date night/everything tight/check fright/strawberry cake just right

I refuse to say I am fat.

While typing this, I am wearing a size small shirt and jeans that are in the single digits. I refuse to beat myself up. In part, because that would be exercise.

I will, however, say that my clothes are skinny.

I had a date with the Pastor last night, and I was trying to psych myself up. It's not that I didn't want to go out with him, it's just that I seem to be in a post-Christmas funk. Not getting any presents (except from Moms) will do that to you.

I put on my false eyelashes. I hated all my clothes and thought it might cheer me up if I got something new to wear. Besides, I've been really good lately waiting for Santa to come (yet I still got the shaft) and I knew the Pastor wouldn't say anything if I went shopping.

We have a new outlet mall. I want it to do good. I want to like it. I really like a couple of the stores, but I kind of hate going there. It seems like everyone who shops there? Is incredibly stupid. This coming from a woman who routinely shops at Goodwill. I think it says a lot that the people at Goodwill annoy me less than the people at the outlet mall.

I wanted some fabulous retro circle skirted 1950's cocktail dress. You know, the 1950's, when women still had hips. Needless to say, the outlet mall didn't have the look I wanted. Why is everything made for stick straight people? Am I the only curvy girl out there? The Kardashian's are everywhere - and those girls have booties! How is it possible that they can be on the cover of every magazine, yet not have made an impact on the design of clothes? This would mean the Kardashian's have really served no purpose.

I gave up on the mall and went home where I proceeded to have the parade of the closet. I was too embarrassed to even photograph my looks and send them to any friends. The first look I tried on included a floral bubble skirt, a silver sequined tank and a purple cardi with silver trim. I looked like a bag lady who had raided a dumpster behind The Loft, or to give you an even better visual - imagine what the librarian at a LGBT library would wear.

The next look included a short black full skirt and a black sequined top. I looked like a sad, old ice dancer.

I gave up and put on a sweater dress. I was glad the Pastor wasn't home to see me pull my boots over my calves. If you ever want to question the size of your calves, go buy a pair of boots. I have never thought "I have abnormally large calves." I don't believe I do. But there is nothing like putting on boots that will make you think "what is wrong with my hideous, mishapen legs?"

We had a nice dinner out. We went to a restaurant we'd not been to before. The Pastor ordered a special.

Here's the thing about the specials at a fancy restaurant. They don't tell you how much they cost, and you don't ask because you are at a fancy restaurant. His special involved steak and shrimp. Once the check came and for once the Pastor's meal cost more than mine, I knew the date was over. Then I got to listen to how much food costs and how hard the Pastor works (he does) and the value of a dollar and how he would have been just as happy with a $5 hamburger. It went from hot date to conversation with a depression-era grandpa, just like that. This turn of events made me glad I hadn't added to the expense of the date with fashion.

Oh and by the way, I didn't care about my skinny clothes, that I had thought that maybe I should wear tights and spanx (sexy date undergarment combo), or how much it cost. I thought about having fun - and fun for me meant getting the strawberry cake.

It was delicious. I expect me and that cake will have another date soon, whether I find that perfect cocktail dress or not. As for the Pastor, you'll probably find him wherever $5 hamburgers are sold.


Christmas Card

Every year it’s the same.

Some people fear getting trampled to death while Black Friday shopping.

Others stress about not finding whatever version of Elmo it is you are supposed to buy.

But my greatest holiday fear?

The Christmas card.

I’m not talking about the boxes of Christmas cards you can go to any store and buy. That’s easy. You just decide if you want to be religious – Mary/Joseph/baby Jesus on front, or cute – a dog wearing reindeer antlers, or nothing with a generic “Happy Holidays.”

I’m talking about the elusive photo Christmas card.

You see, before you have the photo Christmas card, you have to have the photo. The perfect family Christmas photo.

I figure I must be missing something. People must have better lives, better children, or better abilities at Photoshop.

I’ve been trying to get “the perfect Christmas card” for 6 years now.

When you live in the reality that is divorce and remarriage with kids, first you have to find a time when all of you are together.

This magical thing happened, when the planets aligned – not only were we all together, we were all in Church clothes. Of course, none of us matched in the slightest. I was wearing plaid. The teenage boy was sporting a retro cardigan. One girl was wearing a cherry print, and the other, floral. The Pastor was in his clerical collar. I figured at best our photo would come off as a nice minister who had stopped to help out a rag-tag bunch.

Thankfully, I had not allowed the youngest girl to wear what she wanted to wear that morning. Her idea of proper church attire? Leather shorts. Leg warmers. Long, feather earrings. And I quote her: “I can rock this look.” No, dear. I’m pretty sure you can only “rock that look” if you are streetwalking. If you are a 12 year old girl, you cannot rock that look. At least not under my watch!

I had the realization that we were not only altogether, but half-way decently dressed, driving down the road. I told the Pastor we had to act fast. What happened next I’m sure was like having to race to get on the last helicopter out of Saigon. The Pastor pulled into a parking lot, screeched to a halt and we all ran to take pictures outside. It was even a decent day weather-wise. With this series of events happening, we were either going to get the perfect family picture or the world was about to end. I checked my phone to see if this was one of those dates predicted for the rapture.

The Pastor hurriedly set up his tripod – yes he carries it in his backpack all the time. We turned the timer on and just took shot after shot with the theory being we might get one decent picture.

Sure the 12 year old had some moments when she completely forgot how to smile and was making weird looking faces. And the 14 year old panicked at how to stand in front of the camera. And between each exposure, the Pastor and I were yelling at them, telling them to move here and there – screaming as though they might not make it aboard the helicopter and out of the war-torn country.

It doesn’t end with the picture. Once you get that, you have to attempt to order the cards. Here’s how that works. You go to various websites and look at design, after design, after design. There is an infinite number of possibilities. Cards range in price from roughly $0.01 - $15.00 per card. Inevitably, the ones you will like will be the $15.00 per card card. Once you find a card in your price range, it will need a vertical picture, and you will only have a good horizontal one. Or it is a card that will hold 4 pictures, and you need five.

Once you have managed to find the 1 card out of 27,382 that has the layout and number of pictures you need, and doesn’t say Happy Hannukuh (for a moment you will contemplate converting to Judaism, for it will make ordering cards easier) you will begin the process of dropping your pictures into the layout.

First you kiss your husband goodnight and grab an energy drink because you are in for an all-nighter. After you somehow manage to get the right pictures in the right slots you have to put a message or your names in a text box. Whatever you want to say, or however many names you have, it will be too many letters. You will all of a sudden give one kid a nickname they’ve never had, because it will fit on the card. Don’t even think about trying to change the font, you will want to get at least 30 minutes sleep.

I’m not bragging here. I’ve got a college degree. I went to vo-tech for a year. I’ve given birth to a child. I’ve held professional jobs, including one that required me to manage and be responsible for a number of employees. Why is it so hard to order a Merry freakin’ Christmas card?

You’ve managed to order the cards. Once they come in, you will be faced with the arduous task of addressing the envelopes. Your husband will ask you approximately every 30 minutes if “you’ve gotten the Christmas cards done.” You know, in all your spare time.

You finally finish. Then comes the stamping, the return address labels and the trip to the post office. Then over the next series of weeks, you will receive at least one returned in the mail every day because as it turns out you don’t actually know where anyone lives.

But I did it. You’d think for this, and for making the delicious Thanksgiving meal (all by myself) and wrapping the gifts and the shopping I’d deserve something extra special in my stocking this year. I know I'm not going to get any presents, so I’ll just settle for never, ever having to see the 12 year old wear leather booty shorts and leg warmers. Thanks, Santa.


and to all a good night

I have a vivid imagination.

Here's how the fantasy started. I was standing in the frozen foods aisle at Whole Foods. I'd like to say it was probably the bronchitis and the drugs I was taking, but I'm afraid it is just the way I am.

I saw a Tofurky - a vegetarian turkey substitute. This made me think of one of my favorite movies, About a Boy. I envisioned me, the Pastor and the kids sitting around and watching the heartwarming tale about a selfish bachelor and a boy with a crazy, suicidal mom. Sure, it's sad. But in the end everything is ok and the pieced-together family sits around a table eating a Tofurky at their holiday meal. After we watched the movie, I'd make a feast that included a Tofurky, and our pieced-together family could have a family meal. On holidays in years to come, all the kids would remember fondly the time they got to try Tofurky. And we'd all live happily ever after.

I'll give myself credit here. I was at least willing to abandon my fantasy. December 23 rolls around and the Pastor has been working non-stop, everyday. I knew I had to alter my Christmas expectations when I had to remind him it was going to be Christmas and the people he was going to have working on our rental properties might, just might, want to celebrate the dear little Baby Jesus with their families. (On a side note, having to remind your husband about Christmas is one indication that you won't be receiving presents.)

Then Nate had to have his wisdom teeth taken out. What an ordeal. On the first attempt, December 22, the power went out just before they sedated him, so we had to reschedule for the 23. This rescheduling meant I had to take him to the doctor's office in another city, which meant I had to drive him home alone and try to keep him from putting his fingers in his mouth while trying not to kill us in a wreck. Then I had to go to not one but two different pharmacies. It was all very stressful. By the time I finally got him home, I was asking myself who are these pain pills for exactly?

Once I got home, I put together the feast. There would be no family showing of About a Boy, but I made a meal anyway: Tofurky, mashed potatoes, stuffing, corn casserole and gravy. And why not? I'm not one to push my vegetarianism on others, but I make meat all the time. It's about time we had a vegetarian holiday meal around here.

By the time dinner was served, poor Nate didn't even feel like trying to eat even mashed potatoes. I sat down with the Pastor and the girls. It wasn't some fantastical, magical experience. Nobody looked as happy as they do in About a Boy; no one was even as happy as the Mom who had tried to commit suicide in the movie. In the end I didn't even tell the girls it was called Tofurky. I no longer cared.

The Pastor, true to form, said "Is this one of the special meals you were planning?" I know I can't communicate tone here, so let me explain in more detail. Reread that quote from the Pastor, but read it in a sarcastic, uninterested voice. And then make a noise after that sounds something like hummmmph.

I didn't use any of Nate's pain meds but I did make myself feel better in a way that is allowed by the Church - I made Christina Ferrare's Truffle Oil Mac N Cheese. I know what you are thinking. I haven't had much luck lately impressing these Hamburger Helper people I live with, so why would I make a complicated, expensive pasta recipe with four different kinds of cheeses and truffle oil? I did it for me. It was delicious.

I'm going to go make myself a bowl right now and curl up in front of the tv and watch About a Boy. This mac n cheese may be the only Christmas present I get.

Well that, and getting to watch Hugh Grant. I also own Love Actually and Bridget Jones's Diary. I may make it a triple feature.


no rest for the wicked, or a mom

After feeling miserable for six days, on the seventh day I finally went to the doctor. I couldn't take it any longer. Errrr, rather, the Pastor couldn't take it any longer if I kept him up another night because I 1. couldn't breathe 2. coughed 3. sneezed 4. was blowing my nose. A lot. The Pastor said if he missed any more sleep I'd end up in the hospital from being forcibly removed from the bed. So I thought I'd go see the doctor.

And why shouldn't I freely enjoy these last 12 days of our deductible being met?

I did my usual refusal to look at the number on the scale at the doctor's office (I've found those things to be horribly inaccurate.)
The doc said it was a good thing I didn't wait any longer to come in, because I have bronchitis.

After the doctor, it was off to the bank and the pharmacy to get my prescriptions. To give you an indication of how bad I felt, I didn't even want coffee. Then I had to go pick up some gift cards. Then it was off to a fancy grocery store 7 miles away because I don't live in one of those super-fancy cities where you can buy something exotic like marscapone cheese on every street corner.

After that, I still didn't get to go home and be sick. It was more work and errands until I had to pick up Nate from school. Next was a driving lesson for him. Followed by a standing engagement our family has - Monday Night Tacos.

After dinner, there was running around with the family including this being the one night we could all be together to look at Christmas lights.

We got home after 7, and I still had Nate's birthday cake to make. Since Nate loves chocolate chip cookies, I wanted to make him a chocolate chip cookie cake I had seen in Martha Stewart Living. You know what that means. Sifting was involved. Which also means once again in my life I had to Google "do you measure flour before or after you sift?" How did people bake before the Internet?

I secretly think Martha's true crime was not anything she did with money but what she does with her recipes and crafts. I think she leaves just a little something out so you don't know just how much of a pain whatever project or recipe you are working on will be until it is too late. You just end up feeling inadequate and Martha is somewhere in Connecticut laughing maniacally.

I just needed 8 dozen of Martha's cookies measured out by tablespoon and baked 14 minutes until crispy. Once I started baking the cookies, I had the soon-to-be birthday boy hovering. I had to tell him "You cannot touch that cookie dough!" and "No! You cannot eat a single cookie even though I am baking them for your birthday. I need them for your cake." His reply? "Why didn't you just buy me a cake?"

I didn't let Martha get the best of me today. Here's what her cake looked like:

Here's mine so far (top layer doesn't go on until you serve):

The Pastor was extremely helpful: "You needed a recipe for that? It looks like you just stuck a bunch of stuff between some cookies."

Must. Not. Throw. Cake. I've. Worked. So. Hard. On. At. My. Husband.

Now it is 10:45 p.m. and I still haven't rested like the doctor wanted me to. I haven't been at home all day, much less lay down. The doctor also wanted me to take some Benadryl - and I had to explain to him I didn't have time for a coma.

I'm going to take it now and go to bed. God created the earth in six days and then had a day of rest. I don't think it is any coincidence that this occurred after he created a woman to take care of everything for him. I imagine that woman was a lot like Martha Stewart.


we'll always have Paris

This picture taken at a happy moment in France just makes me feel sorrow.

There weren't just five of us in the picture. There were six. I was carrying around a teeny, tiny secret souvenir. I was pregnant. I couldn't have been happier.

Alas, it was not meant to be. The day we were going to make the big announcement, I went to the doctor and his heartbeat was gone.

The picture devastates me, not just for the loss, but because in a way it captures the essence of the last time I truly felt happy.

A letter I wrote to our angel baby has been published in a new book compiled by Help Inspire Others http://www.helpinspireothers.com/

I've just learned from the people at Help Inspire Others that one of the largest independent book stores in the United States - The Huntington Book Revue, New York - is featuring this book.

I'm heartbroken our baby didn't make it, but I'm blessed to have been able to carry him for a while in my body and forever in my heart. I hope through the work of Help Inspire Others and the sharing of stories from people like me, it will be beneficial to others experiencing the loss of a pregnancy.

Adieu, Mon Petit Souvenir.


food for thought

It started last week.

The Pastor said to me "would it be helpful to you if I made a list of what I like for you to cook, so you'll know what to cook."

Uhhhhhhhh, no. I know what to cook. I pretty much know how to cook a jillion, billion million things. And if for some reason I sustained a sudden brain injury, I could still type into the computer whatever ingredients I have (Eggo waffles, refried beans, ice cream, frozen pizzas) and magically recipes would appear.

I love it when the Pastor tries to "help" me.

I gently explained this to him. And the fact that when we don't eat at home, it's not because I haven't a clue what to cook, but his crazy schedule. Or the fact that we have not one, not two, but three teenagers in various places at all times. I always plan to cook - but then the day of or hours before, my plans will be derailed - because while I am planning to cook, everyone else is planning to do something else far more interesting than being at home and eating dinner.

Our discussion continued with the Pastor telling me how he doesn't understand why I don't just throw something in the crock pot in the mornings. If I did this, then he and the kids would be just fine! They can take care of themselves! They could scoop whatever out of the crockpot, be perfectly delighted while I am at my writing class, and clean up after themselves.

I reminded the Pastor I did that very thing the previous week. When I got home, he told me two of the three people who had eaten that evening did not like what I made in the crock pot (Swiss Steak). The Pastor didn't understand why him telling me that two out of three did not like something might hurt my feelings. Oh, and they left all their dirty dishes in the sink.

At this point, the only thing I'm contemplating putting in the crock pot is dismembered body parts.

But still, he rattled off a couple things he'd like for me to cook - chili and pizza burgers.

I got up the next morning. Looked up recipes. Made a list. Went to the store. Spent $225.00 on groceries, went home, unloaded and put everything up. Of course when you put everything up, that is when you discover you have to clean out and rearrange everything in your freezer, fridge, deep freezer and pantry. All this activity consumed no less than three quarters of a day.

Now on to the Pizza Burgers. I'd never heard of PB but the Pastor's mom made them and as he described them, they were nothing short of Manna from Heaven. Thanks to the internet, I had googled the recipe and gave it a whirl.

I realize I don't have a Ph.D., but I have cooked for more than 20 years with a resume that includes the fact that no one in my household has ever starved to death. Even though I don't eat the meat, I get the jist of things. I followed the recipe. One pound ground beef, hamburger buns, pizza sauce, cream of mushroom soup. Brown meat, add pizza sauce and soup, pour over hamburger buns. Top with cheese. Bake til bubbly. Except for the fact I really thought it might be too runny when I was adding the soup and sauce so I cut back on what it called for. Personally, I thought the buns should probably be baked a little before adding everything on top, but being a seasoned cook I thought I'll follow the recipe and I can tweak it next time I make it.

I served dinner and the Pastor offered up his "constructive criticism." Too runny. He's just trying to help. You know, for the next time I make it.

Let's move on to the chili. I made chili in the crock pot and the best cornbread ever - the Barefoot Contessa's recipe. The Pastor's response? There's no beans in this chili. It's just meat soup.

And the Pastor - the one who hates to throw food away and why can't we just eat leftovers - each time since then when I've offered him the leftover chili, he doesn't want any part of my "meat soup." Also, the teenage boy doesn't want any of it, because now we are out of hot dogs and there is nothing to eat it on.

Just to be clear - I've invested all this time, effort in money into hot dogs I don't eat, chili I don't eat, Pizza Burgers I don't eat, Swiss Steak I don't eat.

There's always a silver lining. I accidentally grabbed a pair of too tight jeans out of the closet and put them on. A few hours later I realized hey! these jeans fit me now! I'm so busy cooking all this food for everyone else to complain about, I totally forgot to eat.


Muffin Top

The Pastor lovingly caressed me and told me he liked my "muffin top."

This can mean one of four things:

1. He doesn't know what a muffin top is.
2. He doesn't know how to compliment a woman.
3. He wants to die a slow, painful death.
4. He wants to buy me a very nice Christmas present.


the things we carry

the present contents of my purse:


-hand sanitizer

-all natural allergy buster nasal spray

-blue pen

-not one, but two, EOS lip balms

-flyer from Bath & Body works


-face powder

-business card holder, empty


-Looky here. My Beats by Dr. Dre headphones! Wait a minute, those are Nate's.

-black pen


-Drake's latest CD - I'm guessing that must also be Nate's

-wallet, which could be the subject of a whole other blog post


-cupcake wrapper

-uhhhh, lipstick


-a ring I found on the ground

-4 mini tubes of toothpaste, dental floss and 2 toothbrushes (dentist yesterday)

-page I ripped out from a Magazine

-bookmark that shows you how to check for skin cancer

-post-it note pad


-return address labels

-schedule for cooking classes at Williams-Sonoma

-brochure, paperwork and dental x-rays for Nate's wisdom teeth removal

-Kleenex - both used and un-used

-a bar of Dove soap (how I wish it were a bar of Dove chocolate)

-my iPod, dead, complete with wadded up headphones of the non-Dr. Dre variety

-a reusable coffee cup sleeve and a coffee cup spill stopper

-one of those pens made in France that you click to change the ink color

-miscellaneous receipts, straw wrappers and assorted trash too numerous to list

-I just unearthed two more lipsticks

- and a partridge in a pear tree

Just kidding on that last one. But maybe Santa needs to bring me a pack mule before I throw out my back. Now the only question is, what could I Macgyver up with all this stuff?


my dog ate my homework

I promised my writing teacher I would get some writing done.

That was on Saturday. The day before I made Thanksgiving dinner for nine people.

Here's the plan, I told my writing teacher, as soon as I get done with Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday, I'm going to write Monday and Tuesday. Then, when I see you again on Tuesday, I'll have some writing to show you.

Good plan, huh?

I have Thanksgiving. Everyone leaves. Seriously? I did all that cooking and everyone leaves me high and dry - or rather wet - with a sink full of dishes to wash. There's another couple hours of my life I will never get back.

I finally get the kitchen cleaned, and then the Pastor shows up wanting me to help him enter scores into his grade book.

I'm exhausted. Go to bed. Tomorrow is a new day! I can get writing done on Monday, right?

Nope. First thing Monday morning, I'm at the courthouse rather unexpectedly having to take care of a landlord-tenant issue. Want to know a great way to kill half a day? Go hang out at the courthouse where you will get referred from window to window with no clerk actually ever helping you.

Then I'm off to the eye doctor. Why - didn't I just have my eyes checked?!? Here's why - I'm either going blind, about to stroke out, going crazy, or some combination of all of the above. Within the past week, I've suddenly lost my ability to focus which as it turns out is fairly important and I've developed new floating black specks when I look at things on a white background. Like when I write. I've convinced myself that I must be going blind and I'm terrified because who is going to take care of me? I take care of everybody else, and I can't even get anybody to wipe toast crumbs off the counter (more on that later.) I start envisioning (ha!) what my life will be like as a blind woman. The only upside I see (ha!) is that I'll probably use it as an excuse to eat whatever I want because I won't be able to see how fat I'll be getting. I think it's a good sign that I'm looking for a silver lining.

I get pictures taken of the inside of my eyeballs and my prescription changed.

Home finally. I get a little bit of writing done, but the change in prescription is killing me and I end up with a headache. I'm still not convinced I'm not going blind, or crazy, or both, and I spend most of the evening with my eyes shut. Yep, the creative writing juices are really flowing!

Tuesday, here we come.

This will be the day.

I just have to get my hair cut, find out why my hair is so stressed out, take the 12-year-old to get her hair cut, and take me plus one child to the dentist.


The day starts off not so great. The 12-year-old girl in our house is acting like, well, a 12-year-old girl. In fact, that's going to be my new expletive when I get angry. From now on, I'm going to scream "12-year-old girl!" That says it all.

One of her *many* issues is the fact that I had the audacity to ask her to wipe up the toast crumbs she created. In hindsight, I remember why many a mother chooses to wipe up the crumbs herself, while deciding not to care if the child lives in squalor or grows up to be a crumb hoarder. Why did I ask? Why didn't I scream silently inside as I clean it up myself? Oh yes, I thought I'd go a different way so that I don't end up stressing myself into blindness or causing all my hair to break off. 12-year-old girl!

The plan to take the 12-year-old to the hairdresser is scrapped. I'm not going to spend that much money on someone who can't appreciate the fact that she lives in a house that allows her to have toast and asks for very little in return. I'll just go by myself and get some TLC.

When I leave the hairdresser, I see my dad has left me a voice mail that my mother has been in an accident. She's fine, everything is fine, no one is hurt - just shaken up. but I end up making a couple extra trips back and forth to my parent's house.

Me plus one has an appointment at the dentist. So I have to round up one kid, any kid, or perhaps any random person I can pick up off the street at this point, and get them to the dentist. I choose Nate. So glad I chose Nate, because I learn that he needs his wisdom teeth taken out. Really bad. Sooner rather than later. I did manage to have 15 minutes to myself in the waiting room where I actually got to work on my writing, scribbling furiously in my notebook. I told the hygienist who cleaned my teeth that coming to the dentist was the most relaxing part of my day. Her look confirmed for me what I already suspect - I am going crazy.

Then, one more trip to mom and dad's house.

Finally home. Starving. Have I eaten today? No. 12-year-old girl! I lock myself in my office with chips and guacamole. It seems like I'm too busy doing everything for everyone else to do the one thing that is important to me: write. And I don't say this in a selfless, wonderful sort of way. That I'm one of those wives and mommies who takes care of her family without complaining that there's nothing left at the end of the day for her. I'm definitely complaining.

So here I am shoving chips in my mouth between keystrokes and getting guacamole on my computer, trying to feel creative.

I wish it were simpler - like I could just blame my dog for eating my homework. I wish I had a dog. I bet if I went blind at least a dog would hang out with me and eat my tortilla chip remnants and clean up the crumbs from the toast. Maybe I could train the dog to bark if anyone got within a three foot radius of me so I could get some writing done. What to do now? Write some more? Or start looking for that dog?


Thanksgiving 2011 - Day 1 stats

Fingernails broken: One. Of course! I had a manicure today.

Turkeys dropped on toe: One. Of course! I had a pedicure today. I think this was the turkey's way of exacting revenge.

Pie crusts made: Six. That's enough for six single-crust pies or 3 double-crust pies. For the record (since this is the official record) the first batch I made seemed doughy - smooth like cookie dough. The second batch seemed much more pie crusty but it was more dry than the first batch. That's one of the questions I'm planning on asking Jesus. Why is pie crust such a magical, mystery thing? And will I be able to make it perfect in Heaven?

New Kitchen Aid mixer used: Twice :) I love my new mixer. It was a present from the Pastor. I used it for the pie crusts and cornbread.

Cooking soundtrack: Ke$ha.

Dishes planned: Twelve. Corn, Dressing, Pumpkin Pie, Pecan Pie, Apple Pie, Relish Tray, Turkey, Ham, Rolls, Mashed Potatoes, Cranberry Relish and Gravy.

Dishes Robyn could care less about: Two - ham and turkey.

I'd just as soon go eat Mexican food.

Dishes Mom is bringing: One - layered salad. It's pretty much the only thing I care about. Well, that and the pie.

Dishes on the original plan that were scrapped: Brie covered in Puff Pastry. I think we are having enough food. No one needs cheese.

Money spent at grocery store: I'm not saying. Let's just leave it at I could have eaten for days and days and days at the Mexican restaurant.

In addition to the pie crusts, tonight I made the cranberry relish.

I should note the only request the Pastor has made is that I must purchase the cranberry stuff in a can. I obliged, but I still made home-made cranberry sauce tonight. Why? I don't know. Nobody cares about the cranberry stuff. If people liked the cranberry stuff, it'd be around all year. I did back off from my original plan. I did not use my cranberry gelatin mold. I figure if no one cares about cranberry stuff, then they especially do not care what shape it is in.

The turkey is brining. The cornbread is getting stale, just like it's supposed to do for the stuffing.

I'm going to bed.

Hopefully I'll dream of Mexican food.


Funny Farm

I wish I could tell you I wasn't wearing a thrift store shirt I bought for 99 cents. And sporting red lipstick in homage to my grandmother. The crazy one.

I wish I could tell you I don't have a grocery store receipt as long as I am, from - wait for it - couponing.

I wish I could tell you I didn't come home from the grocery store, reorganize my kitchen and make home-made note cards from the cardboard packaging from my groceries.

All this while thinking about going to the new outlet mall, but telling myself "I'm too busy."


What has happened to me?

At least I'm wearing great shoes. They are also Goodwill. And my shirt is pretty awesome. Fortunately the seventies revivalism big for Fall is always big at Goodwill.

Maybe crazy is the new sane.

That's what I'm going with.


Rise and Shine

I woke up to an inbox full of e-mails from the Pastor, who wanted to video chat with me first thing this morning.

I called him, only to hear him complain that I was wearing the same thing I was the last time we chatted. Of course I was! He called me last night, we video chatted, I went to bed, I woke up and called him again. There were no wardrobe changes.

In an effort to make him happy, I took my sleep-shirt off. Now he was, oddly, really displeased. He's not that kind of Pastor.

So I ran to the freezer and grabbed the package of steaks I bought for his return home next week, and I covered up with those. Maybe I could entice him with meat.

But this didn't have the desired
effect either. He was laughing too hard to talk about anything.

And I was getting frostbite.


the art of war

The Pastor is still away studying "Peace and Conflict Resolution."

Not to be outdone, I went another direction. I stayed here and have been practicing the art of "War and Conflict Institution" with a specialization in Marital Strife, or "How to get your husband ticked off at you when he is a whole day ahead of you 101."

I was just trying to help the Pastor use some of his newfound skills?

Here's what I've learned in my intensive study plan. Turns out the Pastor's new skills are actually intended to be applied on a more global scale. Turns out the Jetson's lied and the best way to communicate (argue) about anything is not Skype, Skype chat, e-mail, e-mail chat, text messages, e-mails sent as text messages, voice mails transcribed into text messages, Youtube videos, Facebook chat, Facebook or Google Circles (I don't even know what that is). Turns out if you are going to make your husband really, really mad, maybe it is good to do it when he's been hanging around a bunch of Buddhists and some of that deep breathing and meditation has rubbed off.

I think we've kissed and made up, as best as you can from 12 time zones away. I'm not going to let the Pastor know that though. Conflict may have some negatives, but it can be good for the waistline. If I can just keep the argument going for a couple more days, I'll make my goal weight.

And that, my friends, brings true peace.



It's almost like having the Pastor here.

Teenager #1, standing in front of fridge: Roooooobbbbbbbbyyyyynnnn!!!!!

Me: Don't ask me to help you find something that's right in front of you.


So Teenager #1 turns to Teenager #2 for fridge support. In this case, two heads are not better than one. It takes the two of them no less than 5 minutes to locate a package of cheese sitting on my shelf of cheese, the same place I always put the cheese.

I'd fear for the future of civilization, but between stuff like this - and having a new driver - I'm sure I'll stroke out long before then.

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he probably doesn't know Kim Kardashian has psoriasis either.

Me, to Pastor: Did you see Amy Winehouse died?

Pastor: Who's that?

Me: Are you kidding me? She's that singer?

Pastor, googling Amy Winehouse on his computer: I've never seen this person before in my life.


I don't know what that man spends his time doing.

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He'll know how much I miss him

when he pulls up the Discover card account online.

He'll see I used it at Taco Bell and Goodwill.

Just wanted to let him know I was thinking about him.

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squaring up the sheets

This is as fancy as it gets. No Pottery Barn sheets here, just Target. No high thread count. As you can see, not even matching pillow cases. And that quilt? I hate it. Marital compromise. As you can tell, the only thing I'm interested in decorating is myself.

The Pastor has been gone for 18 days. This also means I haven't slept for 18 days. Or made the bed. When I finally collapse in the wee hours of the morning after watching all the Casey Anthony trial I could record, this is how it looks. It ain't pretty, and neither am I without my beauty sleep.

I'm to the point of needing a script for Ambien. Or one of those drips like Michael Jackson had.

Or a Pastor.

-sent from my iPhone


today is the first day of the rest of my summer

What to do, what to do, what to do!

A couple of weeks ago the Pastor and I went to Colonial Williamsburg. Then the Pastor dragged the whole family to Colorado. Then the Pastor got on a double decker plane and flew I don't know how many time zones away.

My point here - we've been gone and crazy busy. Today is the first official day of my summer.

First, I've decided to work my way through the entire Starbucks menu. I know, it's a lofty goal. I promise to do my best.

Of course, there's a weight goal. I'm also going to lose _____ pounds. The blank is my little secret. I started Weight Watchers again. It's one of the never ending stories of my life. I am high tech this time and tracking on my iPhone. This provides me with all sorts of handy, useless information. For instance, I can tell you right now my favorite foods include: string cheese, reduced fat triscuits, olive oil, tortilla chips and Weight Watchers mini cheese pizzas.

Pastor would be proud of me so far. I already took the trash out once. I know he's probably fearful that it would pile up and by the time he returned home the house would look like something out of Hoarders. Also, I got up early today and I'm already dressed and working.

Up. Dressed. Off to a good start. Except I'm not entirely on top of things. My battery is dying. I better hurry up and post this.

Here's to a good summer.


96 hours left

The Pastor is here for 96 more hours before he leaves for the summer.

We'll see if he lives that long.

I just asked the Pastor if he liked the necklace he had bought me. Today is the first time I've worn it.

The Pastor expressed concern about all the stuff "he" had bought me.

No, I insisted, you really did buy this for me. You physically picked it out and paid for it. This wasn't/isn't like all the other stuff, he really did buy it!

He still didn't believe me. More details. I reminded him how we were in Kansas City. . . .

Then he remembered how he had in fact bought it for me.

I wonder if he will remember to buy me anything while he's in Thailand. I might need up help him out.


nothing accomplished here

Actual, unretouched conversation.

Pastor: do you have a fingernail clipper?

Me: No.

Pastor: how do you clip your nails?

Me: I don't.

Pastor: How is that possible?

Me: I pay an Asian person to clip them for me.

Me: Just kidding (kind of)!!! I file them.

Pastor: Do you have a file?

Me: yes (hands him file)

Pastor: (hands it back) I can't use this. These things give me the heebie jeebies.


End scene. The Pastor still has a snaggly nail.


40 for 40 - the international foodie edition

40 for 40 - International Food Edition

It's appropriate since this is about food that I'm starting from scratch. I typed this once, inexplicably lost it (I hate you recently, Blogger) and had to start over.

This one is just for the Pastor.

1. Two words. One is Cancun. The other is Guacamole. Two more words: room service.
2. Getting to Greece after having terrible food for two weeks in Kosovo. Eating stuffed tomatoes. Were they really that good, or were we that starved for something edible? The Pastor was sick and ever since has accused me of trying to kill him that day because I had misplaced our Ziploc bag of meds.
3. Pizza in Kosovo with ketchup instead of tomato sauce. Also Kosovo - weird, white cheese.
4. Having a piece of good ol' American apple pie on the boat between Greece and Italy.
5. Being cheap in Amsterdam and not wanting to eat in a restaurant. Getting cheese, crackers and fruit at the grocery and having a picnic outside.
6. The worst international meal? Perhaps Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch (Google it). It was worse than the worst school cafeteria lunch.
7. It's okay to eat a sandwich out of the package in England. I'd never do that here, the sandwich wouldn't be good. Or healthy.
8. Dessert crepes at the hotel in Costa Rica after starving all week at the jungle research facility with the rat infested kitchen. This was the 2nd meal we have eaten in a hotel that's famous for John Kennedy staying there.
9. Another Kosovo memory. The Pastor pretending to drink wine (sneaking it to me) and me pretending to eat a giant bowl of honey (sneaking it to the Pastor) when we were eating dinner at the home of one of the Pastor's Bible students.
10. Having pasta by the Leaning Tower. No, not that one, the other one.
11. Forcing the Pastor to find every Starbucks in a foreign country so that I could obtain an oversized, heavy, fragile coffee mug that I'd have to try to fit into my small and light backpack. Later, I'd find a way to put it (and other stuff) in the Pastor's bag.
12. Eating Croque Monsieurs at that cafe near the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
13. Nutella crepes on the street in Paris.
14. Fondue in Switzerland.
15. Indian food in the Indian district in Manchester. I especially loved the Indian sweet shop.
16. Eating at Nando's in Manchester - especially the night when the Pastor had just received his Ph.D., yet a fellow diner mistook him for a waiter.
17. While the Pastor was working on his Ph.D., I'd walk down the road in Didsbury to the Illy Cafe where I'd get my latte. The barista would always call me "Love" because that's what boys call girls in England. I'd go next door to get my gingerbread man.
18. Having High Tea with the kids at the Alice in Wonderland themed tea shop in Oxford.
19. Walking to the Cafe Nero every morning in Oxford to get the best Caramel Lattes of my life.
20. Towards the end of our European adventure, laying in bed thinking about what I was going to order at the Mexican restaurant the day we got home.
21. Eating French pastries at that cafe when we went to the Cathedral in Chartres, France.
22. Is the Bahamas international enough to count? Not being able to eat my food, because the Pastor's food had an eyeball in it that was staring at me.
23. Dining at the original Hard Rock Cafe in London so that we could get our "free" sundaes after eating our $20 burgers.
24. Thank you England. If not for you, I never would have known about delicious flapjacks.
25. The hotel we stayed at when we went to England for the Pastor's graduation. Every morning we had croissants, cheese and lattes for breakfast.
26. This number is dedicated entirely to Nutella. I know I mentioned you in #13, but that's not enough. I didn't discover Nutella until my first trip to England in 2005. That's when I found what I'd been missing the first 33 years of my life.
27. We are fancy people. We went to the Louvre. We ate at the McDonalds. Le Filet of Fish. We went to Stonehenge. We ate at the McDonalds.
28. The Pastor realizing his backpack was so heavy after he'd carried it all the way across Europe. The Pastor realizing it was heavy because I had filled it with cans of coffee. Coffee, you know, that stuff that's one of the world's most plentiful resources.
29. The Pastor showing me the map of all the places we were going to go overseas and all the things we were going to do. Me, being excited, not at seeing the famous church on the map (much to the Pastor's dismay), but at seeing a cookie shop. We did go to that cookie shop.
30. Having hummus for breakfast in Israel.
31. Having a bagel in Old Jerusalem. That was a good bagel.
32. The market in Munich.
33. Me and Nate and Cam having tea and scones with clotted cream - yum! - at St. Michael's Mount.
34. Fish and Chips. In London and at the beach, Exmouth. With smashed peas in Manchester.
35. The Fire and Stone Pizza place in Oxford where we took the kids every Thursday for 5 pound pizzas, that's price not weight.
36. Eating at the oldest restaurant below sea level in Manchester.
37. Eating a grocery store picnic on the train from Scotland to England because we hated Scotland so much we decided not to stay there.
38. The grocery stores in England. More gingerbread men. Olive bars. Candy bars.
39. Eating Greek yogurt at the base of Areopagus.
40. And finally, my favorite. We didn't eat him/her, but the cow someone ate. Seeing the cow everyday tied to our front porch in Kosovo, and then getting to see the bar-b-q.

Thanks Pastor. I love you.


How can I have lost another blog post?



40 for 40 - the foodie edition

I love food. I love cookbooks. I love Food TV. As I type this, I'm watching Ina Garten finish up a key lime pie for Jeffrey just before he walks into the door.

In honor of my 40th year, here's a list of 40 entirely devoted to my love of food.

1. I trace my love of Mexican food back to the days of being a small small kid and going out to eat every Friday night at the Taco Palace on 39th Street. The place is long gone, but in my mind I can still smell the chips. Of course, years later, my parents said we stopped going there because we started getting sick every week, but I'll always love you Taco Palace, a name that combined my love of Mexican food and all things royal.
2. Fred Gangs on 23rd Street. I have been a vegetarian for 20+ years, but if I could go back in time to my 90 lbs., 12 year old self and the opportunity to eat one of their giant burgers with cheese, avocado, bacon and olives, I would not hesitate.
3. My college graduation. I went to Henry Hudson's after. I know I had a tequila sunrise. I know I had one other drink. And nachos. How did my 110 lbs. self handle that? The next morning I went to Jimmy's Egg with my dad and had a waffle and bacon. Oh how I wish I could still eat like that.
4. Getting ice cream at Braum's after special events like dance recitals and piano recitals. Strawberry Cheesecake.
5. Speaking of ice cream, the place I cannot remember the name of where they would bring family- size sundaes out to your table in a kitchen sink.
6. One of the best meals I've ever eaten. The Elote Cafe in Sedona, Arizona. It was a lovely New Year 2010 celebration with the Pastor.
7. Eating a hot dog at the Texas Motor Speedway, tailgating before a Nascar race. My Dad telling me after the fact that he thought he had mistakenly given me one of the real hotdogs and not one of the vegetarian ones.
8. J. J. Tippins. Oh how I miss you. French Onion soup. Your thick, giant corn bread with honey butter. And the pie? French Silk? Dutch Apple? It was all good. The giant salad too.
9. All the wonderful times I've been to In-N-Out Burger. No meat for me, but In-N-Out can make a grilled cheese that good. I knew the french fries were wonderful, but it changed my life the day I found out you would put cheese and dressing on the fries. Delicious milkshakes.
10. Eating at On the Border with the Pastor on a non-date when we were "just friends." He talked on the phone nearly the whole time and we had tortilla soup with extra crispy things and extra cheese. It's a good thing that we were "just friends" because there's no way I would have put up with a date like that. : ) He touched my arm on the way out the door. I thought it might have meant something but later I found out that was just his "non-threatening elbow touch."
11. A New Year's Day meal at the Grand Canyon lodge with the Pastor. The food, the view, the Waiter, the rainbow taco dessert - it was magical.
12. Getting to eat at one of my faves - Big Bowl - in Chicago with the Pastor, Nate and 3Ven. Fresh Ginger Ginger Ale and Mongolian BBQ.
13. Cheever's Cafe. I've been there too many times to count with the Pastor. Wedge Salads. Rolls and real butter. Juan Queso Chihuahua which is a bowl of cheesy mexican goodness. And the desserts! Giant cakes. Ice Cream balls.
14. Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans. Fried dough and a powdered sugar bath. What more could a girl want?
15. Ted's Cafe Escondido. The spicy atomic sauce with chunks of avocado. Homemade tortillas. Cheese Enchiladas with no onions and sour cream sauce. I eat here at least twice a month. At one point the relationship was so serious that we had a picture of one of the waitresses hanging on our fridge. Of course she had given us her engagement picture, we were helping to finance the wedding with our tips.
16. Ingrid's German Restaurant. I don't know what your heaven looks like, but mine includes a never ending supply of their thumbprint cookies.
17. Getting to spend the night at my grandparents. Getting to stop at 7-11 on the way and get an Icee drink and a giant Butterfinger.
18. Getting to eat fish tacos and portobello mushroom tacos at Rubio's. Another thing I always look forward to when we go to Cali or Arizona.
19. Thanksgiving 2009 when I prepared the Williams Sonoma meal.
20. I would never say no to a chocolate cupcake with the white frosting and chocolate chips from Gigi's.
21. The good ol' days when I could eat Hardee's Biscuits and Gravy with Hash Rounds. Now I know you can't eat a breakfast that contains more fat than I should eat in a month.
22. My Great Aunt Hazel's pea salad with chunks of cheddar cheese. Of course I don't have the recipe.
23. The oatmeal cookies I force my Mom to make for my b-day every year. I've been known to be a selfish hoarder with these, but I've been pretty generous this year. I've been one of those people who, what do you call it, oh yes - shares!
24. Discovering I could make my own fettucini alfredo. And sauteed mushrooms. And artichokes.
25. Starbucks coming to town. Before Starbucks, we got a Barnes & Noble and that was my first taste of the nectar of the goddesses, the Caramel Macchiato.
26. Some ethnic restaurant the Pastor and I ate at when we went to Brooklyn, New York. I couldn't tell you what ethnicity. I couldn't tell you what we ate. But it was good.
27. Eating at the Greek Festival every year. I usually get a dinner and a pastry sampler box. I try my best to split the pastries with mom, I eat half that night and the other half the next morning for breakfast.
28. The fish-n-chips, Parker House rolls and Boston Cream Pie at the Parker House Hotel, the place where John Kennedy proposed to Jackie, and where the Pastor and I had a delightful meal.
29. Getting to eat a cupcake, cannoli and sample goodies at the Cake Boss bakery.
30. Eating at the oldest bakery in Texas. Not that special.
31. The Horsey cookies at Clark's Pastry Shop. It's within walking distance. However, walking over there doesn't justify eating that many cookies.
32. My newest obsession. Yes, I get fixated on restaurants and I want to eat there over and over and over again. The Ghengis Grill. More Mongolian Bar-B-Q.
33. I love Thai food. Super spicy. Tofu. Potatoes. Some kind of curry sauce. Rice.
34. Thin crust pizza from Papa John's. Light sauce. Extra cheese, of course. Then all vegetables except onions. Add some of their garlic dipping sauce.
35. How could I not include Pei Wei? When Pei Wei opened in October, 2004, I had just lost my job and my boyfriend, the Pastor and I ate there every single day the first week they opened. It's usually Dan Dan Noodles with extra sauce and veggies on the side for the Pastor. Kids meal for me - Honey Seared Tofu and Brown Rice. Edamame. Lately we've thrown in some crab wontons. Always two fortune cookies, which determines everything about our future.
36. Every time I see Kentucky Fried Chicken I think about being pregnant with Nate and craving it. Nate's always loved chicken.
37. Everything about this list explains my 8 year relationship with Weight Watchers.
38. Fried Pickles from Sonic. Why did they take these off the menu? Of course they wouldn't be complete without a Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper.
39. The hand-cut french fries at VZD's. With a grilled cheese with their spicy mayo, tomatoes and pickles.
40. A new love. The Republic. A bag of yummy cake donut holes for dessert, with three different dipping sauces.

I could go on. I certainly didn't have any trouble thinking of 40 things for this one!

This list helps me to know deep in my heart I could never commit murder. Because if I did, there's no way I could ever narrow down a last meal before they executed me. See? My love of food makes the world a safer place.


40 for 40

It's a lot harder thinking of lists with 40 things than I thought it would be. I have several in the works, but here are -

40 random things about me
1. I am a good speller.
2. I am like a crazy old lady ripping recipes out of magazines. And cookbooks are like porn to me.
3. I like doing arty crafty things.
4. I drop my phone. All the time. That is, when I actually know where my phone is. I have to look for my phone at some point. Every. single. day. I wonder what I used to do with all that time before I had a cell phone.
5. I am quite flexible and good at yoga.
6. I never have wax in my ears.
7. To my knowledge I'm still free of gray hair.
8. I'm bored with being a vegetarian. I can't imagine eating meat again, so I am trying new foods to mix things up.
9. I was supposed to be named Cari Sue.
10. My college degree was Insurance. What did think I'd do with that?
11. I went to vo-tech and got a certificate in Office and Secretarial sciences. I learned to type on a typewriter.
12. I took a shorthand class. Every once in a while I'll remember some random symbol when I'm writing. Anyone remember shorthand? It's a primitive form of what you young people do when you text. LOL. ;)
13. I love vintagey, antiquey, garage sale junk.
14. I have been to Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming. That's 32 states.
15. I hate to exercise.
16. I've lived in ten residences in my life. Four of those have been in the past six years since I married the Pastor.
17. I like to smell my food.
18. I fall asleep incredibly fast. Like powering down a robot.
19. I had a Camaro, another Camaro, a Grand Am, a Ford Focus, a Ford Explorer, another Ford Focus before I married the Pastor. Since then I've had a Honda, a van, another Honda and another van. All I really want is a Volkswagen Bug.
20. The top played songs in my ITunes library include The Neon Trees, The Mamas & The Papas, Britney Spears, Paramore and Dolly Parton.
21. The Pastor and I were going to elope but we were told it would be frowned upon. I had a gorgeous coral dress I was going to wear.
22. I have bad vision. -8.5.
23. I have a complete set of Nancy Drew books. Thanks Dad!
24. I collect sit by the sink sponge holding frogs.
25. The Pastor claims I'm horrible at reverse driving. He's right.
26. Every Thursday is donut day and Nate and I have donuts. It's been a tradition for 7 years.
27. On this number I had something written about the Pastor and I. He wanted to keep it a secret.
28. If I won a million dollars I would still shop at Target and think it was fancy. I would probably pay someone to flat iron my hair everyday and match all the socks.
29. My blood type is B-. I try to donate but about half the time my iron is too low.
30. I don't wear a watch but I think I am going to start because I hate relying on the cell phone so much.
31. I am not a morning person. I'm not a night person either. Nate just told me I'm not very pleasant in the middle of the day either. (Happy Mother's Day!) (Happy Birthday!)
32. The last book I read was Bossy Pants by Tina Fey.
33. Whenever I pick up something like a stapler or salad tongs I have to click it twice. That's not even the weirdest OCD thing I do.
34. I hate clothes that button down the front.
35. I don't hold a pencil/pen the correct way.
36. I have been to the Greek Festival every year for the past 17 years. That's a lot of baklava.
37. I hate ceiling fans.
38. I'm allergic to cleaning supplies. Especially bleach. Which is all very sad, because I do like to clean.
39. I've never mowed a yard.
40. I've taken cooking classes for sauces, appetizers, truffles, tofu, and French Pastry.


40 for 40

There's this woman I know, I'll call her Mom. Mom claims I am going to be 40 this year, but she is quite old and probably senile. I'm sure she hasn't any idea what she's talking about.

I thought I'd play along though, just to pacify her. To celebrate my charmed life, I thought I'd start making some lists. Here's the first.

40 places I've been

1. Yellowstone National Park
2. Disneyland
3. Martin Luther King Jr.'s church
4. Graceland
5. St. Michael's Mount
6. 30 Rockefeller Center
7. The Coliseum
8. Salem Witch Museum
9. Coca Cola World
10. The Eiffel Tower, Las Vegas
11. Le Petit Palais
12. The Fantasy Factory
13. Plymouth Rock
14. Gerald Ford Presidential Museum
15. Carlos Bakery
16. Voodoo Donuts
17. Winchester Mansion
18. Tillamook Cheese Factory
19. Magnolia Bakery
20. Neuschwanstein Castle
21. Parker House Hotel
22. Medieval Times
23. Carhenge
24. Stonehenge
25. Hoover Dam
26. Tiffany & Co.
27. The Big Texan
28. Weight Watchers
29. Cafe Du Monde
30. the Heart of Northern Indiana Amish Country
31. Michael Jackson's house
32. Abbey Road
33. Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch (Trust me, Google it)
34. San Diego Zoo
35. The Red Light District
36. Mt. Baldy
37. Watonga Cheese Festival
38. the jungle
39. The Texas Motor Speedway
40. The Jordan River

All but five of the places were with the Pastor. He's even been to Weight Watchers with me! Probably because he's also been to the bakeries and donut shop with me.

Looking forward to new adventures -



"Every disappointment in life is the result of an unmet expectation,"

says the Pastor. That's how he counsels newlyweds.

I told him for my 30th birthday, I received 30 presents.

Now I have an expectation that on my 40th birthday, I will receive 40 presents. (It's not my fault, my mother clearly didn't think through the ramifications when she threw my 30th party.)

The Pastor told me his expectation is to spend $40. Wow, that's a lot of stuff from Goodwill, but I don't know if it's 40 stuffs. Based on my experience, that's about ten suitcases. At most, 26 pairs of underwear.

I wonder who's expectation will be unmet. The good news is we have a built-in counselor in this relationship. He may be biased, but at least he'll be handsome in his clerical collar when he counsels me on my disappointment.


wax on, wax off

Thanks to the Pastor for demonstrating to me, on our anniversary, the proper way to slide open and slide shut the closet doors.

How did I survive 39 years of closet door opening and shutting without him?


fair is fair

Pastor: Can I have blah blah run the vacuum in here?

Me: Yes.

Me: Just to clarify, you can have blah blah or anyone else you want clean anything in this house. You can have anyone you want vacuum, sweep, wash dishes, scrub a toilet. Anything. I don't care.


But then they all left. And I'm just sitting here. If they are not going to do it, I'm not going to do it either.


I guess the world will never know.

I just spent hours on a post.

Only to unexplicably lose it.



Sprechen Sie Deutsch?

Hot date with the Pastor tonight.

I'm all dressed up.

We're going to go see a film. Notice I said film and not movie.

It's in German. I don't speak German.

There will be subtitles. I like watching my movies with a minimum amount of effort.

We're not eating until after the movie.

Megamind. Black Swan. Those are movies I wanted to see. They don't have subtitles. They are in English. Still haven't seen them. Now have to rent them.

I just want to go see Arthur.


how can I?

How can I blog about the Pastor? How can I write about him when he only does things like bring me Venti coffee drinks, gets me flowers and is making me such a lovely Easter basket? OK, in all fairness, he doesn't necessarily know that he is making me an Easter basket. I'm helping him.

But he has been extremely well behaved. Well, with the one teeny exception of "helping" me by deleting the 500+ very important emails I was going to get to in my email in-box, he has been extremely well behaved.

That doesn't make good writing fodder.

And I did need to clean out my email.


Super Chocolatey Goodness. And Badness.

At the end of January, something terrible and wonderful happened.

I went to my favorite bookstore, Borders, and had a Super Chocolatey Mocha served with chocolate whipped cream and chocolate shavings. This set off a panic in me that no doubt some of you have experienced. The fear you feel when you see the words "for a limited time only."

This Mocha, the most delicious coffee drink to ever pass my lips, inspired a new trajectory in my life. Screw Starbucks! Now I would start my days off in the bookstore. I would enjoy the limited time only that me and Mocha could have, no matter how short lived our romance was meant to be.

But then the snow felt. For days on end, I was home bound, with my delicious Chocolatey Mocha feeling like a star-crossed lover. Then I was forced to travel even further away. I enjoyed my romantic Valentine's getaway with the Pastor in a secluded cabin in the woods, but Mocha, you were always on my mind. On the trip I learned Borders bookstores and the Seattles Best Coffee shops nestled inside them would be closing across the country. Say it isn't so! Not mine, please not mine.

The day I got home, I got in my car and made my way to Borders. The coffee shop, still open, looked like a ghost town. Megan, the Barista, dealt the last blow as I ordered my final dose of the nectar of the Gods. That day would be the last day the coffee shop was open.

I had ordered a decaf but somewhere around three that morning I wondered if Megan, perhaps feeling a little peeved that I had been grieving the loss of my ability to buy a $5 drink while she was losing her job, gave me regular shots.

The next day, I opened up my email and there was an email from Borders. A coupon for a free drink. Thanks Borders! Twist the knife. Twist it.

Love hurts. I hope someday the pain will subside. In the meantime, I'm here at Starbucks mourning my loss.

Thankful for: the two Super Chocolatey Mochas I got to experience.
Good about me: I have the courage to overcome these obstacles in my life.


dirty laundry

fresh out of the dryer

I go to fold his pants

even in the laundry

my panties found a way

to velcro to his crotch


pride goeth before destruction

I thought they were gorgeous.

Turquoise silk, trimmed with red lace. Matching bra.

And not to brag, but I've been on the Wii fit everyday and I have completed nearly two whole workouts in the Slim in 6 fitness program.

I thought I was looking pretty good.

So I pranced my fancy pants into the other room to show the Pastor.

"Those aren't my favorite" said the man who's not bought a new pair of underwear in six years.

Perhaps the Pastor should skip over to Chapter 17 of that Proverbs book. He who loves a quarrel loves sin.

Thankful for: a cupcake.
Good about me: I look pretty good for someone pushing 40 and eating cupcakes.


so glad he's home from his trip

to demonstrate the proper way I should be collapsing cardboard boxes before I put them in the trash

to show me how to properly hang up my razor

to tell me things he finds interesting at 3 a.m.

to remove the lid from my crockpot - the most heinous of all crimes in the kitchen

and my personal favorite - to interupt my workout three times to ask me where something in the fridge is, and when I say the bottom shelf he requires me to finally stop my workout completely and go into the kitchen where he has pulled everything out of a drawer and can't find the item located on the shelf

At least I'm not lonely.

Grateful for: good iron and being able to donate blood yesterday
Good about me: I like to try to cook new things


Who's the Boss?

When I think about the dream house I'd like to have someday, I'm not picky.

It doesn't have to be in a particular neighborhood or have a certain square footage. No marble floors necessary. Deep down inside I'm not a fancy person.

I just want a house that looks like nobody lives there.

When I look at a magazine, I don't salivate over the furniture or fixtures. I am envious of how perfect everything is. How there is no clutter or piles.

Is it too much to ask? Yes I realize that this would make me the creepy guy and not the Julia Roberts character in "Sleeping with the Enemy." It brings me such great feelings of joy to open up a cabinet and see like items grouped together and all the labels facing me like they are looking at me.

Sometimes I will just walk through my house and open up a cabinet or drawer just so I can admire it. Sometimes I will lay in bed sleepless, wondering if someone else emptied the dishwasher (ha!) and put the wrong utensils in the wrong drawers.

The Pastor came home from his trip and claimed to be distressed because all of his piles had been put away. He said "You are not the only person who lives here."

No, I may not be. But I'm the boss.

good thing about me: I'm really skilled at organizing.
thankful for: a date with the Pastor


if you can't take the heat stay out of the kitchen and if you make your bed you better lie in it

The Pastor will be home soon.

I'm glad he'll be back, but I'll miss the heat.

I'd rather have his warmth than a warm house.

Guess I'd better turn down the thermostat. And maybe open a door and let the cold air in so he'll think I've been thrifty? I have made some of my coffee and cooked some meals in his absence, so a little heat should be ok.

Guess I'd better make the bed too.

I hate hate hate making the bed. It's my least favorite chore. I even washed the sheets today, so I've really boxed myself into this whole making the bed thing.

Maybe he will appreciate the clean sheets more if I save the bed making to have him help?

Where's one of those kids around here when I need someone to assign a chore to?

I'm even writing this blog post to avoid making the bed.

And watching Jersey Shore. That's how much I hate making the bed.

My only incentive is that I get to crawl into it with the Pastor.

Ok, I'll do it.

Good thing about me: I washed the sheets and made the bed because I'm nice and it'll make my husband happy.
Thankful - in advance - for a good night's sleep.


Oh Yeaahh

I have been drinking the Weight Watchers kool-aid on and off for 7 years now.

I mixed up another pitcher today. It was either that or try to find a way to shut down all the Mexican restaurants. And Which Wich. Even though the new Points Plus plan seems complicated, and even though I once shut down a Burger King, I just didn't think I had that much power. Off to a meeting I went.

I exercise every day. I try to make healthy decisions when I'm not eating Mexican food and hot, customized sandwiches. I just wish the number on the scale (and my Kardashian-like physique minus the well-endowed chest) was smaller.

What can I say? Weight Watchers works for me. Strangely enough for reclusive me, it's going to the meetings. Of course if you've ever sent me an email, facebook message, text or looked at my paper calendar, you already know I'm horrible at electronic things and the on-line program would never work for me.

But I remembered today what doesn't work for me about Weight Watchers meetings. The same thing that irritates me everywhere.

Stupid people.

Obviously I am excluding myself as one of the stupid people at WW, you know, me who wisely keeps gaining and losing the same 15 pounds.

Weight Watchers is like the Internet. You know how maybe once a year some old relative finally sets up an email account and discovers the wonders of the chain email and must forward them to you? A great deal of time is spent at the meetings by people like that who have just discovered Equal or zero-calorie spray butter.

One of the questions the leader asked today was "I feel satisfied when I eat (insert food here)."

Good, new Weight Watchers were shouting out good answers like salad and chicken and Greek yogurt.

I kept my mouth shut, but all I could think about was Mexican food. C'mon people! Let's be honest. There's a reason we are here and it's not our issues with eating lettuce.

Maybe the meetings work well for me, because each week I go and I listen and sometimes it feels so torturous I think to myself if I would just stop eating tortilla chips I'd never have to come back to one of these things.

That's not likely to happen though. At least I know, worst case scenario, I can always change my last name to Kardashian and dye my hair dark.

The Pastor is on his way home from his Israeli adventure. Maybe seeing all those camels made him miss my humps and curves. I hope he likes an ample woman.

Good thing about me: Seven years later and I haven't given up. This bodes well for my relationship with the Pastor.
Grateful for: coats, gloves, scarves, heat, my tea kettle and anything warm!


the fate of the world is in the hands of one beautiful girl

I spent the day at the beach and did something my little girl self never got to do - I built a sandcastle for Barbie. Barbie's Mermaid Palace.

My Palace had a shell-lined walkway from the driveway where Barbie could park her Winnebago and purple Trans-Am. Yes, my internal Barbie is a 1970's Malibu version.

My Palace included a formal living room with a table, shell-back chairs and even a floral arrangement. There was a kitchen, a powder room, a heart-shaped pool, a hot tub, a master bedroom with plenty of closet space and a big round bed.

And let's not forget this was prime beach front property.

I stood back from my sand construction and was pleased. Then I realized that when I was building my palace I had done exactly as I wanted with absolutely no regard for Ken.

When did I start giving so much deference to Ken anyway? I suppose it was at some point in my emerging womanhood when the Barbies got packed away because some adolescent Ken didn't like girls who played with dolls and preferred someone who had the sophistication to read Nancy Drew books instead.

What options did Barbie have anyway? There was G.I. Joe. The Great American Hero! Joe was always off defending Barbie's right to have all the shoes, outfits and any career she wanted. Come to think of it, what was so great about Ken? Why was he working on his tan while Joe was fighting the enemy?

Maybe Joe was the occasional furlough visit, scratching an itch and fulfilling Barbie's patriotic duty. Bye, Joe. Go, Joe.

For a time there was some guy named Allen. Red hair and freckles. I just assumed he was Barbie's gay husband. Barbie needed someone around to appreciate all her looks and highlight her hair. That three story dream house - with elevator - wasn't going to decorate itself.

I thought maybe there was no hope for Barbie to have a fulfilling relationship. A plastic soul mate. How was I ever going to figure out my life if I couldn't make sense of Barbie's? I was about to write Ken off as just a piece of plastic. A girl's first significant formed plastic, non-vibrating.

But then I went to Target and there he was.

Sweet Talking Ken. He's on amazon.com if you want to take a look at him. He's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. And heard.

You push a button. You say whatever you want. Ken records it. You push a button. Ken says your words back to you - in his voice! You can make Ken say whatever you want. Now Barbie can have it all. The dream house. The cars. The clothes. The handsome man who says the right things and can be posed any which way.

Maybe there is a happily ever after - for Barbie and for me. As for the Mermaid Palace, the tide came in.

Good thing about me: I've gained and I've lost but I've never gained more than I lost. Bonus: I did good drinking water today.
I am thankful for: the Pastor coming home soon so I can snuggle up to his warm body in bed.


now just 13 more minutes!

I'm baking.

And simultaneously eating cheese.

And I cried today. At an item I looked at on ebay.

And the Pastor is conveniently out of the country.

And I have a massive headache and I weigh about forty kabillion pounds.

You don't have to be Angela Lansbury (and I'm making dated pop culture references) to solve this mystery.

the Williams Sonoma Butter Pecan muffins will be done in 16 minutes

one good thing about me: I'm a thoughtful person.
one thing I'm thankful for: stretchy pants

14 more minutes


Mad Gab

Fun games I like to play while the Pastor is away!

Jenga - see how long I can go without emptying the trash cans

Mouse Trap - see how long I can go without taking out the trash bags

Sorry - see if I can get away with not putting gas in the car

Light Bright - see how many lights I can have on at once

Candyland - see what I can come up with for dinner

Boggle - deal with all the stuff the Pastor normally deals with

Monopoly - don't blow the budget, and don't use the credit card

Twister - sleep on the whole bed, all to myself

Don't Spill the Beans - finally! I get to have the heat on!

As fun as these and others are, I miss him. I wish he'd come home.

good about me: I got out of bed and did the Wii even though I didn't want to
thankful for: a change in plans which gives me opportunity



No Pastor.

Arty Crafty tonight.

Peacocky eyes - in keeping with my resolution that I would not be avoiding the MAC counter. Some resolutions are easier to keep than others.

Too much Asian food. Chinese food? What is Pei Wei?

One hour on the Wii fit. Re-set the snowball throwing record. Ha!

Can't wait for the Pastor to come home so I can sleep again.

Smacked myself in the chest with the Shake Weight. Why oh why in the area where I have the least padding? But on a high note, just a few days using the thing and I've already busted out a shirt sleeve seam. Coincidence? I think not!

Good thing about me: frequent bouts of healthiness
Thankful for: times when there can be peace and quiet


Robyn's Spa - open for business

While the Pastor is in Israel no doubt enjoying a Dead Sea Mud Bath he paid thousands of dollars for (actually he took a group of students on a Holy Land trip), I am at home roughing it.

In keeping with my resolutions, tonight I opened my Thursday night spa. Due to popular demand, it opened a day early. Actually, it was because I was home alone tonight and won't be tomorrow night.

At no additional out of pocket cost to the Pastor, I enjoyed the following services:
-Full body scrub
-Deep conditioning hair masque
-grape-scented paraffin wax dip
-blow out

And there was chocolate.

Now I feel very relaxed and pampered as I blog in my comfy spa socks Santa Mom gave me.

If there was ever a day to open the spa, today was it. After dealing with technological difficulties, Discover Card, missing checks and the Post Office, I needed some relaxation. Turns out credit cards and checks were missing because the Post Office decided to stockpile our mail instead of delivering it. Thanks! The good news is that Nate was glad to find out people actually cared and had not forgotten his December 20 birthday. Oh, and thanks to everyone for the Christmas cards you sent us a month ago.

Nate came home and said I smelled amazing. Said I smelled too good for a Mom.

Even though he can't smell me, I hope the Pastor appreciates my thriftiness. I bet he thinks cheap equals pretty.

Good about me today: I do smell nice!
I am thankful for: That guy who works hard and pays for my beauty indulgences.


uh oh

I don't think that was decaf.


the good the bad and the not ugly

I wish I could tell you what a great day I had and how wonderful I did on my resolutions. But it's been too many days of running the dishwasher nonstop, cooking, waiting for the washer to kick off so I can put clothes in the dryer so I can go to bed, spilling things, dropping things, misplacing things and sleep deprivation.

The Pastor left today, and Nate and I had to face dollar taco night alone. The clerk said I couldn't be his Mom and then a guy tried to slip me his phone number. The Pastor messaged me that it's good to have options, but I says my options are up. Besides, who would ever want to change their facebook status? It's all just too complicated.

I have sat down three times to write this post only to have to scurry up each time. The last reason was that I had to check in on the Wii fit. I hack forgotten to do so earlier. It said I was 28 years old which is fantastic because we all know how dead accurate that thing is, except for when it tells me I am 54.

I did exercise. I did walk at the park. I did try to figure out my iPad so I could write on it. I guess I looked halfway decent. :) I did manage some email cleaning out and some fruits and vegetables. I am thankful and hopeful tomorrow will be a better day, one without such a late start to productivity. I am grateful that just because I had an off day I will try harder.

Now I am going to try harder to sleep.


11 for 2011

I have the New Year's Resolution list of a crazy person.

That's ok. I'm fine with that. Possibly because I may in fact be a crazy person.

1. Think of one thing every day that I'm thankful for, and one thing that's good about me. Here's day one: I am thankful for my flat-top stove. I made a sheet cake with frosting poured over the top of it; it sure was handy to clean up the mess. One thing I like about myself is that I have nice fingernails. I take good care of them and I'm a decent manicurist. And since I started this post yesterday and didn't finish it until today, here's day two. I'm thankful my Mom still buys me Christmas presents. One thing I like about me is that I am generous.

2. In thinking about my resolutions it made me think about the me I used to be. The me I used to be wasn't a person who went to Starbucks every day and got mani pedis. The me I used to be pulled out all of her mani pedi supplies every Thursday night and would have a spa night while watching Friends. What happened to that poor college student? I'm reinstituting Thursday night spa nights and hopefully a little bit of the me I used to be. She was a smart girl.

3. And that leads us to all the stuff I'm not going to spend money on. No more new nail polish or lotions or potions or hair products or underwear until I use up everything I have. Starting tomorrow. Because after I started this post but before I finished it, I may have gone to the semi-annual clearance sale at Victoria's Secret. At least one meal planned per week that's based entirely on things we already have in the pantry, without having to go to the store. We have too many groceries while others go without.

Notice I'm not starting out resolving to not go to Loft or the MAC Counter. I'm not that crazy-ready-to-fail yet. Maybe later. Baby steps. : )

4. Do Yoga at least weekly. Continue exercising. I made a goal in December to check in on the Wii fit everyday I was home. With the exception of 3 days, I did. That's pretty good!

5. Read everyday. Write everyday.

6. Find a place to volunteer. My last volunteer gig has fizzled out. It's time to find something new.

7. Kiss the Pastor for an extended period of time every single day. This will be the easiest resolution to keep.

8. Make sure I'm eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables every day before putting other junk into my body. Drink my water! Lately I've been doing a poor job of drinking enough water each day.

9. Work on one creative/artistic project every week.

10. Organize something every day. Spend at least eleven minutes daily organizing. Clean out eleven emails daily.

11. Wear different makeup, shoes, jewelry, perfume and carry a different purse every single day. No ruts. Look pretty every day.

I also wanted to resolve to stop cursing, but that wouldn't be 11 things. To say that I curse like a sailor, now that we don't ask and don't tell, could be an insult to some sailors who are more ladylike than me.

That's it. I guess it's not too ambitious. It's not like I'm trying to give up Mexican food.

Wishing all a happy 2011. The year I turn 40.

I wish I could resolve to not do that.

the spell checker on my new I-Pad keeps changing pedis to penis.