Thursday, December 20, 2012

I have to make that dreadful picture of the dreadful turkey go away. So here's a photo of me that my friend Mary-Carol took of me on Sunday at the State Street Macy's in Chicago. Festive!

It's been ages, hasn't it? I let this drop off the face of Bloggerdom, and it's not like I didn't think about it. I did, but then I generally fell asleep.

However, now I have a few days off. It's December 20, and that means I have FOUR WHOLE DAYS to get my Christmas shopping done. That's like forever, right? I started it last night (yay, me!), but let's face it. It's not happening on time. Not this year. And why?

*sad, crestfallen, guilty-me face*

I am dreadful at time management.

Actually, that's probably not true. I could manage time if I had any. Here's the problem: I love having a gazillion things to do. Unfortunately, I don't have a gazillion hours in a day.

What to do, what to do? One thing I should NOT be doing is this. I have presents to buy! Dishes to wash! Laundry to fold! Things to pick up! Cards to write! Bills to pay! A cat to snuggle!

Or I could take a nap....

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Sicko me

I have a cold and a tummy boo. I don't feel good. I get cold so I put on a sweater. Then I get sweaty and I take it off. Then I get cold again, and the sweater goes back on. Warm, and the sweater comes off. And the process starts again, with me sneezing and blowing my nose throughout.

I get sick only once a decade or so. For a long time I thought it was because I am a mom, and as a mom, I am blooming with acquired immunities. Let's face it: for years you get sneezed on and urped on and adorable little beings want to kiss you with their germ-crusty little mouths.... After a while the immune system cowgirls up for the job and you can laugh in the face of any nasty bug.

That was the reason I rarely got sick.

Ah, so wrong, grasshopper! Something else is a-work here.

Here's the real reason: I have no patience with being sick. I hate sitting still and letting the viral icks run loose in my system.

I have things to do!

My kids did great sick faces. You know the kind, where you think sad, sad thoughts (Lassie fell in the well, the store is out of chocolate milk and will never, ever sell it again, for Christmas you will get only underwear and educational toys, etc.) and your face mirrors it so perfectly that no one with an ounce of sanity could doubt for a single minute that this next breath could easily be your last, and you will expire, right there on the couch, like a forgotten coupon.

I got lots of advice from friends. Sit down, feet up. Or go to bed. Drink water. No, tea. Herbal brews. Read. Sleep. Do nothing.

Do nothing? How does that work?

Here's what I did: I went to the grocery store because the cat needed food and a new litter box and litter. My sick face was fully made up (vanity, oh vanity!) and I was wearing my favorite Itasca sweatshirt, and all was good and I felt better when I was outside, and I thought maybe I was actually healed, that my maternal immunities had finally kicked in and then....

Right by the cat food, HEAT! No, COLD! No, HEAT! No, COLD! And let's face it, there are only so many layers a woman can adjust at the grocery store before she's carted off by the cops. And I so do NOT look good in jail-orange.

So I finished my shopping, shivering and sweating, went home, unloaded the car, fed the cat, set up her new litter box, and collapsed into an antisocial heap in my chair, with my sick face on, thinking my own sad thoughts: the cat doesn't want to eat THAT food and she doesn't want to potty in THAT litter box with THAT litter.

And I forgot to buy the cold meds and aspirin. PLUS (now, here's the kicker) I'm sick on the weekend! THE WEEKEND! Now, that's sad.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

La Domestique


I had the urge to go all domestique today, so I hied myself into the kitchen and began to destroy any semblance of order in there.

I began with a turkey. Now, those of you who are loyal readers know of my frequent run-ins with turkeys. I don't know what it is, but the nasty creatures have it in for me. I don't care for them alive, and I don't care for them dead, but I'm a mom and I must feed the Spaethlings.

Today's went pretty well, except for my continuing puzzlement about which end is which. And it does matter, I gather from the directions. If you're to get the mystery packets out, you have to dig in the right end. Actually, you need to dig in both ends. There's stuff hidden throughout the turkey.

There's something new in the birds, I hate to tell you. I think it's the body part of the neck, but I'm not sure. I tugged and pulled and wrenched, and the thing would not leave the turkey, so I guess it's supposed to be in there. I hope so. It stayed in there.

All went well, though, until I took the turkey out of the oven. And I saw this.

Does this look right to you? What happened? Why did my turkey collapse? It tasted okay, so I just wrote this up to another terrible chemical accident at the turkey farm and went on to Project Two: Wild Rice Soup.

I've never made it before but I found a recipe that was repeated frequently on the web by sites I trust.

Well. No.

It made too much to fit in the recommended pot. It didn't thicken (the roux was added at the end, which in my culinary experience means it'll only do its rouxy thing on reheating). But maybe the weirdest part is the directions forgot the rice. In wild rice soup.

Ah well. Add a glass of wine or two and your favorite music, make sure you're sitting with good company, and, as my daughter says, "It's all good."

That's the best part of a domestique day!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas

Today is Christmas, and you know what that means in the Spaeth household. Yes, turkey wrangling!

I did okay this time. Found all the horrendously icky bits (though I had to dig around to find the aptly named "package"--it was in the, uh, other end if you get my drift), dispatched them to the trash, and got the turkey in the oven.

Then I merrily did some dishes, sang some carols to myself, talked myself out of an early glass of wine and settled for coffee from my brand-new Keurig (Merry Christmas, Janet!), and did a time check.

Heart stop.

3:52??? How did that happen? What did I do with the day? I know I read the paper but honestly, I'm a fast reader. Did the puzzle (crossword, that is--abandoned the Sudoku), brushed my cat--how did that consume the entire day?

Then I realized that on my new stove, the timer takes over the clock. 3:52 meant 3 hours and 52 minutes til the turkey was done. It was only really something like 1:00.

I was telling Music Guy about this, and he pointed out that if I'd watched the clock on the stove, I would have seen time going backwards! 3:52, 3:51, 3:50.... I would probably have put down the coffee and found that bottle of wine (no glass--bottle!).

Now, for a story of Christmas Past. I put this on Facebook, but I like the story so much I'm telling it here too.

I was 2 or 3, and it was almost Christmas. My mom was just getting ready to plunk me in the bath when the phone rang. My dad answered it.

"Janet, it's Santa!"

I tore into the living room, totally naked, took the phone from Dad, and said, "Santa, I don't have any clothes on!"

Santa laughed and my mom nearly fainted because....

It was a spot from the radio station, and we were live, and I had just announced it to all of Grand Island, Nebraska.

Yes, we moved shortly after that. To another state.

Merry Christmas, all!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Counting my blessings...still

Well, there went another month. My last post here was 25 days ago! And much fascinating stuff has happened in those 25 days! But this post is about the highlight of this month--Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year. I'm torn by the inherent issues of the actual holiday itself but what I do love about it is that it truly is, for many of us, a time to recognize our blessings and to acknowledge that maybe, just maybe, we can't take credit for them.

Every day of my life I say the same three words: "I am blessed." I am blessed beyond what I deserve. I am, without much thought on my part, taken care of. I'm warm. Fed. Loved. Safe.

It's the last two I'm especially grateful for.

For those of you, family and friends alike, I am thankful. You keep me feeling loved and safe. You are blessings above measure.

I am blessed. I love you all!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Non, je ne regrette rien

Edith Piaf sang, "Non, je ne regrette rien," which means in French, "No, I don't regret anything." She was an amazing singer (with amazing eyebrows--I'm starting to notice a theme here, but I'm meandering) and this is a fantastic song.

The lyrics tell us how she's thrown away the sadnesses of the past, and it ends with a yummy bit that makes me weak in the knees:

No, I don't feel sorry about anything,
Because my life, my joys, today begin with you. (Janet translation)

Excuse me while I pause to wallow in the lines. Those are beautiful words. In French, they're an absolute knock-out:

Non, je ne regrette rien,
Car ma vie, car mes joies,
Aujourd'hui, ca commence avec toi.

I'd like to add one teensy thing: this isn't exactly true. I do regret a whole lot of stuff I've done, and I think that's natural. Nothing too major, and nothing that there are outstanding warrants for.

Music Guy and I were talking this weekend, having a deep conversation about who-knows-what (he'll remember, bless his little Memorex heart) (he can remember all kinds of stuff! He probably even knows where his snowboots are, although I am just a wee bit unsure at the moment regarding the location of mine) and I said something about regrets being my school--that I keep them with me because I've learned from them, and they make me a better person.

That's a whale of a sentence. Oops.

I'm not perfect, but every day I get closer to my ideal of who I should be. Who I can be. And, honestly, who I must be.

Okay, enough seriousness. What else is going on in JanetWorld?

Well, Janet went a-wayfaring. Oddly, so did Music Guy! We had a fantastic time in the Cities, seeing friends and family and enjoying an eating frenzy. I have to report that I did not enter a single store, not even the gift shop at the Walker. Apparently it's possible. Who knew. Usually when I get to the Cities, the credit card comes out and doesn't go back into the wallet until it's fairly well melted.

Halloween came and went, and so did the candy.

Birthday came and went, and I'm a year older, just like that. In the shift of a second, I aged an entire year!

We're at the turn of the seasons now, my darlings, so find your snowboots and make sure your mittens match. It's near.

But meanwhile, enjoy the extra hour you get tomorrow night!