Thansgiving Dreams… and the Reality, which was pretty funny

The Thanksgiving Plan

I would drive down to the greater Charleston area with Scout Son for a fun-filled family-by-choice “weekend.” I would get there early Tuesday evening, allowing for some writer-only time before the kids all came back from school in New York that night. We’d stay through Sunday noon, or until the end of time, whichever came last.

On Wednesday, after a good night’s sleep, I’d get up early and take my time making Pumpkin Cheesecake with Sour Cream Bourbon topping. We’d all take turns in the kitchen and the pre-event cooking would all be done in a leisurely fashion.

Thursday morning would be bright, shiny and relaxed, as Captain Thanksgiving took care of the turkey, potatoes and gravy.

Then, a weekend of holiday hoopla, online shopping, and torturing each other with family ornament craft time, much gaming, and a lot of eating.

The Thanksgiving Reality

One week before Thanksgiving: Get two-month temp assignment. No one mentions the upcoming holiday, or the belief that anyone would be willing to change travel plans to meet their needs. Work schedule bartering takes place, with me offering the soul of my next born child (I might have neglected to mention an inability for there to be a next born child) in exchange for working as late as necessary to meet a given goal on Tuesday and not being there on Wednesday.

Scout Son and I pack the car up, and seven hours after I planned on leaving, we hit the road. The race is on. Who will get to Charleston first: those of us driving, or the kids flying in from Rochester, NY? According to the Google Maps, we will win by ten minutes. But as every self-respecting speed demon knows, Google underestimates times. I feel good about my odds.

Scout Son drives as far as South Carolina’s Welcome Center. When I take over, something insane happens. Google announces there’s a bit of a backup on I-26 in Columbia, and no lie, I drive for an hour at higher than approved speeds (my Kia is the Millennium Falcon) only to have the Google tell me that I’m now 3.5 hours away instead of 2 hours away. Um, WTF?

For once in my life, I do not ignore the Google when it suggests I might want to consider an alternate route that will save me 1.75 hours, and… it is right. I win the race, but just barely, and not by the “I will be there before you get to the Rochester airport” amount I’d been hoping for.

Wednesday does start out early, as Captain Thanksgiving has to go to work for the morning. Well-rested is not a word that enters our vocabulary as we all had to do the catching up we’d planned to do earlier, and nobody went to bed before 2 a.m. With four-ish hours of sleep, we are now downing pots of life-saving coffee, and completely ignoring the plan.

Thus, at 3:00 that afternoon, there is a mad rush of four cooks into the kitchen because we’ve finally realized if we don’t get our $#@! together (yes, I had an opportunity to swear in the blog and passed it up), there will be no Thanksgiving feast. Oops.

Why have pie when there's cheesecake?
Why have pie when there’s cheesecake?

Kitchen hilarity occurs. Yes, there might have been a wee bit of Jameson’s involved. Some whiskey for the cheesecake (don’t start – yes, I know whiskey and bourbon are different; whiskey’s better), some whiskey for the cooks.

Now, we come to the true holiday crisis. We’ve put together the breakfast casserole, but egads! It has to sit on the counter and “rest” (again, WTF?) for thirty minutes before you can bake it for an hour, and there’s one oven, and one turkey and it’s 24.5 pounds so it’s not going to just cook up in an hour.

Here’s where I make my mistake. I look at my dog. “You know, Princess Cassie of the Weak Bladder always gets up at 6ish to go out. I’m going to be down here anyway, so I could pull the casserole out when I bring her down. Then it’d be ready for cooking when we need it at 7:00.”

Much celebrating in the kitchen, and some more tequila/whiskey/wine, depending on who’s glass you sniff. (Julia Child was a wise woman.). Another late night of games, conversation and hilarity ensues.

Princess Cassie the Liar
Princess Cassie the Liar

6:00 Thanksgiving Morning: Princess Cassie snores on as my alarm goes off. You’ve got to be kidding. The one day I have to get up and she ignores me completely. I strongly consider putting her in a hamster suit and sending her back to the college dorm with Snarky Daughter. Stumble downstairs, pull out casserole, write time on aluminum foil (every minute counts when your casserole is resting), and fall back into bed.

6:33 Princess Cassie stretches, and comes over to nose me awake. Evil Cow from Hell. Fantastic! Now I’m awake – again – so might as well go downstairs, start the coffee, put the well-rested casserole (glad one of us is well-rested) into the oven and work out.

8:34 Captain Thanksgiving is wrestling a turkey in the sink. Bacteria-infused water has sloshed everywhere during the Turkey Tsunami of 2015. Dogs and cats are all about helping clean up the bacteria water, while humans practice their slip and slide skills in the kitchen. Points to the turkey for a last ditch attempt to save itself.

2:15 The table is set. Many platters of holiday goodness have appeared on the table. I am handed the most important bowl of all: the ton of mashed potatoes, now referred to as pota-tons! Yes, we are an amusing group, and no, for once, there wasn’t a large amount of alcohol involved in our humor.

I was told, “Please go put these on the table.” Small problem. There’s no room on the table, which is now listing under the weight of 24 pounds of turkey, five gallons of gravy, and fifteen side dishes. Then, I see it. The perfect empty space… and drop the serving bowl of mashed potatoes on my plate.

Let the mashed potato wars begin. I’m not sure who thought it was a good idea to have me sit next to my arch nemesis Potato Guy, but there it is. He walks in and complains about my perfect potato placement. Silly boy. While everyone else wonders if they’re even going to see a potato, he and I reach a potato détente. Yay! Potatoes for all… but mostly for us. Seriously, eight people at the table, and I believe over ten pounds of mashed potatoes were made.

8:52 Gaming continues. I think we played Dark Moon, but really I’m not too sure. By that time, the exhaustion and the whiskey had kicked in. Also the allergy attack from hell that lasted 18 hours. We still haven’t figured out what triggered that.

craftingI’d fill you in on the Crafting Explosion of 2015 which took place Friday night, and the holiday decorating that involved an English major doing electrical engineering of the Christmas tree, but there are some stories that are best saved for another day.

After all, there are 26 shopping days left, and we’ll all need some extra cheer in the weeks ahead.

Stay tuned for the creating of the St. Lucia’s wreath of fire crafting project!


Ironman vs. The Doctor

It’s confession time. I know, you can’t wait. As a romance writer, I have to have great confessions, right?

I have finally succumbed to… Doctor Who.

I didn’t mean to. Snarky Daughter’s birthday is in August. Seventeen is the boring birthday, stuck between driver’s licenses and becoming a grown up. So we did what all smart women do for their boring birthdays. We planned a day with the Avengers. Let’s be real here. What woman wouldn’t want to have Robert Downey Jr. or Chris Evans or any of the rest of the gang come hang out with them on their birthday?

So, we had a plan. All Avengers All the Time. Okay, some of the Marvel Madness for a few hours. It worked for me. She could stare at Loki (she’s young, she’ll learn), her brother could watch things blow up. It was perfect. Except…

…we planned this shindig for the night of the season premier of Doctor Who. With the New Doctor. Horrors! But hey, no problem. I hadn’t gotten rid of Directv yet, so you know we were recording it.

But then everyone in the room (all three teenagers) were babbling about the series premier, and would Capaldi be a good doctor, and sonic screwdrivers… it was like ThinkGeek exploded in my living room. So I suggested that if everyone but me wanted to watch Doctor Who, I had no issue with it. I was on deadline anyway.

Unfortunately for me, Capaldi is a great doctor, and about two minutes into it, I was hooked. The kids and various friends have been working on this for a long time. Of course, ten minutes from the end, we did have a huge storm come through and yes, it did kill our signal. So the next morning, Snarky Daughter and I caught the last ten minutes online somehow (I don’t ask).

And I’ve been watching this season ever since. With, and without my kids. Although mostly with Scout Son because he really likes it and it’s nice to be able to talk about something together. I ask about school and he talks about synthetic math. That makes about as much sense as Kirk being the best Captain. Given the choice, I’ll take Doctor Who. But only with this doctor. Or the freaky angels.

But that’s it. Really. Because, sorry Mr. Capaldi, but given the choice, Robert Downey Jr. still wins out every time.


Day One Wheat-Free

When I started telling friends and family that my family was going wheat-free beginning this week, the resounding response was, “Why?”

It’s a complicated answer, but here’s the basic deal. Studies are now showing that wheat isn’t good for us. In fact, it’s really bad. It’s been connected with increased symptoms of diabetes, asthma, allergies, migraines, Autism/Asperger’s, depression and a whole host of other things. The list is really long. And it contains pretty much every problem my mom was having when she died one month after she turned 65.

When I started listening to The Wheat Belly Diet book in the car two weeks ago, I got worried really quickly. Not only were my mom’s health issues on the laundry list, but so were my biggest issues (pain, inflammation and migraines) and Scout Son’s.

So I came home from a job interview and said, “Hey, guess what? We’re giving up wheat.”

But when I started sharing everything I learned, everybody was on board, even Sarcastic Roommate.

I know what you’re thinking. She’s crazy. Wheat’s been around for centuries. How can it be bad?

Well, here’s the deal. The wheat our grandparents and all the generations before them ate, had 14 chromosomes. But it was a bitch to grow. It’s tall. It’s prone to bugs and disease. So in the ’50s, scientists got the great idea to genetically alter it. And then did it. Today’s wheat is dwarf wheat, easier to grow, drought and bug resistant. And with 42 chromosomes, it’s barely related to the wheat we used to eat.

Now if we’d done some, I dunno, animal or human testing before releasing our miracle wheat on the population, we might have figured out that what we’d made was a health issue monster. But there were starving people to feed worldwide, and money to be made. And realistically, I’m not sure we had the testing know how back then to realize there was a problem.

Today, we know better. So, today, no wheat.

Want some more joyous data about today’s wheat? It triggers the same responses in the human body as heroin. Enjoy that bagel! And when you get off of wheat, you go through the withdrawal symptoms equivalent to quitting smoking. Headaches. Crankiness. Lethargy.

Now, I questioned some of what I read. I mean, seriously. Inflammation? Headaches? Pain? But last week, wanting to look and feel my best (and because we had all these wheat products in the house), I ate wheat. Hell, if I could have rolled around in it, I would have. I ate more wheat than I have eaten in months.

And I felt like shit. By day 3 of Eat the Wheat, I was ready for Vicodin for every injury I’ve had over the past ten years, and a bunch of those places were swollen again. I had headaches, stomach aches, and was always desperate for my next meal. It was insane.

So I was really happy when Day One came around. But I won’t lie. There’s some withdrawal going on here. And I have a humdinger of a headache, although that may be because the coffee table jumped up and beat me in the forehead. That’s the only possible explanation, because the other option is that I didn’t see the corner there, where it’s been for the past five years.

Anyway, it’s the end of Day One, I’m cranky and I have a Jumping Coffee Table induced headache. But I didn’t have wheat, which is saying a lot considering my family bought a total of 11 boxes of Girl Scout cookies from Snarky Daughter. The kids are tapering off wheat and can have a cookie a day. I’m trying to stay clean.


Who Doesn’t Yell During the Superbowl?

With Sarcastic Roommate here, I was finally allowed to watch a sporting event in peace. You see, up until now Snarky Daughter and Scout Son were pretty sure I was the only person in the history of the world who yells at the TV during sporting events and the State of the Union.

Enter Sarcastic Roommate. This is her first year here so she has only heard about Snarky Daughter asking me during the Hail Mary pass of last year’s game, “Do I need to turn the TV off?”

Yes, I failed as a parent on this point. My kids don’t get sports. Football and basketball are too violent. So sayeth Snarky Daughter. Excuse me? I get football, but basketball?!!? This from the girl who will watch a 234 car pile up without batting an eye because someone couldn’t quite turn left enough at 189 miles per hour.

And yes, I yell during NASCAR races too. Really, if there’s a sporting event on, I’ll pick a side and for the next few hours, I’m a devout fan of that team. Being a Bay Area native, you’d think my choice was set in stone. And it was, although my family probably wishes I’d picked the Ravens instead because then San Francisco would have won. I’m really a Bears fan, and we saw how their season went.

Anyway, 6:00, I kick the kids off their Doctor Who marathon — hey, they discovered him last month, I discovered football 35 years ago — and headed over for pre-game commercials. Which meant I could now eat the chips and dip I’d picked up. Yeah, me!

Sarcastic Roommate came downstairs and joined in on the chips and dip ’cause we know how to throw a party. The game started and within three minutes I was yelling at the TV. I considered for a nanosecond trying to behave with decorum, but I was raised by FANS. Also, SR was having her own conniption fits on her couch.

Snarky Daughter: You two know they can’t hear you, right?

SR & Me: That just means we need to yell louder!

You can tell she fits right in. Deep into the nightmare that was the first quarter, so maybe five minutes of play or 20 minutes of air time, SR spied Scout Son’s computer. He too, was ignoring the game, because yes, I totally failed. He was playing his new Monopoly app.

Clearly Snarky Daughter was desperate to get us to quiet down with the yelling at the football game, because she quickly agreed to a rousing game of Star Wars Monopoly. It’s not like the Niners were playing anything worth watching during the first half. We did slow down play long enough to watch all the commercials. The Joe Montana BBQ sauce stain Tide commercial is my favorite. Yes, I loved the farmers and the horse, but they made me cry, and only the outcome of the game should do that.

Well that and being beaten in Monopoly by SD. Honest to God, every other time she went around the board she landed on Free Parking. And yes, we play by putting $500 in Free Parking as well as every stupid charge you get that doesn’t go to someone specific. I’m pretty sure all the money she was raking in came from me. We all gave up play when we realized we were all waving rents.

I went back to yelling at the TV. SD decided she had to take a shower to drown out my yelling. Having watched sporting events with my neighbors, I know I’m not the only one who yells at the TV.

They can hear me, right?


Wintery Mix aka Sleet

Ice. 1/10th of in inch of ice really doesn’t sound like much. Because. It. Isn’t. Unless you live in the South. Then, it’s a crisis. Here’s how yesterday went for me.

5:50am – Phone rings. Blindly reaching for phone to beat it from ringing a second time on Sarcastic Roommate’s day off, I accidentally hit some button that was not “talk.” And there went whatever the school system wanted to tell me regarding school. Sigh. Now I must leave bed and stumble into the living room to find a laptop and see that was so important. Right. School’s out at 11:00. THAT was information I needed at 5:50.

6:00 – Let dog outside. It’s 20something out there. Balmy. She’s a Doberman. No undercoat, so no doggy insulation. She should be an honorary member of the Polar Bear Club.

6:05 – Awake now, so hey, let’s do a killer yoga workout. Have I mentioned DDPYoga to y’all yet? It’s a really low impact aerobic yoga workout. And if the kids are coming home early, I want to find my inner peace early.

6:12 – Princess Cassie returns from her frolic outside. She must now curl up under multiple blankets and supervise my workout. Because yes, a Doberman adds inner peace to any workout. Have I mentioned three cats are whining at the baby gate at my door, reminding me, just in case I forgot, that yes, they do need Prozac in the morning.

7:20 – Borrow Sarcastic Roommate’s car to drive Snarky Daughter to her carpool. Discuss what to do if college class is not cancelled (which takes place after high school closes).

7:45 – Hello, shower. I love you. You are warm water. You are peace. There is no dog. There are no cats. Can I stay here forever? Well no, because then you couldn’t…

8:00 – Make Orange Cranberry Scones. Yum!

8:30 – Look out window while eating scones and reading morning blogs – oh hey, it’s snowing! Three hours before forecasted. Wonder how long before school cancellation gets -RING! Right. Kids out at 9:30. How nice for them. I think this was the moment I decided work was not happening today.

8:45 – Text from Snarky Daughter. College class still on. What do I do? Response from me (apparently sent via email to her father): Come home.

9:29 – Panicked call from Snarky Daughter. Do I get on the bus? YES!!!

9:30 – Make Apple Cranberry Dessert.

9:32 – Call from Scout Son: School’s getting out early. Me: Get ON the bus. Really, children, my car is in the shop. Unless you plan on walking home, you better be on these buses.

10:00 – Start making Butternut Squash Soup. I told you, at the point kids were coming home early, I gave up on any real work getting done. The snow has now turned to sleet and I want the house to be warm and inviting when the kids come home. Yeah, I’m that mom.

10:30 – Scout Son gets home and goes up to bedroom to pack for going to Dad’s. It’s the coldest day of the year and he doesn’t want cocoa. Go figure.

11:00 – Requested text from Snarky Daughter saying she is one stop from her bus stop. Stop making soup so I again steal Sarcastic Roommate’s car so Snarky Daughter does not have to walk 1/3 of a mile in the sleet. Have I mentioned how friggin’ cold it is outside? I’m being a really good mom today. My characters are totally jealous.

11:15 – Back to making soup.

11:18 – Text from mechanic. Car is ready!!! Praise God. And there’s not enough ice on the roads to keep me from picking it up. Let’s be real. There could have been 8 inches of snow on the roads and I would have gotten to that car. Stop making soup. Again.

12:03 – Back with car. I am now really poor, but the damn thing works, which is good because I am now driving 2 hours for a job interview on Monday. Finish making soup. Ply kids and ex with soup, pot roast and dessert.

1:30 – Everybody leaves. Now it’s time to sit down and work. Except… Scout Son left his DS on the couch. Long story short, thanks to the ice, Friday became a Saturday. And today I work while I wait for the ice to melt today and refreeze tonight. But I have soup, and a Doberman curled up next to me, so it’s all good.


Christmas in California

Special thanks to WordPress and their update for delaying this post.

I can’t even begin to tell you how wonderful it was to spend Christmas back home in the Bay Area with my family. Interspersed with wrapping all the presents I had shipped directly there (yes, I’m aware Amazon wraps, and had I thought about it, I would have had them do it), supervising my son baking gingerbread, and running errands with my dad, we also did tourist stuff.

We were supposed to go up to San Francisco while we were here and ride the trolleys, because although the kids have ridden the trolleys up and down the hills and smelled the wooden brakes burning, they were not old enough to have that momentary fear of what-if-this-time-the-breaks-are-too-thin-and-we-careen-to-our-deaths. Yes, I really do have those thoughts.

We made it into the city one day for a Girls Day of Culture, seeing the San Francisco Ballet’s version of The Nutcracker. If you ever get a chance to enjoy the ballet there, do it. Especially if your Not Wicked Step-Mother has taken the time and money to purchase box seats, and a bottle of champagne. The only thing missing from our Pretty Woman moment was Richard Gere. Who could have been there somewhere, but I wouldn’t have noticed because when not watching the dancing, I was checking out the French Horn section.

Photo of kids at Monterrey Bay Aquarium
Snarky Daughter and Scout Son take time to pose after checking out the wild otters.

So, anyway, we were supposed to go back up to the city with everyone, but that morning, we woke up to huge rainstorms. Which was actually fantastic because that meant we could lounge around the house and wrap 1,453,267 gifts (which are all now residing in an extra suitcase in the belly of the beast we’re waiting to board).

While we missed out on trolleys and Pier 39, and the really tacky touristy stuff of San Francisco, our first day in town was beautiful, exactly what winter in CA should look like, and we wandered around the Monterrey Bay Aquarium. This is a great aquarium. Among otters, sea turtles and a fantastic jelly fish exhibit, you’ll also find a sea horse exhibit (way cooler than you think), and penguins. Yes, penguins.

Photo of Monterrey Bay Aquarium Penguins
They’re not native to Northern California, but I love visiting them.

I don’t really know why the penguins are there since I haven’t seen the penguin feeding show in about 10 years. I just show up and watch them play. The funny thing about the penguins is, that they’re all tagged. To which you immediately think, where do they expect the birds to go? It’s not like they’re going to wander into the coral reef exhibit and not be noticed. But if you look closely at the tags, you learn they’re nametags. Of all the penguin names, the only one I can remember is Bee. Bee the penguin. She was hanging out with Penguin I Can’t Remember the Name Of, and they were having a lot of fun.

Then, there was the ultimate in touristy, walking on Carmel Beach at sunset. In addition to not remembering the trolleys, the kids also don’t remember that I dipped them in the Pacific at an early age. We ended up chasing Scout Son around the beach, trying to get him wet since he was avoiding the water’s edge.

Whatever. We had a wonderful time in CA, partying with family and playing with dogs. We can’t wait to come back, hopefully for good. In the meantime, I’ll be writing on the plane. As soon as they’re sure my laptop isn’t a threat to our ability to fly.

Really, we’re still thinking that’s a possibility during take off?


In Which I Share the Family Eggog Recipe

So, last week I was mourning not getting the job I was perfect for. Perfect. Except they decided they wanted someone with hacking skills. For a writing position. Yes, I try really hard not to whine about the search for a day job, and all the people who do not think I’m perfect (really?), but this one hit hard.

I’ve been looking for a new day job for Seven. Months. Almost eight.

OK, anyway. I was waiting to hear about the job I didn’t get because everyone needs a hacker for an online writing position (no kidding, they said “what we really need is a hacker” and I burst out laughing because even if they did need someone with those skills, which they don’t, that person isn’t interested in a day job because, duh, he’s out hacking something) and I decided to deal with the last two boxes of my mom’s stuff.

photo of woods
About 1.3 seconds after I took this shot from my living room/office the leaves finished turning and are now falling at an alarming rate in the yard. Just something to do now that I’ve gone through the last two boxes of mom’s stuff.

I’ve been moving these two boxes around in my house for four years. God forbid I dive in and deal with it. But at the end of last week I was a little insane and looked at the boxes one night and thought, nope, those Have. To. Go.

I’d been avoiding them because I knew what was in them. You see, we had no fewer than 203 copies of some relative’s application to the DAR. Now, normal people would be able to throw out 202 copies, but some of those copies were thicker than others, so dealing with this mess of paper meant going one page at a time through everything making sure I have everything I need when I apply for the DAR. Or something.

Anyway, tons of family history sitting there, with some odd stuff mixed in. There was a statement from one of mom’s retirement funds, and being four years since I’d managed the estate HAHAHAHAHA! I had to call the company and make sure I still had to keep looking for work. The secretary actually remembered mom and I found myself offering condolences for her loss.

But, mixed in all that stuff, was the family Eggnog recipe. I’ve never had it, but reading it just cracked me up. I always wondered why nobody got salmonella poisoning from all the raw eggs, but then I read how much alcohol was in it, and I’m no longer surprised.

So, here you go, an early gift for your holiday enjoyment!

Eggnog In Quantity (yes, it really says that!)

photo of handwritten eggnog recipe
I blame the condition of the recipe card on the 4-6 cups of alcohol the recipe calls for.

1. Beat till light: 12 egg yolks
2. Beat in gradually 1 pound powdered sugar
3. Add very slowly, beating constantly: 2 cups booze of choice (I use brandy and rum)
4. Let mixture stand covered for 1 hour to dispel “eggy” taste.
5. Add, beating constantly:

2-4 cups more booze

2 quarts heavy whipping cream

6. Refrigerate, covered, 3 hours.
7. Beat till stiff, but not dry: 8-12 egg whites
8. Fold into other ingredients and serve via punch bowl.


How can you not enjoy a pound of powdered sugar, half a cow’s worth of cream, 24 eggs and, you know, 6 cups of alcohol? A lot of my holiday memories were explained when I read this recipe.

Which I may need to whip up if I don’t find work soon because I am really tired of spending all my free time looking for work, when I could be writing romance novels. Which I am off to do. As soon as I apply for yet another day job.


Snake in the Kitchen

Today’s post was supposed to be all about Snarky Daughter’s first pie. A fabulous pie. The best pie I’ve ever had. And subsequently dropped on the floor. Instead, we’re going to talk about the Snake in the Kitchen.

Having just gone through a week of prep work followed by a two-hour job interview (no idea how it went, don’t ask), I came home with grandiose plans to tackle all the stuff that had been put on hold for the past week. You know, 3 months of filing that had fallen over in my closet/office, going through the last two boxes of my mom’s paperwork that have been sitting in my living room for a couple of years, and taking care of all the PTSO stuff I haven’t done for several weeks because I went into denial that I was president.

I was really enjoying denial. I was also really enjoying talking to a friend I live too far away from about kids, spouses, lack of spouses and writing. All while sorting receipts and filing insurance paperwork. Yes, I keep that stuff. So I’m steadfastly ignoring my family, when I hear a scream.

Being a good parent, I try to climb up off the floor, but hello, I’ve got the body of a 73 year-old so it takes some time. And by the time I get up, I haven’t heard anything else, so I assume this is a simple “Ack, spider, I need the vacuum cleaner” moment.

About then, there’s a knock on my bedroom door. Hey, with Marking Kitten, all bedrooms are closed all the time.

Snarky Daughter: Mom, Sarcastic Housemate found a snake in the kitchen, and um, I can’t remember what we do.

Me: You don’t remember what to do? Wait, Sarcastic Housemate is home?

Me, thinking: Finally, off to trivia night and a glass of wine, because today has beaten me senseless. After I deal with the snake.

Scout Son: …

Who are we kidding? The last time he saw a snake, he screamed more than me and the damned thing was climbing my leg at the time. He was nowhere to be seen.

Me: Snake? Really?

Sarcastic Housemate: Yeah. I thought it was a stick or something because it’s kinda dark in here. I just assumed one of the dogs brought something in. Then it raised up to get me.

I’m now fighting the kitchen light switch. Have I mentioned the ballast is going bad on the light? On. Off. On. Off. On. Wiggle, wiggle. Let there be light!

Yep, that’s a snake. About as thick as my ring finger and maybe 18 inches long. And moving. Into. Snarky. Daughter’s. Bedroom.

Some of you snake lovers are saying, What kind of snake was it? Answer: Suicidal Snake. Dark and light pattern.

Did it have a diamond shaped head? Answer: How the hell would I know? It’s head is the size of a pencil eraser. It’s kind of hard to tell. Especially since I have now grabbed the only thing nearby — the WetJet — to try and pin it while Scout Son gets a shovel.

Yes, snake lovers. A shovel. Outside, he can do what he wants. Inside, and not sure of what kind he is, sorry, he’s done. But to make you feel slightly better, here are some identifications:

He did not look like this, the gift the dogs brought me this morning.

photo of mole my dogs brought home
Princess Cassie’s request for dinner. Request denied.

It looked amazingly like this, but you know, with a head.

photo of rat snake
With photography forethought, Princess Cassie retrieved the snake for identification this morning.

Having now done much snake research, it was a juvenile rat snake. Sorry. Enter my kid’s bedroom and I consider it an act of war.

Special thanks to Princess Cassie for realizing that I would need a photo and digging the snake out from under the deck (where it slipped while I was beating the heck out of it last night), and breaking it into several pieces and drying it on the deck so we could have snake jerky. Or so I could have to go get the shovel again and toss the bits into the woods on the other side of the electric fence for a proper burial. You know. Whichever. (Yes, she is now pacing from window to window trying to figure out how to get back to her tasties.)

So, kill the snake, go and have a glass of wine. Tune in Friday and see the Perfect Pie. That I destroyed. Because that’s the kind of mom I am. Snake and Pie Destroyer. I’ll just add that to my resume.



Video Game Addict

I had a list of stuff to do this weekend. This shouldn’t be a shock to anyone. On my deathbed, I will be making a To Do list. Even as I’m writing this blog, I’m mentally coming up with stuff for today’s list. Take Advil is pretty high on that list. In fact, it was number one on the list when I was laying in bed, listening to the rain that is, in part, the reason for today’s migraine. But I digress…

There was a list. Unfortunately, like so many of us, my lists are usually made up of things like clean the bathroom and make a million dollars, and rarely have stuff on there like have fun with the kids. No biggie. The kids roll their eyes when there’s too much house stuff and not enough fun stuff, so it usually balances out. Because, while I make lists, I’m not the best at following them these days. I’m easily corruptible.

On Saturday the list could pretty much be broken down to: fix everything. I also have delusions of grandeur. Of course we can weed and mow five acres of grass and gardens, clean the house and lose 15 pounds in 8 hours! We started out pretty well. With three of us working in the garden, we managed to get 1.5 hours of weeding done in 30 minutes. We rock!

But in doing the weeding, lost in the weeds we found a mostly dead tomato plant and a watermelon plant that might have been a victim to some wild Round-Up spray earlier in the week. Add buy replacement plants to the list.

Heading inside, I took a shower. That was the downfall. If I’d stayed sweaty and nasty, there’s a chance — a slim chance — that I would have stayed on target. But while I was getting cleaned up, I remembered Scout Son’s desperate pleas to buy Risk Factions for the Xbox. Which required information from a more knowledgeable source (the guys at GameStop). And if I was hitting them up for knowledge after getting the plants, then I might as well trade in old games, have Scout Son show me what game he wants for his birthday, and you know, hit two yarn stores in my never-ending search for the perfect yarn for a blanket for me. Ha! New list. Better list. Much more fun list!

Hours later Scout Son and I return with xBox points in hand, answers in brain, and a plan: beat Snarky Daughter in Risk. SD didn’t look so happy about it, so I suggested that after that she could teach me how to play Epic Mickey. That made her day.

I’m not allowed to play video games. I love them. I fall into them and come out later wondering where June went. So, the idea that I wanted to play video games with them for hours was alien. First we did some of the icky cleaning found on the icky grown up list. Then I ordered pizza. And then I took over the world.

I’d be proud of beating everyone in Risk, but I followed that up with five hours of Disney characters kicking my butt. I limited myself to one hour on Sunday. And I got off the system after an hour and a half, which is better than when I picked up the book that morning for 20 minutes of reading and finished it three hours later.

Today I’m picking up the icky list again. After all, the kids leave for a week tonight and that means the game systems are all mine in the evenings. Wahahaha! Is knocking their high scores off of all the games a reasonable addition to the To Do list?


End of School Brings…Sanity?

What is it about the end of the school year that makes everything crazy? Between proctoring exams, finals, and end of year parties and events that should not really affect me at all (after all, I graduated middle and high school back in the dark ages), work almost stops.
In the case of this blog, it did stop. But Snarky Daughter finished up school on Wednesday, and Scout Son is done next Friday, so oddly, peace will soon invade my life again. And I can’t wait.

You’d think without a day job that I’d have plenty of time to do, well everything. And to a certain extent, that’s been true. I just haven’t focused all my attention on writing. I’ve stripped wallpaper, painted SD’s new room, and as of this weekend, finished moving her in. Phew.

I’ve cleaned closets, looked for work, started learning HTML and am working my way through a class. I’m back to learning Italian.

And I’ve successfully gained 6 pounds. I’m so proud. Now, to be fair, I gained most, if not all, of those pounds while I was on medication after I smashed my hand. And I’m back on some of it since I slipped and threw my back out again. Woo-hoo!

But the pounds have to Go. Away. Now.

That sounds so easy. I mean, I’ve lost weight before. Today I weigh what I weighed the day before I had SD. And a pound less that what I weighed the day I brought SS home from the hospital. What can I say. He craved Cheetos and Twix bars for nine months. It was not pretty.

But when I lost baby weight, I wasn’t injured. And the fact is, I have a life-long injury, so my days of playing racquetball and lifting 15,000 pounds on weight machines a couple of times a week in order to stay fit are gone. No running. No high-impact anything. Zumba? My chiropractor and physical therapist both burst out laughing and started planning early retirements.

But I can walk. And according to the Prevention Walk of Weight program, I can lose weight walking. Of course, that program doesn’t say anything about cake. And I like cake. As a source of frosting, which I’m pretty sure is one of the food groups.

Here’s what I know from the few years that I was working out and learned that muscle feels different than fat. I feel better when I work out. I’m happier. In theory I eat less, although I haven’t seen that in the past few weeks. But I can dream. I can walk. And if I can do both of those, I can probably cross a few more things off my To Do list. Like organize my new office space. Or write a book.