Friday, December 29, 2006

Here We Go Again

It seems like only yesterday that I was sitting in my mother's basement writing about the death of my step-father and, now, I am sitting in that same basement writing about my mother. We were in Pittsburgh for Christmas, celebrating with Luisa's family. At 1 a.m. on 12/27/06, my cell phone rang and I learned that my mother had been taken by ambulance to the hospital. She had congestive heart failure. They put her on a vent and I flew here yesterday to make decisions for her. She has improved some but there are so many unanswered questions and complicated emotions.

Tonight, I miss Minneapolis. I miss the comfort of home. I miss my partner and my children. And, more than anything, I am tired. My sister is tired. My mother is tired. I had so hoped for better times in the coming year but, now, I find myself only yearning for peace for my family.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Mama Needs a New Pair of Shoes

I am at work but have nothing to do. I am just biding my time until I can leave. I should be planning for our departure tomorrow but that seems a bit too overwhelming. So, instead, I am shoe shopping online. I find myself yearning for a simpler time, a time when I could buy whatever shoes I wanted without worrying about the cost or the practicality. In that simpler time, I would run out right now and buy these:

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Alas, I think that I will have to settle for something else. I need to replace the black shoes that have holes in the bottoms, the black shoes that allowed the snowy slush in and froze my feet yesterday. I can't justify buying the beautiful boots and a pair of black shoes. That would just be craziness!

We are off to Pittsburgh tomorrow night and won't return until next Thursday night. I doubt I'll be blogging until we get back, so, Happy Holidays to all and don't drink too much eggnog!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Citizens of the Village - Beware

We are heading to Pittsburgh to spend Christmas with our in-laws. My in-laws love Christmas and enthusiastically decorate inside and out. The outside of the house is covered in lights and the yard is filled with glowing carolers, angels and candles. They cut their own enormous tree and are terribly disappointed if it doesn't touch the peak of the vaulted ceiling in their living room. Every table and shelf is adorned with a Christmas decoration of some sort. There are candles and about a thousand tiny street scenes like the one below:

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As I write this, those innocent villagers are happily strolling past lovely shops and ice skating with joyous smiles, unaware of that which awaits them. Run happy villagers! Run back to your snow capped Victorian mansions! Run for your lives because you are about to incur the wrath of a 21 month old. That's right...she is coming and she is coming for you!

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And when she is finished with you gentle villagers, as you lie battered and broken among the ruins of your quaint town, what will she be doing? Well, she'll be laughing and having a snack...

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Monday, December 18, 2006

The Elusive Finkemeier Cookie

A long, long time ago, there was a bakery in Kansas City, Kansas called the Finkemeier Bakery. It was just down the street from my father's house and I remember him taking me there on Saturday mornings for fresh donut holes. More than anything, however, I remember their Christmas cookies. These cookies were shaped like wreaths and were so delicate that they would crumble in your hand as you brought them to your mouth. They were only slightly sweet and very buttery. Those little cookies with the multicolored sprinkles are Christmas to me.

In 1997, Luisa and I were going back to Kansas City for Christmas. My sister bought two dozen of these special cookies so that we could all enjoy them when we arrived. We got to her house late at night and I bolted up the stairs and into her kitchen, anxious for my first Finkemeier cookie in a long time. We exchanged greetings and hugs and then I noticed the large box sitting on the counter. I tore the lid open to find only crumbs. While my sister waited for us to arrive, she ate every single one of those cookies. Her excuse? She said she just couldn't help herself -they were SO good. The bakery closed in 1999 and I never had another chance at those cookies.

In the years since, I have searched for a similar cookie. One year, I drove to nearly every bakery in Minneapolis (and two suburban bakeries) searching for a cookie that could pass as a substitute. I tasted many cookies but left each bakery shaking my head. I have tried every recipe for butter cookies that I have come across, each time hoping that I have finally found a way to replicate the cookie of my youth. Each recipe has been a failure. I guess this is the part where I should make some sort of insightful reference to the past and the elusive nature of memory blah blah blah. I won't. My cookie is out there...somewhere. I just have to find it.

If you have a butter cookie recipe that is piped, please share it. It could be the one.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Welcome to My Meltdown

Before I had kids, I had brown hair and good teeth. I had smaller boobs and less flab. I worked out at the gym and did sit-ups at home. I didn’t sweat then either because, well, sweat was for the hurried. Before I had kids, I could spend hours preparing meals, quietly sipping a glass of wine with a subtle smile on my lips. I could sit down for dinner and have a conversation uninterrupted by pleas for candy. Before I had kids, I slept through the night and slept in when I felt I needed just a little bit more rest. I faced the day with energy and zeal, a twinkle in my clear blue eyes. Before I had kids, I wore expensive shoes and replaced them as needed. I had clothes that I liked, clothes that were in good repair. Before I had kids, I had vacation and sick time. I could take a few days off to get out of town or take a day off just to relax at home. I earned frequent flyer miles by traveling rather than paying co-pays at the pediatrician’s office. Before I had kids, my house was immaculate and everything was in its proper place. I cleaned and organized. I repainted and redecorated rooms on a whim. I was the Martha Stewart of lesbians, orderly, tidy and capable of whipping up a stunning cake for a last minute party. Before I had kids, I had time and lots of it.

I know you are expecting some sort of Reader’s Digest conclusion to this. You are expecting an adorable picture and a precious anecdote about how, in my most exhausted hour, I nestled into bed with my children and they told me they loved me and, then, my heart exploded into a rainbow of hearts and light. You are not getting that ending today. No, today, there is fatigue and fever and whining. Today, the leprecaun took his effin' rainbow and went home.

If you see a white-haired woman with a chipped tooth hobbling down the street with frayed pants and a hole in the bottom of her shoe, don’t look away in horror at her frazzled appearance. Smile at her and tell her that she looks tired and weary. Tell her that it is hard work being a mom and, then, offer to buy her a cup of coffee.

Believe me, I need it.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Gingerbread House

Will Miguel remember that I took the time to make a gingerbread house with him or will he remember that we argued at length over how the frosting should be applied to the roof?

Miguel decorating the roof

Will he remember that I encouraged his wild idea for a gingerbread house bowling alley or will he remember that I shot down his idea to have Santa and his sleigh hanging off of the roof?

Miguel and the Sour Santa bowling pins

Will he remember that I let him stay up two hours past his bedtime to perfect his gingerbread creation or will he remember that I was impatient at times?

Beware the bowling snowman

And what will I remember about this year's gingerbread project? The bowling alley...and the creative genius behind it.

Miguel and the finished gingerbread house

Behold, the sugary goodness of the Sour Santas

Friday, December 08, 2006

The Mary Cheney Post

Lesbian mothers and our families are more visible than ever. We’ve shown up in books, TV shows, movies - even People Magazine. Like it or not, this country is coming to terms with lesbians and lesbian moms. Pregnant, lesbian Republicans, though? Well, this country is just not quite ready for that. That freaks people out.

There is no Sapphic Sorority and there is no Annual Lesbian Conference during which we, the nation’s lesbians, snack on tofu and align our political beliefs. Lesbians are as diverse as any other group and, as shocking as it may seem, lesbians can be Republicans. Personally, I don’t understand how a lesbian could align herself with a party that has targeted the GLBT community with hateful legislation and rhetoric but there are a lot of things I don’t understand. Lesbian Republicans, Quantum Physics, and rhinestone studded jeans – these things boggle the mind. Still, I accept the existence of all three.

Liberals call Mary a hypocrite and want her to mend her ways and fight for gay marriage. Evangelicals want her to repent or burn in hell. Mary Cheney is a hypocrite. Yeah? So are a lot of other people. Life is complicated and messy and people don’t always fit into the neat little boxes we want them to. The mocking and damning will do nothing to change her political views. Maybe her views will change after the baby is born. Maybe her views will change if the legal system and her privilege fail her. Maybe her views won’t change at all. Does it really matter? She and her partner are having a baby. Be happy for them and, more than anything, be happy that Dick Cheney is not your father-in-law.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Finished Products

I have several dried oranges on my desk (a tale for another day) and I considered using one of those for a container in which to place a little treat. I figured that I would cut one in half, pull out any remaining orange innards and would have a little bowl to show for it.

I borrowed a steak knife from a co-worker (Thanks, Cathy) and cut one of the oranges in half. The orange guts were dry, crisp and crumbly. There did not appear to be a good way to scoop them out and have a smooth interior so I abandoned this idea.

Then, a couple of co-workers suggested that I photocopy my face to be used in the project. Despite fear of blindness, I did the following:

After enduring the laughter of all of my colleagues, I decided that a freaky photocopy of Mom's face was not a good stocking stuffer.

I then turned my attention to the boxes that I had available. I used a first aid box and an Altoids box to create the two finished products. I used the stickers that I had, glue borrowed from the Office Specialist and Microsoft Clip Art. The Altoids Treasure Box is filled with keys from my co-worker's broken keyboard (Thank you Sarah!). The First Aid Kit Treasure Box is filled with a premium hot chocolate packet from another co-worker (Thank you Colleen!). Here are the finished products:

The Altoids Box

The First Aid Kit Box

Now, I need to get to work, my real work - I leave here in an hour!

MacGyver Mom

Last week, Miguel made something for me and put it in my stocking. He asked me to do the same but, yesterday, I forgot. I have to make it today.

I am at work and have the following items in my desk:
  1. plastic diskette box
  2. Altoids tins (4)
  3. tampons
  4. post-it notes
  5. funky bubble stickers
  6. red felt tip marker
  7. paper clips and binders

I have a couple of ideas but I am taking suggestions...

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Eggnog: The Silent Killer

I love the idea of eggnog kind of like my mother loves the idea of having grandchildren. You think it will be fabulous and fill you with warmhearted feelings but then you end up fat and sick. My mother hasn't actually gotten fat from her grandchildren but I do think that she secretly gets sick of them.

Eggnog makes me feel festive. It makes me want to don a cable knit fisherman's sweater and a red plaid scarf and sing a few carols with friends as we all smile at each other, our eyes twinkling with glee. It makes me crave candlelight and wreaths and maybe some holly. Eggnog makes me imagine that my family could be perfect and beautiful and have a Christmas that is worthy of a photo spread in some glossy magazine...kind of like the Kennedys, only sober and happy.

The problem with eggnog is that you have to drink it. That's when the dream dies for me because drinking it is like drinking cold, flavored raw eggs. Why? Oh yes, because that is was eggnog is. If the taste and consistency doesn't get you, food borne pathogens will! Yet, every year, I buy eggnog. Every year, I drink a cup. Every year, I stand quietly and listen while my stomach sings a Christmas dirge.

Today, I had an eggnog latte from Starbucks. I must be the world's greatest optimist. In case you were wondering, it tasted like eggnog. I'll go remove my red plaid scarf now...

Friday, December 01, 2006

16 MPG

Yesterday, I drove home behind a Jeep Commander Limited and inhaled shocking amounts of exhaust for about two miles. Then, I noticed their license plate and came to the following conclusion:

People who drive these...

shouldn't have these...

Click on the license plate for more information about conservation.