrying about things like c-sections and episiotomies and whether or not you're going to poop on the table when you're pushing. You have no idea right now that in the frenzy of pushing you won't care of you crap all over the doctor's face, just so long as he can still get the baby out of you. In fact, you'll want it out so badly that the second you start to tear you're going to scream at the doctor to JUST CUT YOU ALREADY AND LET'S GET THIS OVER WITH.
The nurses will find it funny. You will not.
Here you are at your baby shower, waddling over to the food buffet a sixth time for more potato salad. Enjoy it while you can, because once the baby comes you'll be lucky if you're awake and coherent long enough to eat four stale saltines and half a Sprite before the baby wants back on your boob.
Oh and about boobs: just get over them now. They're going to change, they're going to hurt, they might even blister and bleed and even if no one else notices, you will probably always feel like they're lower or flatter than they used to be. But, there's never been a war without casualties and despite all the pamphlets and books full of inspiring messages and softly lit, flawless photographs, pregnancy is not as much a "beautiful journey", back lit with honey gold lighting, as it is a full-on military invasion, complete with land mines {hemerroids/stretch marks/verricose veins}, trauma {pooping for the first time after deliver when you still have stitches} and casualties {your boobs}.
Just so you know, it's OK to stop listening to other people, especially marketing executives. Babies used to roll around in the back of covered wagons for thousands of miles across the country, so I'm sure yours can most certainly live without 90% of the shit that they say you need. Actually, little do you know right now, you won't even need that fancy crib you just spent six hours and an entire box of Twinkies trying to put together. The baby will end up sleeping with you.
And when it comes to what you should listen to and what to ignore, remember that some people are mean, some people are annoying, some people like to give trite and over used advice that doesn't apply to any real life situation ever. Some people will throw bible quotes at you, some people have every inspirational quote ever written memorized, some people will just never get over their self righteousness. Very few people will be genuinely helpful, but those that are have probably been where you are before: a mom for the first time, sweaty, awkward, nervous and constantly leaking milk.
So when your first friend is becoming a mom for the first time, remember what it was like and bring her a chicken and do her laundry, because everyone like chicken and clean clothes.

Also, you're going to have stretch marks on the back of your calves by the time this is over. That shit wasn't in the Beautiful Journey pregnancy books either.

Friday, March 15, 2013

The Friday Diary: Offending cows and Taylor Swift at the same time isn't easy. Or is it?

Exactly how I feel when arriving at the beach. So cute & so true.

1. This week has been a hot crazy cake of car emissions, mechanic shops, stress and worry. I am so glad it's Friday now and I can have many glasses of wine and relax. 

2. Speaking of wine, today is also pay day AND jeans day. OMGYES.

3. This week I read so many good blog posts and articles around the internets. The first was this post by Elizabeth at Flourish in Progress about how some people still see you as "That Girl". The messed up, crazy, terrible girl you used to be, and when you run into them now you feel a swell of conflicting emotion between wanting to run so they don't come talk to you and remind you of how you once were {they always do} and wanting to stand your ground and let them see you now as "This Woman" instead of That Girl. As a former That Girl myself, I had a similar experience this weekend with someone that barely knew me three years ago, but apparently saw just enough to know I was a big ball of fucked up, and made an awkward, confusing attempt at complimenting me now on how far I've apparently come. 
The second most amazing thing I read this week was this post by Elizabeth at E Tells Tales, about the fear we feel for our children as we watch them reaching out to the world, because we know all the hurt and the pain that will most likely find them in their lives, and we want to protect them. She moved me to damn tears when she wrote
"The reaching is scary, but isn't it true that your life is only worth the reaching that you do? I hope I get to teach Everett that."
My little heart was just nodding along with that like it was the Gospel truth. E knows how to touch people, for real. 

4. Lainie finally caved on being a vegetarian. In your face, cows. 

5. Also over the weekend, I cut my hair. 

I officially have mom hair. Holler.

6. You know what this is?

Chapter one, is what that is. It's blurred so none of y'all steal my genius. I'm just kidding, I was in the car and my hands shake like a boy touching boobs for the first time. 

7. Completely forgot I had this song on my iPod

And when it came on randomly I was like "OMGYESIREMEMBEREVERYWORDTOTHISSONG" and then proceeded to bump it as loud as I could, in my minivan with the windows down while I rolled through Scottsdale. #shamelesswhitegirl4life

8. I found this on Pinterest
And it made me happy because I AM dating myself, and I DO surprise myself with Starbucks, like ALL THE TIME. It is adorable. 

9. Have you finally broken down and watched the Taylor Swift goat video? Because it's fucking hilarious. Watch it. 


Happy Friday. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

For When You Wish Your Life Was Different

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Sometimes life creeps up on you - usually when you think you've finally gotten ahead and you're doing OK - and it reminds you that nothing is perfect, nothing lasts forever, and the real, every day grind of life will always be there in one form or another.
When that happens, I have a bad habit of letting it get to me in the worst way. I stress about it, I obsess about it, I cry. I become this frantic little being, scurrying around trying to keep everything from toppeling over. I'm a catastrophizer. In my mind these little, inconvenient things that everyone has to deal with, usually more than once in their life, scare the living hell out of me, because I am so deathly afraid of ever going back to being stuck.
I was stuck, in once sense of the word or another, for a long time.
Making too little money, or no money at all for a while there, two kids, too many expenses, and not enough options.
I've spent the last year trying to make everything stable again, and for the most part, I have. Financially we're doing OK. We don't live in the ghetto anymore. I make enough to support the kids on my own without constantly begging their dad's for money that they'll never give me.
Being in this stable, calmer place has been so good, and so foreign to me. It's something I never, ever had growing up, and something I am now terrified to ever lose.
Recently about 50 different things came up with my car though, and I feel like I'm on the verge of a nervous breakdown. With each new development, there is a stream of panicked thoughts that follow.
Car needs new tires? I am going to be so broke for the next couple weeks.
Car won't pass emissions, needs new brakes and the A/C fixed? There goes all the money I had saved up.
Need a new car altogether? I never should have moved into this house that's so expensive, because now I can't afford a car payment and I am going to be stuck with this car forever, throwing money away to keep it running, and then when it officially dies for good, I won't be able to get to work, I'll lose my job, house, and ultimately sanity.
When it gets like this, I have to remind myself that I've survived worse. That once upon a time I didn't have a car to put new breaks on at all, and that was worse.
Once upon a time, we lived in a two bedroom condo in an awful part of town, where people got robbed and mugged so often that the pizza place right across the street wouldn't even deliver to my neighborhood. That was worse.
I used to not make enough money to pay all my bills every month, and I had to choose which ones to pay late or which ones to borrow moeny from someone in order to pay. That was worse.
I used to stress and cry and wonder what was going to happen every single day. I used to stay up at night, pacing and worrying and trying to find a way out.
That was worse.
Now we have a nice house and our bills are paid and we're doing alright, and even though the car needs work it's running right now, and probably will keep running at least another year, so I'm just going to have to work my ass off to be able to buy a new car then. But still I have a year, and that's not bad.

Sometimes I wish my life was different. Better, easier, smoother.
But then I remember how it used to be, and how far we've come, and how much it actually has improved over the last couple years, and I remember that the life I have now was once something I only dreamed about having someday, and I know that we'll be ok.

Still, I wouldn't say no to some wine and a million dollars.
Just in case you were going to offer.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Phoenix Eats: The Red Dragon

The one thing I envy the most about people on the east coast is that they can get almost anything delivered to them, especially when it comes to food. 
In phoenix it's hard to get anything other than pizza delivered to you, and for whatever reason Chinese places that deliver are so rare, I actually never found a single one until I moved to Chandler. 
I found the Red Dragon on Yelp, actually, and have ordered from there twice. It's cheap {for Chinese food}, relatively fast, their deliver area is huge and the portions are perfectly sized and the food is really good. 
Also I've ordered their shrimp and it didn't kill me. Just an FYI if you're the type of person that is weird about ordering seafood from fast food places.
You can order on their website, which is awesome, and their pan fried dumplings are insanely delicious. They actually have nice, big, flavorful pieces of meat in them, instead of those little flecks of something kind of like meat that you get in most dumplings.
If you live in Chandler or are visiting, hit 'em up. You won't be disappointed.

Phone number: 480-722-1222

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Early Warning System

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When I was little I was certain that by the time I grew up, there would be flying cars.
Never again would I have to suffer through long afternoons in the hot cab of the tow truck without air conditioning, because I would have a flying car and it most certainly would have air conditioning. I thought about all my friends and who I would give rides to first.
I was in fourth grade though, so I based my decisions solely on who was the funnest to have over and sleep overs and who gave the best Valentine's every year.
Now that I'm older I'm not all that surprised that we don't have flying cars. I mean, just think about what a mess that would be. A bunch of tired, under caffeinated adults dragging themselves out of bed and flying through rush hour traffic. All those idiots on the freeway? They'd be all up in your flight path, like "Oh hey did you want to land here? Too bad because I'm just chilling on this runway for no good reason, HAPPY TUESDAY."
One thing I am a little surprised that we don't have by now is some kind of emotional early warning system.
Some mechanism that is not only in tune with the Universe and the future actions of others, but also with out own tender and sensitive natures. A device that warns you "Your ex-boyfriend, the one who broke your heart and ruined your life? He's going to send you a vague and confusing email in exactly two days that you will obsess and stress over. Be prepared."
Or an app on our smart phones that vibrates to let us know "Someone you love dearly is going to say something you didn't ever think they'd say and it's going to ruin you. Plan on staying in for the next few days."
I guess kind of like a horoscope, but actually accurate, so that we can know when the pain is coming, when the trouble is brewing, and we can prepare ourselves for the blows before hand.
Gone would be the days of being blind sided by a hurtful comment, a betrayal, a surprise encounter with someone you're not ready to see yet.
But I guess it's always possible in the end that no amount of warning would make some of the trespasses on the most vulnerable parts of ourselves any easier to deal with.
It's likely that some things will just hurt no matter how far in advance we see them coming, and no matter how much we try to batten down the hatches ahead of time.
I guess if that's the case I'd still like my flying car.
And some chocolate.
Lots of chocolate. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Monday Momisms: The Many Mysteries of Having Kids

Hahaha classic.

1. Where does the bread go? I mean seriously, I buy it, I buy two loaves at once, and before I even get it put away it's already down to the heels which nobody likes. My pantry is a graveyard of discarded bread heels until they get moldy or I am so desperate to taste something along the lines of bread for the first time in weeks, that I break down and eat them. I haven't had decent bread in months. I've bought it, I just never get to it first.

2. Also, milk. What the fuck, milk? I love seeing people in the grocery store digging through the milk jugs looking for the furthest away expiration date, as if milk sits in their fridge forgotten, and could possibly be there long enough to go bad. I wonder what that's like.

3. There is a roll of toilet paper, half used, in ever room of the house. You didn't put them there, and your kids are like always sniffing because they refuse to wipe or blow their nose. What the hell are they doing with the toilet paper?

4. Why do kids like Dora and Diego? Those kids are seriously neglected, left to roam around the South American wilderness in the company of wild animals, with a condescending map and back pack on acid, looking for some baby bird's mother. Notice they're like always looking for some poor baby animal's mom? Why is child abandonment such a strong theme in this show? And after these kids go through basically hell to find the baby animal's mother, the mom is just like "Thanks guys! I was wondering where I left this offspring" and NOBODY ASKS THE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS! Like, oh I don't know, why the fuck did you just leave your kids 20 miles away with no food or water, and didn't even bother to look for it?!

5. Kids have the most ridiculous bullshit detectors. One day you can be in a smart ass mood and tell them that the sun and the moon are brother and sister and they can't be up at the same time because they fight too much, and your kids COMPLETELY BUY IT, but the next day when you're completely fucking exhausted but still take the time and effort to give an honest answer to their question, like "Yes horses drink water too, just like people", and suddenly they're all up in your shit with the wrath of a southern lawyer about how wrong you are, and there is no way horses drink water and how dare you fucking lie to them because Julia at school told them that horses drink Kool Aid and you need to back up her statement or sohelpmegodiwillendyou.

So many things I don't think I'll ever understand, but for the next 13 years, will desperately try to, while also spending my days languishing in fantasies of pantries that overflow with entire bread loaves. 
You know you're a parent when you long for the day that bread and milk have the opportunity to go bad in your house.

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Friday Diary: There's a new taco at taco bell and Othello is the most racist board game ever

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1. I started my summer garden, in an effort to not hate summer this year. I guess I figured if I had something that forced me to go outside and attempt to enjoy the weather, like food growing on my patio, maybe this year my seasonal affective disorder wouldn't be so bad. So far I have spent more time outside, but mostly just staring at the plants and wondering when there will be strawberries with which I can make chocolate covered strawberries.
I even manage to make gardening a fattening activity.

2. As part of my March goal of making my house a home, I took to Ross on Sunday and bought a bunch of crap for my kitchen. Nothing major, just some stuff that fixes the little things that have been driving me apeshit about my kitchen. For example, the bottom of my coffee pot leaves this weird dark stain on my obscenely light colored counter tops, and it pisses me off having to bleach it all the time, so I found a tea serving tray for $2, and put the coffee pot on it. Problem solved. I'm sure you're thinking I could just have bought a new coffee pot and that'd be a more permanent solution, but I don't give up on things just because they become a little leaky or stain my counters all the time. I will expect the same from all of you when I get old or go crazy and start writing nonsensically about things nobody cares about.
Oh, wait...

3. I have a conference today with Lainie's new teacher, and I'm a little nervous because the last time I went to her school to talk to one of her teachers, the day ended with me verbally assaulting a third grade teacher in front of all the parents and kids int he kiss and ride line, and then her telling the principal she was scared for her safety. My response was no less inappropriate than you'd assume: I said you should be.
Here's hoping that tomorrow goes better..

4. Lainie finally let me cut her hair after over a month of having epic battles in the living room, trying to get two monster knots out that had officially become dread locks. It's so adorable I just want to eat her.

5. These came out this week:
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 I had one on Wednesday, and it was even more amazing than it sounds. Also, you know you like junk food a little too much when one of your friends texts you to tell you a new taco came out at Taco Bell, AND one of your co-workers emails you about the same taco the next day, because they both know a new taco is pretty much the same to you as a new car.

6. The other night, I walked into the garage where my dad was sitting on an old kitchen chair, seemingly staring off into space. I asked what he was doing and he says "Trying to think of more jokes for my stand up routine" - with a completely serious tone and expression. This was fascinating to me, because in the 25 years I've known him, I've never known him to speak in front of more than 5 people at once, let alone tell jokes often or ever once do stand up. "I didn't know you did stand up" I replied casually. All of a sudden he yells "YOU NEVER LISTEN TO ME AND YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND ME AT ALL" and storms out of the garage. I wasn't sure what to do or how to handle it, so I decided to make a note in my journal for Future Sarah that said "When Lainie is in the throws of teenage girl hormones, don't ever tell her you didn't know she does stand up"

7. Ever listened to Paul McDonald? You should. I guess he was on some show called "American Idol" which doesn't sound very popular, but I found him on one of the only shows that's ever mattered, Parenthood. He's amazing.

8. I found this on Pinterest:
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It made me laugh for well over an hour. Are there dating website dedicated exclusively to finding single men who used to live in Boston but now live in Arizona and still have their adorable accent? You guys look around and report back to me.

9. One of my favorite bloggers took a month off from the internets, and she's back now with a moving and powerful post on what it's like to disconnect for that long. Read it here.

10. And last but not least, I played Othello with Jackson the other night, receiving more than just a fun half hour of quality time with my son. This kid is hilarious, random, and way too smart for his age. I love four year old logic.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Comfort Food: Sausage Broccoli Mac and Cheese

The comfort we take from food is something that I think we all share. 
Right, wrong, or indifferent, comfort food is called comfort food for a reason: it's hearty and satisfying and makes you feel warm and sleepy when you're done with it.
Comfort food is universal. One of the few links we all share.
My favorite comfort foods involve cheese or have casserole in the name. This is probably surprising to none of you.
Loaded mashed potatoes, tater tot casserole with lots of cheese, hash-brown casserole, green bean casserole with extra fried crispy onion straw things.
One of my best friends, Camdon, shares my love of cheese and casseroles, and he gave me this recipe recently. It's hearty, it's filling, it's cheaper than dirt and if you have kids in the house, forget about it, this shit is gone.

What you need...

A 13x9 inch glass casserole dish
A polska kielbasa sausage link...the big one that comes in like the oval shape
A bag of frozen broccoli
two cans of cheddar cheese soup
1 box elbow macaroni
shredded cheese
panko bread crumbs or crushed croutons if you want a crunchy top {we did. shocker I know.}

Slice the sausage into pennies and fry it in a little olive oil until it's brown on the edges or as crispy as you like it. I usually pepper mine with a little garlic powder, onion powder and a dash of Cajun seasoning.
Boil the elbow macaroni until it's the texture you like it, then drain it.
Mix the soup, sausage, frozen broccoli and drained pasta together in the casserole dish. 
Add about a half a cup of shredded cheddar and mix again.
Top with your bread crumbs or crushed croutons, and throw it in a preheated oven at 375 for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and it's hot and bubbly. 
Eat, feel comforted, go for a long walk. 


When Your Kid Becomes a Vegetarian So You Heckle Them Without Mercy

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Lainie decided recently to try being a vegetarian. I don't remember exactly how it came up, but I do remember sitting at the dinner table chatting with her on Friday night, when I said something about how she shouldn't ever do crystal meth, and the next thing I knew she was asking me if she could be a vegetarian. Clearly I screwed up the "Don't do drugs" speach, because it scared her off of meat {some fucking crazy how} and I'm still worried that one day she'll be in an episode of Intervention.
Anyway, I told her she could try it if she wanted to, because I like to be that parent that encourages their children to be who they are and try what they want {meth and dating politicians aside}, but then I proceeded to make meat every night for the next four nights, because I also like to be that parent who challenges their kids to stick to their guns. And by challenge I mean heckle.
Do you feel better about your own parenting yet?
So far Lainie has held strong, even after dinners of pork chops, burgers, salmon patties and mini chicken chimichangas. She ate extra servings of the sides and salads I made those nights, and usually ended up eating a couple cartons of yogurt and a peanut butter and jelly or banana and honey sandwich before bed.
I don't know exactly how long this "I'm a vegetarian" thing is going to last, but I plan to up the game a little by making spaghetti and sausage tonight and chili tomorrow.
Her two favorite things.
As much as I don't love the idea of her being a vegetarian at such a young age, especially when she's already so skinny, I'm proud of her for not giving in yet.
She is most definitely like me in so many ways, and even if she did want meat again so badly it was making her crazy, she won't give up just to prove that she can do this.
To that I say, go on with your bad self, Lainie.
You are without a doubt your mother's daughter. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Recent Failures

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1. Mopping. The other night I literally mopped half of my kitchen floor, and then got tired, decided I would finish the rest the next morning, and watched tv for the last hour before bed. That was four days ago. The other half of the floor remains unmopped, and I just keep avoiding eye contact with it. This could go on for weeks.

2. Saving money. Not sure why I thought my March goal of decorating my house, was anywhere near fitting with my 2013 goal for the year, which was to save as much money as possible. Decorating your house and saving money are two things that don't go together easily. It's like one is an uptown girl and the other is the boy from the wrong side of the tracks who secretly has a heart of gold, and you have to watch them play out millions of hilariously predictable hijinx before they realize that they're meant for each other. Or one of them dies of cancer.

3. Writing. Clearly I haven't been writing much lately. I just feel completely unfunny and uninteresting, and why would anyone want to read a bunch of dry, depressing shit that feels very akin to watching old people fall asleep on public benches?
The answer is they wouldn't.

4. Dressing myself. My fly was down four different times in one day. On this day I also happened to be wearing black pants and bright red underwear, and a shirt that in no way even bothered to attempt at covering my fly.

5. Eating properly. I had a grilled cheese sandwich with bacon on it for lunch today. So there's that.

Happy Tuesday, everyone. Here's to bacon and underwear half dirty floors that you're pretending you don't see.

Friday, March 1, 2013

The Friday Diary: Give me all your luck. And chocolate.

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1. I really want to turn my backyard into a mega-garden. I have the strangest urge-no, NEED, to grow things. To dig in fresh soil and put tomatoes on the table that came from our backyard. I don't know what's come over me, as I've never really had a desire to garden before, ever! but I've caught the fever and I can't wait to get started. I'm going to get all my supplies this weekend and start some seeds in my house so I can move them outside right on time. My goal is to grow tomatoes, bell peppers, zuchini basil, maybe asparagus and definitely watermelon. Wish me luck.

2. It's a new month today, which means tackling a new goal: making my house a home. I know I can't beautify my WHOLE house in one month. That's expensive and unrealistic. But I would like to do at least two rooms inside the house, and do something with the backyard. See garden talk above. I'm super excited and completely scared because I have good taste, but no idea how to pull it all together into a well decorated and set up home. My fear is that my house will end up looking like a Vegas show girl turned hooker when I'm done with it. Wish me more luck.

3. There are officially two months left in Lainie's school year, which means summer is almost here, which means many things this year: my seasonal affective disorder coming back, daycare being 100 times more expensive, and Jackson being that much closer to starting school. I'm trying to be positive and make the best of all of it, but I'm nervous and a little sad and I don't want Jackson to turn five.

4. Have you heard the new song "Stay" by Rihanna? Because that ish has been playing in my car on the reg, and I can't get enough of it. The piano, her voice {she actually sings in this song instead of scream/raps and her voice is strong and beautiful} and the lyrics. They just kill me.

5. One of my favorite co-workers is leaving our company in exactly two weeks from today. I'm so sad to see her go, but she's moving to DC which also makes me incredibly jealous. I never thought I'd get so attached to the people I work with. But I guess it's like being in a foxhole with a bunch of other soldiers: there's no way to come out of that without being best friends.