Olympic-sized questions

QUICKIE: Today’s is brought to you by one of Clyde’s lolcats friends.


Vincenzo and I have watched a lot of Olympics lately, and he asks a lot of questions.  Some of them I’m able to answer, like this:


V: Mom, feel my owies.  They’re bumpy.
M: Yes, we call them “scabs” when they look like that.
V: When will they be gone?
M: In a long time, but not too long.
V: Will they be gone by the time I’m in the Olympics?
M: I guarantee it.


Some of them Vincenzo is able to answer:


(watching rhythmic gymnastics)
V: Ooo.  Look at their pretty outfits.  Where are those people from?
M: China.
V: Oooo.  Where did they get their ribbons from?
M: From a special store.
V: Oh.  And where did they get their legs from?
M: (laughing) I don’t know.  Where did you get your legs from?
V: I think I got them from China.
M: Well there you have it.  They got their legs from China, too.


Some of the questions I just don’t have an answer for.


Announcer:  This team is possibly the greatest in the world.
V: What does “world” mean?
M: It’s where all people everywhere live.  Even you!
V: Even Noah?
M: Yup.
V: Even Abby?
M: Yup.
V: Even Allie?
M: Yup, all people ever born.
V: Even Baby Angelo?


And that I didn’t know how to answer.  Is heaven in the world all around us, or is it a place far away?  Is heaven even a place at all?  If anyone has it figured out, please let me know because I’m as clueless as Vincenzo on this one.  It would be really nice to know where Baby Angelo is.


Biscuits & Gravy
Fried Eggs
Vanilla Cream Pie

Martha Stewart…in bed

QUICKIE: Me to Vincenzo: “I spy with my little eye something that is green.”  Vincenzo: “Is it the white truck?”  Doh!


I love Martha Stewart.  I love her two-page spreads showcasing beautiful pictures of something as mundane as travel clocks.  I love how she uses the words “gelatinous sheath” and “delicious” in the same article.  I love that even the milk ad features her own picture in her own magazine.  (Although isn’t there some kind of etiquette rule against that?)


And that’s why it brings me great sadness to write the rest of this blog.  While I love Martha’s pretty pictures and peach-infused-vinegar, cassis-gelee filled recipes, I have always had a hard time swallowing the flowery articles that accompany all the pretty pictures.  I have physically choked on words such as “aplomb” before.  But this weekend, I discovered a secret, and with this secret I am now not only able to but actually eager to read every word in her magazine.  I am about to share The Secret with you. 


*camera pans audience’s expectant faces*


I feel very much like Oprah right now.


*dramatic pause*


The Secret: You know how when you read a fortune cookie fortune, you’re supposed to add “in bed” at the end of it?  For example, “You will have a long and prosperous life…in bed.”  Yup.  Try it in a Martha.  Let me give you a few examples from this month’s issue for you to practice on.  You’ll have to admit; she kind of made it easy for me.  I’ll give you the sentence and let you tack on the fortune cookie ending.


1.  “I puzzled at the fleshy, sometimes hairy, and sometimes dark and knobby shapes.”
2. “…their very name comes from the way they’d gyrate when moved by the power of God.”
3. “Quickly flip the strainer over, smacking it on a paper plate, and deposit the seeds.”  (Admittedly, that one’s over even my head.)


I had no idea Martha was so kinky.  She even borders on freaky this month, describing clam chowder as a “seductive soup” and smack-talking impatiens when she calls them “easy.”  You could probably lift any article from a Martha Stewart magazine and pop it into a Playboy Magazine and vice versa, and the readers wouldn’t notice a thing.  Because both magazines are known for their captivating prose, right?


If you’ll excuse me now, I think I’ll go take a shower.  I just spent an hour on the couch with Martha and I feel downright filthy.


Figs with Goat Cheese, Pecans, and Bacon (thanks, Fabulous Since 1961!)
Appetizers other people make
Double-Baked Chocolate Cake
Vanilla Cream Pie
Cherry Pie

The candyman can!

QUICKIE: Does anyone else think it’s criminal that an entire generation of kids is growing up believing that Raffi is the original artist of “Yellow Submarine?” **************************************************************************************************************************************
Vincenzo and I were listening to the radio the other day when “The Night the Lights went out in Georgia” by Reba McIntyre came on.  I love the song but it’s not exactly appropriate for a toddler to listen to.  A new bride sleeps with every guy in town, her sister-in-law kills both her and her #1 lover, and then the husband gets hanged for the murders.  But did that stop me from singing along?  Nah.  I did use some editing liberties, though.


…So he went home and finally found the only thing
Daddy had left him and that was a lamp

He looked through the screen at the back porch door
And he saw Andy lying on the floor
In a puddle of milk, and he started to shake

The Georgia patrol was making their rounds
So he blew his nose just to flag ’em down
And the big bellied sheriff grabbed his tongue and said
“Why’d you do it?”

That’s the night the lights went out in Georgia
That’s the night that they hugged an innocent man
Don’t trust your soul to no back woods Southern lawyer
Cause the judge in the town’s got jam stains on his hands


Anyway.  We spent last weekend with extended family in Seaside, Oregon.  It’s a never-ending carnival there, with twinkies (on a stick), hot dogs (on a stick) and sticks (on a stick).  Not to mention “the candyman can” song being piped through the town on repeat.  On street corners, grown men in striped shirts offer candy to little boys and girls.  Put that same guy on a street corner in Seattle and we’d run away screaming hysterically, but in Seaside everyone just holds out their hands and says, “Thanks!”


I managed to make it the entire vacation without buying a single piece of saltwater taffy, which is no small feat there.  To put it in perspective, imagine your own city of residence, and then substitute every Starbucks store with a taffy store.  While you’re at it, change the espresso stands into men in pin-striped shirts with bags of taffy (psst, the first one’s free).  How could I resist such taffy flavors as banana cream pie and bailey’s cheesecake, you ask?  Simple.  I finally made the realization that no matter what flavor it is, it’s still taffy, and it’s not creamy or crunchy or boozy like bailey’s cheesecake is supposed to be.  Just give me the friggin’ cheesecake, okay?  And give me the friggin’ cheesecake on a STICK.


Now can someone please, please drive me to the nearest Starbucks?  Because clearly, the Candyman either CAN’T or WON’T make a decent shot of espresso.  *sob*


Cornbread Taco Bake
Broccoli Gratin

Chocolate Cake

How Kevin spent his gambling money

QUICKIE: During a game of I Spy this weekend, I told Vincenzo I spied something gray.  He asked, “Is it Daddy?”
So you know how I was worried about what my husband was doing in a Jimmy Choo store in Vegas?  An hour later, he texted me a picture of a Louis Vuitton box and called to tell me I deserve it.  It was one of the sweetest things he’s ever done for me…and clearly, the stupidest.


First of all, I should point out that the bag is a work of art and I spend more time petting it than I do the cat. 




But I should also point out that the only reason I EVER buy a new purse is because my old one was either a) lost, or b) stolen. I’ve gotten very adept at canceling all my accounts and ordering new credit cards, and everyone at the DOL thinks I have a crush on them, I’m there so often.  Do you see why I might be an eensy weensy bit SCARED SHITLESS to own a Louis Vuitton? 


Because of my Purse Curse (couldn’t resist that one), I only buy my purses at Sears, and only on sale, and only if the sale price renders them in the single digits.  Conversely, I’ve been known to spend an insane amount of money on a pair of shoes.  Shoes that I never absent-mindedly set on the ground in order to cross the monkey bars with my son.  Shoes that I don’t forcefully shove into the stroller basket while Vincenzo and I play at the beach.  Shoes that no one has ever broken into my car to steal, only to throw them in a dumpster later.  My shoes usually stick around through 2 or 3 purse misplacings.


And now I have in my possession a purse that could outfit a small village with Steve Madden patent leather pumps.  Wasn’t there some competency test I was supposed to pass before owning such a thing?    Some IQ score I was supposed to achieve, or some secret handshake I needed to learn?  Without such a test, I’m left wondering if the Louis Vuitton will look better with sneakers or Crocs, and admiring the way my Sears wallet really brings out its shine.


One thing I’m not wondering about is how incredibly lucky I am to be married to a man who loves me and trusts me, despite my shortcomings.  Shoot, I’m the bride who left my wedding ring in the hotel room after our first night being married.  I’m the ditz who loses my glasses on a daily basis and who puts cell-phones through the wash.  I’m the mom who spent 8 hours making invitations to her son’s construction birthday party and now CAN’T FIND THEM ANYWHERE!!!!


Slow learners.  God, I love them.


Macaroni and Cheese
(so shoot me)



QUICKIE: I stole today’s quickie from a website called “cake wrecks” that I found from a blogger called Fabulous Since 1961.  Anyway, there’s more where this came from, if you have some time to check out the website(s)!





K was out of town at the end of the week and I got kind of freaky about staying home alone.  For the entire two days I set the house alarm if I so much as went out to get the mail.  I also rigged up a secondary alarm system reminiscent of the bell-on-string alarm my friend and I once assembled to keep her sister from sneaking into our candy stash.  I’d post a picture but need to keep it under wraps for security reasons.  I slept with one phone in my hand and two on the nightstand, and my son’s tot-sized baseball bat where my husband usually sleeps.  I stuck Vincenzo’s foam sword next to his bed, rendering my son just as effective at burglar-protection as my husband.  I woke up feeling like I had played Battleship while wrestling snakes all night.  I’m here blogging, so I think we can all agree that the system works!


I kind of missed K being around.  And I kind of liked missing him, I guess because it reminds me that he’s still worth missing.  K called from Vegas to tell me he saw Chloe Kardashian at Jimmy Choos.  I told him I only would have recognized Kim Kardashian, and only from behind; he told me he recognized Chloe because she looked dead behind the eyes.  We need to lay off the Enquirer magazines.  And I’m not sure what to think about my husband, on a bachelor-party weekend, hanging out at Jimmy choos.  ??


Anyway, while K was in the throes of Kardashian-spotting, here’s what we were up to:




I think I’ll title it “Poo-poo time, Mommy!”



Hot Dogs & S’mores @ the Beach

A visual sigh

QUICKIE: Vincenzo to Kevin on phone: “Daddy, I think my undies are a little wet.  Maybe when you come home you could feel them.”


And now for a little photo journal called:




 7:00 AM 










 I had to stop taking pictures after that.  My camera was actually weeping.


Special Olympics

QUICKIE: Does anyone else giggle every time they hear an Olympic sportscaster say, “he’s the world’s greatest breast-stroker?!”


Kevin has a bachelor party in Vegas this weekend.  It was a gold-medal send-off this morning, with me shattering a(nother) bowl minutes before leaving, spilling a gigantic pot of canning water on the living room carpet, and finishing my stellar performance by driving right past the airport exit.  Kevin dutifully followed me around with a pooper scooper all morning, kissed me goodbye and sweetly told me the only part of the weekend he was looking forward to was coming home to me again.  I bought the line…until I glanced in the rearview mirror and saw him skipping all the way to the claim check.  As I turned out of view, he seemed to be sharing an emotional hug with a baggage checker.


I’ve been trying not to blog about the Olympics because every blogger out there seems to be doing it.  They either reminisce about their own Olympic dreams or wax poetic on Michael Phelps’ hot bod or *yawn* what was I saying?  I have to admit that I just can’t get into Michael Phelps.  If I hold my hand over his face, my body temperature rises a notch, but take my hand away and…nothing.  Stone cold.  It’s those ears!  I’m mystified at how he can break so many world records with those ears sticking out like little rudders.  In a world of laser-beamed swim trunks and shaved legs, how can one get by with not one but two “handiflaps” protruding from one’s head?  I’m sure all the aliens on Mars are having a good chuckle up there.  First the pyramids, then the crop circles, and now these physics-defying ears. 


The minute I hit “publish” I will likely be laser-beamed off planet Earth, so could someone please pick Kevin up at the airport on Saturday?  He’ll be expecting you a couple hours later and in tears because you missed the exit and didn’t realize it until you hit Olympia.  And he’ll be totally understanding.


Potluck at Book Club

Judgment Day

QUICKIE: We passed a friend’s house in a cul-du-sac today and Vincenzo asked who lives there.  “Madeleine,” I answered.  He said, “There are a lot of houses.  There must be a lot of Madeleines!”


I went on a hike with a few people last weekend and we got on the topic of dates-gone-wrong.  The two males on the hike thought I was totally evil when I told my story, and the 2 females (myself included) thought I was totally innocent.  I will now enlighten you, The People, and let you be the judge.


*cheesy courtroom music*


In 1999 I went to Europe, as is protocol for all new college grads.  When staying in a hostel in Paris, I met a countryboy from Indiana who spoke English with the darndest accent and spoke French like it was water.   Or maybe he spoke French with a twang, too.  I don’t speak French, so I don’t know.  Anyway, we had a couple fun nights together, like when he took me on a subway to an obscure village that was lit up way after hours and we shared crepes while being serenaded.  But the two of us never touched once, let alone whispered sweet nothings into each others‘ ears.  I didn’t like him “in that way.”


Fast forward 3 months.  Back in the US, Countryboy in Indiana had to make some decisions about working.  He put out a couple resumes, got a couple job offers, and in the end he happened to take a job within a couple miles of my hometown in Washington.  (This is where the males on the hike were all, “Ohhhhh.  Oh no.  Oh that’s not good,” and I was all, “What?  What!”)  So Countryboy moved in with my parents for awhile, then found a place of his own.  Every once in awhile we’d go to dinner or meet up for a run but we never EVER touched or talked about a relationship.  We only saw each other once or twice a month, for golly’s sake!


Fast forward another 3 months.  I had since met and fallen in love with my future husband when Countryboy came to Easter brunch at my parents’ house.  After brunch, I cheerfully asked him, “Hey, would you like to come back for dinner?  You could meet my boyfriend then!”  Needless to say, he didn’t come back for dinner and actually didn’t come back at all, ever.  A follow-up phone call soon indicated he was madder than a bull with a bee in its bonnet in a china shop on a cold day in hell.  I tried to patch things up but admittedly didn’t try that hard because I was IN LOVE and was very busy building my nest at the time.  You understand, don’t you?


So Countryboy, if you’re into reading Mom Blogs, I’d like to say “excuse-moi, sil vous plais” because it’s the only thing I know how to say in French that gets kind of close to an apology.  Because it’s pretty clear I really have nothing to apologize for. 


But really, be honest in your comments, mon-cheries.  And I hope I didn’t unwittingly break any of your hearts today, either.


Blue Cheese Burgers
Potato Salad
Blackberry Peach Trifle

Sew what?

QUICKIE: Today Vincenzo told me he was in shape.  Then he added, “Maybe when I’m older, I can be in not-shape, like you!”


Good news, everyone!



I think I’ll be able to sleep much better now that we have plates for V’s birthday.  Ironically, I missed my nap today, but for a good reason:



I was tempted to call it quits halfway through and present Vincenzo with his “safety vest,” but I persisted.  Note that we took the picture after detaching then reattaching an inside-out sleeve.


I think I’ll just lay down for a bit now.  Missing naptime is hard.  Closing eyes…clearing mind…drifting off…almost gone…almost…PAINT!  OMG, WE STILL NEED PAINT FOR VINCENZO’S BIRTHDAY! 


*eyes wide open*


Twice Baked Potatoes

Salad with Chicken and Mandarin Oranges

Sew what?

QUICKIE: Quote from a friend: “I knew I would love my child, but I had no idea how much I was going to like her!


My sister is trying to teach me how to sew.  Again.  I have dreams of sewing a future daughter’s wedding dress, or outfitting a school play, or at least hemming a pair of pants for my comically short legs.  But the rate I’m going, I’ll be the mom bringing chocolate chip cookies to the school play.  Again.


My second bout of the Sew-Sews started when I saw a firefighter jacket for $35 at a store in Seattle, then later that week saw a pattern for a firefighter jacket at my friend’s house, and the idea was birthed.  That was last spring.  I borrowed the pattern and sat on it for 2 weeks.  I spent 2 weeks making various attempts to buy fabric.  2 more weeks passed pinning the pattern to the fabric.  Then I took a 2 week break because, frankly, after 6 straight weeks of working on the jacket I was exhausted.


Today Jnet came over to help me begin to actually sew.  Shortly into the lesson I had broken her sewing machine.  She fixed it.  I broke it again.  She told me she had no idea what I did to her sewing machine, so I explained that I’m real creative like that.  She managed to fix it, then returned to translating PatternSpeak for me.  For example, she knew that “baste” does not mean “to moisten occasionally with drippings,” and she also understood longer phrases like “pin bias tape to back neck edge over collar, placing crease along neckline.”  As she translated, I subtly returned my turkey baster to its drawer.


We sewed awhile longer but it was hard to get into it as I was missing my daily nap.  Fortunately, Jnet is quite perceptive and after an hour told me not to worry; we could stop there for the day and I could go lay down for a bit.  It’s hard for a 70-year-old lady such as myself to break routine.


And so the jacket remains unfinished in my basement and Vincenzo will lose another week of his childhood that could be spent doing great imaginings in his firefighter jacket.  But not to worry—he’s grown quite attached to his Build-a-Bear’s jacket in the meantime.  For any Reno 911 fans, I included a picture of Terry, to whom my child bears quite a resemblance when wearing said jacket:



Vincenzo                            Terry


I think I’ll just go bake a batch of chocolate chip cookies now.


Twice Baked Potatoes—2 Ways
Cream of Asparagus Soup
Salad with Mandarin Oranges and Water Chestnuts