Archive for the ‘Blessed and possessed’ Category

Good thing chicken soup comes in big batches.

February 20, 2018

My mom’s chicken soup is one of the few recipes I can make that tastes exactly like my mom’s. When you’re missing your mom, this is important. All those almost-right recipes are still tasty, but every once in awhile, you want something that tastes like home. Say, for instance, when you’re sick as a dog.

Yep.

Wednesday night it was Gracie. She went from slightly sniffly to so-congested-she-wanted-to-fall-over-dead in the space of a few hours. I checked her for fever a hundred-million times, but she wasn’t ever warm. I figured it was the bug that was going around, let her stay home Thursday and Friday, and by Friday night she was mostly better, Saturday she was practically cured.

Bee-girl pulled the same stunt Sunday night. She had been fine all day, and then all of a sudden, she said her throat hurt and that she had a headache and went to bed. Then she got up and asked for cough medicine. I let her sleep in on Monday, and when she got up, she said she had a headache. She also looked like she got hit by a truck. I felt her head and hooboy, yes, my baby girl was a little warm. I took her temp – 102.1°. Urgent Care had a two-hour wait, during which we both took a nap (and I prayed I wasn’t falling victim to the same flu) and then went in for confirmation.

Poor Bee-baby. If you know her, you know she bounces rather than moves, never sits sit, is always scheming and planning, and moving. Not yesterday. She laid her head on my shoulder (and baked me with her fever), laid down on the exam table, meekly submitted to the mask and 8034 hand sanitizer sessions. She was sick. But not with the flu, apparently. Her flu test came back negative, oddly enough. And this is not a girl who gets a fever with any other bugs. So they loaded her up with Tamiflu in case it was too early for positive flu results, antibiotics in case it was something else, and a school note to stay out all week if needed.

I was texting back and forth with their Dad and Stepmom while all this was going on. And don’t you know that they were both sick, too. The Ex was so sick that he ended up at Urgent Care later that night, but his flu test came back positive. We can’t catch a break!

So their house has become the quarantine facility. I dropped Bee-girl off after I got her meds and she went right to sleep. Gracie and I huddled at home, hoping we evacuated the outbreak monkey quick enough. We should move the girls step-sis and niece into Bee’s (freshly laundered and bleached) room until everyone is okay!

And so tonight after I make chicken for dinner, I’ll pull out the giant soup pan – see! we even call it the “soup pan”! – and make some chicken soup. We only make it in the giant pan, so it only comes in giant batches. Sometimes it’s annoying because we can’t finish the soup, but I don’t think that will be the case this time.

Chicken soup to the rescue! Maybe I should mix the tamiflu right into the pan. Yeah?

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How to display a million, zillion Funkos.

January 30, 2018

I don’t understand when people say that tweens and teens are hard to buy gifts for. I’ve had a blast buying things for my two – or maybe it’s just that my girls are easy to buy for because I know them so well and they’re engaged with so many interests it’s hard not to trip over so many tiny little things they’d like.

One of those things is the Funko Pop! figurines that everyone is crazy over. I can’t remember the first one I bought for Gracie, but it might have been Harry Potter. She, of course, went nuts for him (Gracie loves being a dedicated and loyal fan almost more than she loves the subject(s) of her adoration), and the rest, as they say, is collectible history.

Gracie’s Funko addiction (for that is what it is, now) has grown to include the Harry Potter group – including a nose-less moldy Voldy, a truly creepy dementor with gauze-like material covering them, and a Hagrid whose size really does dwarf everyone around him (Huzzah for details!); a lone Katniss to represent her entire imaginary world; a Doctor Who or two (and maybe a Dalek, don’t hate); mini- Gandalf and Frodo (who were supposed to be keychains, I think?); and so. many. Stranger Things characters that my heart bursts with happy!

The question that had been nibbling at the back of my head became more insistent – what do you do with Funko creatures once you have more than one or two? Gracie used to have them arranged on the top of her shoe cubbies, and that worked…until she got about a half-dozen more for Christmas and over the tipping point she went. We needed a creative solution. And Gracie’s Auntie Kim loves to tackle problems such as these. Shelves, of some sort, would make a fantastic Christmas present. And if she found a great deal (she did), she would throw in a gallon of paint to re-do the accent wall in Gracie’s room.

Eventually, the shelves I found were all summarily dismissed and instead Kim decided we should go with a bunch of distressed wood crates she’d found at Michael’s. I agreed that I could live with them, did a few measurements to make sure they’d function and everyone (eh, except maybe Hagrid) could fit, and off we went.

A few design suggestions were proffered, and we went with a modification of the one Auntie Kim liked best. I love the spiral look, but the proposal had all of the crates touch and to me, it looked scrunched. Call me crazy, but since it’s mi casa and I’m the one having to look at it all day, I’m not going to greenlight something that drives me buggy. I’m happy to shrug my shoulders or greenlight lots of other things I’m neutral on, or things that don’t actively make me think of nails-on-chalkboards. Otherwise, I’m pretty sure we can come up with something everyone’s happy about.

Besides – how awesome does THIS look?!!

I can’t decide which of the new Stranger Things is my favorite: Hopper with his mug of coffee (to go with his contemplation), or Eleven with her Eggos and smudges of coffee, or Dustin with his Ghostbusters gear?Gracie might lean towards Hopper because she also did this thing with her lightboard, clearly proving that I am Raising Her Right:

Funko4

Yep. That kid is definitely a keeper.

Gracie had an extra Joyce (silly Santa, forgetting which he’d already picked up), which we were going to exchange, but then someone took it out of its box and recycled said box. So. I decided to keep it, paragon of feminist barely-keeping-it-together-but-don’t-EVEN-go-after-her-kids Mom of the Year that she is. This particular Funko Joyce is Season 1, and is carrying a ball of Christmas lights, hoping they’ll lead her back to Will. And so…I did a little thing to fix it. I present…

Funko5

Am I right?!!

Awesome feminist moms aside, once Gracie’s display issue was settled, we did also repaint her wall, as promised. I know it’s a little anti-climatic, but I *do* love the way the peacock blue pops, and I know it’ll match her gold-white-peacock blue color scheme to a T.

I still miss the purple, but it’s her room, I don’t hate the blue, and I can repaint my own room in purples and greys, now that the nearly-robin’s-egg-blue color experiment is officially dead. (Hey, it still beats painters-white.)

Not a huge reno project, but sometimes it’s the small things, guys.

A tale of two girls.

January 23, 2018

You may have heard: I broke my foot.

With significant (snort) injuries such as these, the best you can do is follow the doctor’s orders, wear das boot when you must go out, elevate, ice, and rest, rest, rest. (Even if your heart wants to run, run, run.)

It helps when your girls are kinda, sorta really frickin’ awesome and do so much for you that you break down in tears a time or two. The teen and tween years might break me, but in between the moments (and LAWD do we have moments), there are times when your thirteen-year-old empties, fills, and empties the dishwasher unasked, and surprises you by cleaning out and completely reorganizing the walk-in pantry. And your eleven-year-old, she does washes, dries, folds, and distributes five loads of laundry over the course of a weekend.

With all of that unprompted work, you know there had to be a little rest involved. Doctor’s orders, remember?

Here’s where my girlie-girls diverged on the path in the yellow wood.

Gracie-girl and I…well…we may or may not have watched coughcough:eleven:coughcough hours of Bondi Beach Rescue on Netflix over the course of a lazy Sunday. Beautiful, bronzed lifeguards with Australian accents and not a plot in the world to try and follow? Sometimes that’s just what you need, baby! I don’t think my foot lifted from its feathery pillowed perch twice all afternoon. We giggled, we bantered, we were utterly ridiculous trying to keep names straight and pretend we weren’t hoping for broken backs and gory shark attacks – I’m not even going to sugar-coat our pathetic selves. Pure, mindless fun!

And the Bee-meister…well, she may be finally succumbing to crushes and batting her eyelashes at the men-folk and the lovely ladies, but that chica of mine will let her silly sister and eye-rolling mama watch all the fluff she wants. And when she’s stored up enough points, she’s going to cash them in – by asking to watch It. Yes, even if it means having a sleepover because she knows I’ll get scared. And even if it means an entire week of them because she knows that’s an excellent way to communicate how desperately she wants to watch something, anything else…especially if it’s scary and delicious and spine-tinglingly full of plot and cinematography. “It’s like watching comic books, Mom!” she says to me. And I can’t say she’s wrong!

I didn’t give in to Bee – the girl is brilliant, but she needs to be smarter than asking me at 9:42 p.m. on the night before school week starts again. We settled for watching the trailer – she hadn’t even seen that – and my little smooshie faced twinkle-star [don’t tell her I called her that out loud] hid her face behind a pillow for half of it. I promised we would watch it – It – for our next movie night. Gracie squealed and objected and created lists of counter-arguments, but after ELEVEN hours of Bondi Beach, I wasn’t overly concerned that she was outvoted.

Two very different young ladies, two very different tastes in television, two very different ways of making sure their mama was well cared for, well rested, and well on her way to recovery.

How lucky am I?

Five for Friday.

January 12, 2018

It’s noon-time: what are you eating? Are you eating? I can goes days without wanting to eat, I mean, like everything sounds like it will taste like cardboard, and then all of a sudden I want to eat everything not nailed down. Last night was one of those glutton-fests. Today, I’m forcing myself to eat a cup of noodles.

I hope your lunch is tastier (and contains far less sodium) than mine.

Let’s see what other bits of randomness are floating around in my brain, shall we?

1. My foot. Oh my mother-flippin’ foot! I rolled my ankle this morning. So you’d think I’d be complaining about my ankle. But oh no. Somehow when I rolled my ankle, I fell off the curb, down to the ground, skinning my knees and everything. Somehow in the process, I think I snapped a bone on the side of the middle of my foot. It’s slightly bruised, very swollen, and it hurts to stand on it. I think it’s swollen even on the bottom of the foot. So that’s gonna be fun to monitor this weekend.

2. I can’t get it x-rayed tonight because I volunteered to help with All-City Choir auditions. So I’m spending two or three (or six) hours tonight at the middle school, doing heaven knows what, but I’m guessing it involves a lot of standing and shepherding teenagers around. FUNTIMES. I hope there’s fries for that.

3. After I survive the endtimes auditions, Gracie and some of her friends are sleeping over. I’m wicked excited that I get to steal my girl for another weekend (that’s why I volunteered to help at auditions: so I could see her, even for a little bit), but I’m a little leery of all the chaos that means will be happening at my house. Plus: no x-rays.

4. And tomorrow there will be no x-rays because after I shoo the teenagery peeps out of the house, I’m shlepping myself northward to visit the wonderful and gorgeously talented Andi! First we were going to meet up for shenanigans, but then she had to work. But I am good at co-working! So we are meeting up for responsible grown-up shenanigans. In other words, we’re going to write like motherfuckers. And maybe vlog about our bullet journals. Who knows! 2018 is fire and gasoline, baby! [I’m trying new slogans.] The idea of vlogging scares me, but I’m with friends who make me feel safe, so why not? We will burn the motherfather down with our awesomeness. And then we’ll get some more work done. Because we’re amazing.

5. I’m thinking of trying minimalism. I’m tire of my house looking like a firetrap. Like a closet of toys exploded all over it. Like the kids are running the asylum. On one hand, I don’t really care. On the other, I bet I’d feel a whole lot calmer if it were cleaner. So lets see what would happen if it were cleaner. And you know what would make it cleaner? Donating or trashing half the stuff in it. So Imma challenge myself: throw away (or donate) 50 things. Yes, you’ll see a post about this, just to keep me honest.

So there you go! Five thoughts. Five of many more I could keep tossing, but, hey – I have things to write. Great big things. Here I go…

Current parenting mode.

January 11, 2018

Gracie-girl got all the Funkos for Christmas. Seriously: she had most of the Harry Potter ones from before. And for Christmas she got Stranger Things everything. Including two Joyces. So she gave me one.

And I fixed it.

Joyce

Because me right now.

Something happened on the way home from the theater.

December 21, 2017

First of all: I wanted to title this post “Quote of the Day”, but this was going to be the longest set up story everrrrr. And it starts like this…

Gracie went to the movies with a few friends. It was a double-feature, and so she was supposed to get home kind of late. Like a good mom, I waited up for her. And like a good daughter, she stayed up for midnight breakfast with me. (Three egg omelette. Egg and cheese. Delicious!) And after all of that, we were both a little punch-drunk. One in the morning and all.

Fast forward a few minutes to me tucking Gracie into bed. She does this thing where she uses me to shut off her overhead light. She has a lamp and everything, and she can even stay in her bed (technically) and still reach her light switch, but does she do this? Of course she doesn’t. She still uses mama to shut off her big light when she’s snug as a bug in a rug. Because I’m a good mama (have I mentioned that?)(I am), I comply.

Tonight though, I was messing with my darling daughter. Tonight she anxiously told me, “No! No! Wait!!” and then “made” me turn her light on. A few minutes later, she did the same “wait, wait” bit and so I turned the light back on. I was, as I said, messing with her. We crack each other up, especially when we’re giddy and exhausted in equal parts.

Now, here’s where I take slight pause to tell you that middle schoolers aren’t required to take a foreign language. It’s absurd! I was made to, and by god if kids these days aren’t made to do exactly what I was, well that’s just sacrilege! I’m always telling Gracie so. Followed, usually, by getting on her case to start studying Spanish. I took it for two years in junior high – and excelled at it, despite the teacher being ridiculously too old to care about making the students behave, never mind learn anything – four years in high school, and another two semesters in college. I didn’t care much for it then (though I was awfully fond of my teacher in high school, and I might have stressed myself into nearly flunking my first semester in college, but I did retain an awful lot of what I learned. If I could do that, then Gracie could get so much from taking it!

Which explains why, to me, it was so flippin’ hilarious when Gracie, who was trying to get me to shut her overhead light off again, started in with espanol. “Te amo, Madre!” She pleaded. “Te amo!” I was laughing back with her, playing my part – or trying to – with a straight face. I failed. I failed so hard I don’t even know why I tried to begin with. She must have sensed the ground was softening, because Gracie dared another step, but even just the second step was one too far: “Por favor,” she started. My face must have lit up, but it quickly crumpled…into laughter. Because she couldn’t figure out what came next. “Por favor… Um… Por favor… Por favor shut off the light!”

I busted up laughing.

Okay, yes, it was definitely a moment you had to be there for an hour ago, but it totally made my day.

Good night, everyone. The last one out apague la luz, por favor.

Five for Friday.

December 8, 2017

Morning, everyone! Let’s launch right into it, shall we?

1. The elephant in the room: I know I haven’t been posting lately. I’ve struggled with depression on and off throughout my life and because of some serious (but not permanent, please Universe) financial difficulties, it’s been hanging around again. When I get deep into the weeds like this, I really can’t write. Especially when I’m asked to create engaging, witty, and entertaining content before coffee. Right? Gawd! No wonder I’ve been without words for so long! But there it is. I promise I’m fighting the good fight and I’ll be back again. I haven’t hung up my sign for good.

2. It snowed last night in Austin and San Antonio. Those who I’m friends with on Facebook know I’ve been excitedly posting about the snowflakes/sleet/wintry mix promises our fickle weathermen have been promising all week. And then taking back because they’re GIANT LIARS!!! Instead, our snow went south and how unfair is that?! I’ve been asking my friend who travels back and forth to a weekend place atop a mountain in Colorado to make a snowman for me, even if it’s a tiny 4″ snowman because they’ve only gotten a dusting. My friend refuses. I. WANT. SNOW. !!!

3. Gracie-girl decided to reclaim her closet and I have a hallway full o’ stuff for me to re-home this weekend. Can you hear my underenthusement? (Is that a word?) It’s not an unreasonable request. The girls shared a room growing up. When Jeff and the Xman moved in, it made more sense for the Xman to share a room with Bee, on the two nights every fourteen days when they’d both be home, and let the girls have their own spaces the rest of the time. Otherwise it would be the girls sharing space all the time, and an empty room for 12 days out of every 14. The Xman was far, far too badly behaved to make that a craft room/Xman’s room to reclaim some functionality. And so we moved Gracie into my craft room. I hastily moved some things so Gracie could hang up her clothes. But I left all the photo albums, scrapbooks, folding chairs, wire shelving unit, and piles and piles of stuff we needed to store and had no other room for. Last weekend Gracie decided she wanted to make it a small office, so she cleared everything out (except the folding chairs – they had to stay) and piled it all in the hallway. I suppose I should, you know, move it. I guess.

4. Bee has been running an underground Slime Business at her school. For the past four months. Yes, this will be a separate blog post. No, I didn’t find out because she went to jail. TL;DR – I need suggestions for an Etsy store name for her to transition into life on the up-and-up.

5. I had a rather successful book haul at the library yesterday! Nine novels, one autobiography. I chose one that someone recently RAVED about on Twitter, but hell if I can remember who it was (and they aren’t ‘fessing up…). The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I grabbed it, thinking it would either go up in flames (and then I could greedily move on to the next book-victim in my pool of contenders….) or I’d fall in gloriously and have all evening to hoover it up. I didn’t have all evening, but I did start thinking it might be one of my Best of 2017; it’s too early for me to say for sure, I’m only about a quarter-way in, but I did volunteer to take shifts covering the receptionist’s breaks today because they let you read up there. I can’t wait to tell you how the rest of my curiosity voyage goes!

And there you have it. A genuine blog post. I hope to have some more for you very soon!

Five for Friday.

November 3, 2017

My daughter is relentless. Apparently, someone misses my blog posts. Apparently, someone wanted me to write a Five for Friday post today. Apparently, someone inherited her mama’s patience because a draft of an all-Gracie Five for Friday came floating across my texts no long after the demand request for a post did.

The problem is that I have two daughters. So. I edited the draft a little.

1 I might not have been writing for my blog much lately, but I have certainly been writing! I’ve been writing book reviews for a freelance gig, and a bunch of journaling for therapy, and then I cranked out a tight-deadline article about my favorite books set in the lovely city of Detroit. There is nothing I love as much as when the creative juices are flowing when you need them to!

2 Speaking of Detroit, OHMYGOSH I want to visit! Enough that I would even get on an airplane, even after a day spent thinking about how much I hate flying. That is how enraptured I am right now! Want to do a little reading? Pick up Angela Flournoy’s The Turner House or Charlie LeDuff’s non-fic Detroit: An American Autopsy. Both reads will stay on your mind for a goodish while.

3 Is everyone caught up on Stranger Things 2?! Because I don’t know how much longer I can contain my gushing! (And a few critiques.) I will say this, though: I impressed even myself when a certain person read a few lines out loud and I immediately recognized it as Anne of Green Gables. It wasn’t even an obvious section – it was when Anne marvels that her parents had noble professions, and perfectly lovely names, and how she was left an orphan in spite of all the wonderfulness. Two, maybe three lines. It was a small piece of an understated scene, taking up maybe 10 seconds of our time. Most of which I spent freaking out over my own awesomeness. Just call me 012. Heh.

4 If you’re wondering why there wasn’t a Halloween post, it’s because for the first time, we didn’t go trick-or-treating. Gracie decided she was going to stay home and hand out candy. Bee decided, at first, that she wanted to walk around. But I wasn’t crazy about leaving Gracie home alone with the candy (or the crazies), and walking Bee around by myself wasn’t that appealing. So I bribed my daughter with candy. Oh yes I did – if she stayed home, I told her that she and her sister could have all the leftover candy. And then I got All The Feels because we weren’t trick-or-treating. Yes, I do know I’m crazy.

5 And although I’m tempted to post my Five without mentioning a single thing Gracie drafted, because I’m mean and twisted and my sense of humor is beyond warped, I can’t really do that to her. So I’ll mention one thing. Drumroll, please! Gracie made All-City Band! I am sooooo proud of her! Tryouts might have been mandatory for eighth-graders, but participants include high schoolers and students of all abilities. Gracie must be be pretty good at this whole drumming thing! (Congrats, kiddo!)

Now. With that, may I please go back to looking at puppies, Gracie-girl? Or are you going to draft an article for me to post tomorrow, too? You are SO demanding! Ha!

Have a good weekend, everyone!

Quote of the Day.

September 26, 2017

Yesterday was my Uncle Teddy’s birthday. And four years is a crazy long time, but not so long that I didn’t have myself a good cry last night.

So of course, the girls were in rare form.

Setting the scene: Gracie walks in on me texting my cousin, and crying.
Gracie: Aw! What’s wrong??!
Me: It’s Uncle Teddy’s birthday.
Gracie: I know! I should not get in the shower [like I had been yelling at her to do], and make you cinnamon rolls and cheer you up instead!
Me: Um…no.

Setting the scene, Part II: Bee walks in on me crying, after I’ve shuttled her sister into the other room.
Bee: What’s wrong, Mum?
Me: It’s Uncle Teddy’s birthday, and I’m texting Uncle Kene.
Bee: You should tell him to go to Crazy Uncle Mike’s house and play with the cup holders that light up. Those are cool.

Like my cousin said – those two might be a leetle bit related to us!

Thowback Thursday, Sunday Night version. (Remember Sunday Night Meltdowns?)

September 25, 2017

Quite a few friends of mine have just had babies or are about to have babies, and so I’ve found myself in the middle of conversations lately where I’m the Official Extender of Hope. Don’t worry. They’ll sleep soon – and so will you. They won’t always be toddlers. You’ll get to be a person, too, very soon. Because I looked up one day and my little toddlers, my loving little energy-drainers, were teen- and tweenagers! How did that happen?! Not to say teens aren’t without their own problems. They certainly are. Just…different ones from toddlers.

With toddlers? The brand of person my friend lovingly refers to as tiny terrorists? It used to be that by the end of the weekend, the bastion of hope that our time together enforcing rules and refusing sleep, the symbol of Sunday Night we lovingly referred to as Sunday Night Meltdowns. Without fail. Either the toddlers hosted the meltdowns because mom is nothing by unfair all the time. ALL THE TIME! Or else I was the one snapping and crying because I was never going to get a break. Never, ever, EVER.

My kids had just about eased out of the phenomenon when we were graced with the Xman. And hoo boy – then I really learned the meaning because Sunday Night Meltdowns lasted all weekend long.

Then, last Fall, that problem was quite suddenly solved. And if I grieved over losing the person I thought might have been The One, it was soothed a little by also losing the constant battles.

Last night, though, we had a throwback Sunday night.

Gracie started it. She texted me to celebrate our win and as thrilled as I am to know she’s following football from home, I thought maybe she was going to ask to come home early. Alas. So I was already a little sad when she texted about an hour later to see what we were having for dinner. That’s when it really began. Chicken? She didn’t want chicken! They just had it for lunch! And for dinner last week! And she hated chicken! [Uh, that is almost verbatim. I am so not hyperbolizing for once.] I snapped back that when I made pasta – our household cheat meal – they had both complained too! No matter what I cook, everyone complains!

At least she had the grace to keep her mouth shut.

Bee-girl started in when she got home. She didn’t like dinner. (That one I was expecting.) She didn’t want to go grocery shopping when I was done. (I was expecting that too – usually I’ve gotten that done during the day and we just netflix and chill after dinner.) But you know what? Thems the breaks. And when mama says to stop whining? Stop. Whining. And if you don’t have the sense to do that? Then you better definitely stop if she threatens to take away privileges.

Privileges were lost. In fact, the girls were lucky to escape with their lives by the end of the evening. They sniped all night about the tiniest little things that were bothering them. They kept trying to boss each other and one-up each other while we were out. I very nearly put my 11-year-old in Time-Out in the middle of Target!

Of course, by the time we got home and bedtime was near, the girls saw the light. Gracie made the peanut butter no-bake squares she’d talked me into buying. Bee-girl waited until five minutes before bedtime to start making her lunch for today – something I had stopped reminding her to do because she’s been buying lunch.

It was a little too late. Gracie tried to recoup bedtime by offering to play cards with me – something that nearly always works. Bee even offered to have a sleepover – something she knows I’m a sucker for after a weekend filled with scary dreams [sidebar: do not see Mother – it’s horrible and irrational in a completely unfun sort of way].

In short, I was glad to see the night end. And only slightly surprised when I saw a text from Bee-girl this morning…

Bee: Mom, I grabbed your lunch by mistake.

I’m making my sacrifices to the Gods of Monday Morning right now, before the rest of this morning slides down the incinerator shoot…