Random Drivel

My blender died. It made many a batch of whole-wheat blender pancakes, and survived from before I was married. That’s a pretty fair lifespan. Even when it was time to go, the poor thing tried to hold on, and I had to pry the glass from the motor, where it had tried to grind itself so hard, it had worn down it’s little metal parts and they had practically fused. That’s a hard working blender. A moment of silence, please…

Tomorrow is Beanie’s 5th birthday. He wants to do the whole day backwards, so he can open his presents first, and he wants to grind wheat. Yes, you read that right- grind wheat. The boy loooooves to get the grinder out and feed the wheat kernels into the stone wheels. Happy birthday! Here’s a bag of wheat!! hooray!

Bean is gradually slipping back to his comfortable, pretty pants ways. I know Mo is relieved, since Thing 2 was absorbing the extra girl energy and yearning for some pretty-ness. Bean’s still trying to dress in boy clothes, but I see him eyeing the pretty-ness, and this morning I caught him in a pair of Abby’s pants. I told him he was fine, and he paired the pants with a blue shirt so they became a “boy” outfit. This is all his doing. I’m just hanging back letting him figure it out.

Next time you’re in the store, and they have a big end-cap display of limited edition Pringles, and the Mozzarella Marinara looks interesting to you- run. Run far, far away. Do yourself this kindness. It’s my gift to you.

I’ve finished the energy-color program my friend is getting certified for- we started with a two-day seminar, then we went shopping withour color and energy cards, then she came over to my house and went through my closet. It was intense, and I have no idea if I look better or not. Seems I’m supposed to wear gold, and not so much with the silver I historically prefer. I keep hearing Carrie say Ghetto gold is fine, but for real jewelry? Puh-lease. I’m supposed to wear more pink, and brighter colors. Sigh…

OJ Simpson is on trial again? What the frick did he do now? Criminy. Just put the guy in jail already.

I finished the wedding invitations. They came out pretty. (I need to paint. For those of you waiting, I promise, soon. Bean should finish testing with the District by next week, and once his school starts, I’ll finally have time.) I’m also making the flower-girl dresses for this wedding- not sure how that one happened, but I’m sewing on dupioni silk, and am more than a little nervous. I need a serger..!

I totally cheated for Beanie’s cake tomorrow and bought the frosting in the plastic tub. I never do that! Anyone ever use it before?

Here is my mothering tip for the day: Never, ever let your daughter get hold of your MAC long-wearing lipstick. Abby found my tube of $20 goodness yesterday while I was in the bathroom, and she colored all over her legs, belly and has a few perfect circles from the tube on her cheeks. It set before I caught her, and I have tried cold cream, astringent, eye make-up remover, baby wipes and vitamin E oil. It’s still bright pink, sparkly and pretty. No way am I driving downtown to MAC to buy remover- we just get to live with the painted chick. So if you want good lipstick that lasts, that’s your brand- just beware.

Lazy Bees and Other Nonsense

The orchards were calling my name this morning, and their voice was so melodious, I ignored everything else and answered the call. I’ve only got my darling Heather here for three days, and I justified spending three hours picking the bounty of God’s green earth to be an acceptable compromise.

It was a lovely, saturated, satisfying, sustaining, delicious and wholesome day. After a late breakfast of leftover french toast, cheesy eggs, cinnamon apples and orange juice, Heather and I packed the boys in the car and headed out to the farms.

I was hoping for apples and pumpkins, but with the late spring and mild summer we’ve had, many things are weeks behind schedule. We found a farm we liked, put on the sun hat, grabbed a hand-cart and headed out towards the trees. No apples yet at this farm. Turns out we were just in time for the tail-end of the peaches. Lovely, succulent, sun-warmed, juicy and fuzzy peaches. Beanie ate two of them right there in the orchard, dripping sticky juice all over himself and not even caring. If this keeps up, I’m not going to recognize my boy soon. Boy clothes AND new foods. Mamas head is spinning.

We also found some green tomatoes screaming to be fried up with cornmeal in Sipsey’s old cast iron skillet. I had to get them.

The cucumber patch was next, and though the plants were covered in tiny gherkins and tons of blossoms, there were only enough ripe ones to put up one small batch of Bread and Butter pickles. Mmmmm. I’m sending them home with Heather for Crazy Chicken Annie- she loves them, and the recipe is from my great-great grandmother in Iowa. I don’t really like B&B pickles, but I make them every summer, just since the tradition of doing it feels like a warm, crisp apron from the line in the backyard.

Some peppers, onions and garlic made it’s way into our wagon, as well as some spectacularly fuchsia dirt-laden beets. Jeffrey won’t eat them, but he sure did have fun digging them up with me. I vow this year to find a recipe for beets I like- each year I’m enchanted with how lovely they are, then I cook them and remember they taste like dirt.

We tip-toed past the beehives, buzzing with activity in the warm afternoon, and discussed whether bees are in fact, busy. The consensus was Yes, and wasps are just mean. The bees were on our way to the enormous rows of blackberry brambles…

At first, I was thinking we would just get a few, maybe enough to make a pie or some jam- but they were so fantastically fat and squishy and juicy and heavenly, we quickly filled a basket with more than ten pounds of berries. And we never even made it all the way down ONE row. That’s how many berries there were… Beanie ate as many as he put in the baskets, the purple juice mingling with the peach on his chin and shirt. He and Jeff also made friends with other berry-seekers among the brambles. My children are not shy.

Our baskets were overflowing, and the cart was getting heavy. Jeff and Bean labored under the hot sun to pull the wagon back to the cider house. Gimpy Heather and Lazy Mama sipped mint juleps in the shade… no? Oh, I keep wandering off. Ok, so we paid for our bounty, nabbed some local honey from those lazy, no good bees, and hopped back in the car to look for pumpkins and apples.

No pumpkins, and we had to search out the apples, finally finding an organic farm with some fantastic honey crisp lovelies Heather is smuggling under her shirt back to California tomorrow. No one will notice, I’m sure.

I picked up another honey made by those lazy bees, and some apples too. We had just about had our fill of nature and honey and outdoor-ness, so we headed home.

Tonight, after I made the pickles, Heather watched a movie with the Monkeys while I made the best double-crust peach pie you will ever, ever not see, and a blackberry tart with french pastry cream filling, drizzled with red currant glaze. All. From. Scratch. Yes. I rock.

I still have nine and a half pounds of blackberries I need to make into jam- but I was out of jars and lids. I told you I’m lazy. Martha Stewart would have blown the canning jars herself from the silica she keeps in a pretty, labelled basket for just such an emergency. But me? Nope. I folded. I blinked. I chickened out, and there the blackberries sit, taunting me in my mediocrity.

Getting the boys in bed was a teary affair. They’ve decided Auntie Heather hangs the moon, and they were both teary messes with the thought of her leaving in the morning. It was good to be distracted, then I could just pretend the wetness on my cheeks was transfer from the bawling boys. It’s been a good weekend…

Apple Pickin’ Time

Oh yeah. Guess what we’re doing today… Cousin Heather is here, and the boys are completely monopolizing her love and attention, and it completely delights me. This morning, after a super-fantastic breakfast of Cinnamon Cream Cheese Stuffed French Tourist Toast with Praline Topping (yes, you can have the recipe) the Mo Mommys and Flat Daddy are joining us to head up to the orchards and pick us some fresh, crisp, fall apples. I’m guessing Apple Dutch Babies are on the menu for tomorrow’s breakfast.

The missionaries are coming for dinner tonight, so Heather gets to experience the delight and utter unpredictability that is two nineteen year old boys away from home for two years. Jeffrey also has his first soccer game of the season today. Also, a friend of mine is closing her huge scrapbook store, and she’s selling all her papers for 10 cents each, all stickers for 50 cents, and all eyelets and decorative crap for 50 cents. Bet you wish you were here now too! I plan on spending some money I don’t have. Sometimes a girl just has to be irresponsible.

Milestone: Beanie

A few days ago, while cleaning out the boys’ closet, I was folding Beanie’s pile of colorful pants. Bean was sitting next to me, fidgeting with a Lego thingy when he noticed the pile of bright pants. He stopped, looked at them, and said “Mom, I think I’m going to give all my pretty pants to Abby. I’m going to wear boy clothes now.”

Peering intently at him, trying to hide my surprise, I calmly said “Oh- well, OK then.” I thought for a second, then asked “What’re boy clothes, Beanie?

“Plain stuff, bugs and snakes. A red shirt is a boy shirt, Mom.”

We gathered up his pile of pretty pants and carried them into Abby’s room, and he skipped off happily, in navy blue sweats and a plain red t-shirt.  Since then, he’s not even mentioned his flamboyant wardrobe. He’s wore khaki pants and boy shoes to church Sunday, and seemed perfectly happy to do so. And that, my friends, was that.

Mama is clearly having a harder time adjusting than Bean. We all worked hard to be open and not impose our prejudices- and he left his disco era by the wayside when he was good and ready. I’m proud of my boy, love him, no matter how he expresses himself, but I tell you what- it sure is harder to find him at the park now!

Bionic Woman Coming To Visit

Remember when my cousin heather, the one who rode her bike 1000 miles to raise money for AIDS research, got hit by a French touriste on her way to the airport to see me? Remember her? She just called and will be here Thursday night. By the way, that’s what your elbow looks like with eight screws and a bunch of metal after la touriste plows into you. The staples are out, but the rest of the hardware remains. Airport security should be a blast.

I’m really looking forward to seeing her- her mama is Crazy Chicken Annie– remember her? I swear, I do not make these stories up. My life is full of the most interesting people. Really.

All’s quiet on the homefront. DH had interview this morning, so if anyone has a few extra prayers, moon-dances, chants or fatted calves to sacrifice, it would be much appreciated. Just kidding about the cows- but dancing under a bright moon always makes me  happy. Except for you, Heather! No dancing, no biking and no jogging on public streets, at least until you are up here!

The county fair is going on, as well as tons of fall goodness at the u-pick farms I love so much. Jeffrey has a soccer game, and other than that, I figure we’ll just hang out and bask in each others presence. Sigh. Sounds like a delightful weekend.

Now- off to clean my pit house like a mad-woman.

Hey, Things Suck! Let’s Distract Ourselves!

OK, enough of my raw, open pain at the top of my leader board. I’m going through a neighborhood of hell, and you all get it- I can probably take the neon sign down- or at least move it to the back of the store. Thank you all for your supportive and kind words. It means a lot to me, and even though I don’t know very many of you, I appreciate the prayers and hands extended in love and friendship. It does help. Believe me, it does.

A few shiny odds and ends to catch my flitty imagination:

A dear friend of mine is getting married for the first time. In her late forties, she never thought this would happen- and we are all thrilled. She has asked me to hand calligraphy her wedding invitations, to which I have delightedly agreed. It’s been a long time since I calligraphied anything, but I have a box of quills and nibs around here somewhere, and India ink is always wonderful. I’m only doing the master, then she’s having them printed. I’m not crazy. Ok, well, I am, but I’m not hand-lettering 400 invitations. Yes, when you get married later in life, I think you either elope, or you invite everyone you know.

Jeffrey started 2nd grade yesterday. How did that happen? I dunno. But he’s so big now. But he still kissed me goodbye in front of his whole class. I wondered if he would- he was busily chatting away with a long-missed buddy, and when I waved, he excused himself from his conversation with an upheld index finger, and weaved his way across the classroom to hug and kiss him mama. Sigh. I love that boy.

We are still working on getting Beanie’s IEP taken care of- the district offices were a hen-house of activity yesterday, so on Monday I think I’ll start calling and shaking the cage. I may have to put on my fox mask and scare the chickens into listening to me. I can do that.

A woman in our ward is getting certified to do this color thing where you learn your energy type. Then you dress that way. I don’t really understand it, but I think I look better. And right now, I’ll take anything I can get. She needed some volunteers as part of her final before certification, and she picked me because she needed an example from every type of person- anyway, yay for me! Free, and I look better.

The leaves in the backyard have stopped falling. Don’t know what that’s about. But it seems fall, while the light is fantastic, is temporarily on hold in my backyard. The leaves are juuuuust beginning to lighten around the edges and show a hint of yellow. I love fall.

A local restaurant has asked me to design a new menu for them. It’s been a long time since I did any menu work, but it’s easy and quick and they’re paying me.  Or I can take it out in food. Hmmm. What to do, what to do….

A couple of family members are tossing around the idea of heading up here this fall. The idea makes me really happy, and all I can say is, GET ON IT! Was that not subtle?

Crayola now makes window markers. Do yourself a favor and go pick up a pack, sit on the floor in your dining room, and cover the windows in drawings with your kids. They wash off with water, and the fun is fantastic. At night, they show up even better. Cheap, easy and fun. Just like me. Oh, no? All right.

Are you there, God? It’s me, Tracy…

It had to stop sometime, right? Because really, my heart is shredded and I’m having trouble picking the shrapnel from the hamburger left behind in my chest. Please let this be bottom. Please. I can’t breathe… 

Does God even hear me anymore? I know he must. I wish I could share my hell with you; the agency of others is hell on earth. I know you love me, and I know you are praying for me. I need it. Please.

I’m Three

August 22 was my three year blog-birthday. Whoo. I was so excited that I totally forgot. Never even crossed my mind.- cause, hey, I have nothing else to think about except meaningless personal statistics, right? Don’t get me wrong- I like it when I see a spike in my traffic as much as the next blogger, but I just don’t check all that often. Blog traffic statistics are kinda like a new baby’s poopy diaper- only interesting to the mama.

Words. Words are why I write. Is that why others write? I have no idea. But the synergy and poetry that sparks when words are properly combined, creating something more than the sum of the parts- it’s as beautiful as a newborn baby. It doesn’t escape me how clumsy that sentence is, or the irony of  being ham-fisted in the handling of the butterfly that is writing. Oh well. Today, that’s all I’ve got.

Virginia Woolf said “A woman must have money and a room of her own to write…” Maybe that’s why she wrote novels and fiction for the ages, and I bang out… whatever it is I bang out. I have neither.

As I write, Beanie is climbing the bookcase to my left, complaining Jeff is eating all the remaining English muffins. Abby is giggling and chasing a balloon with a hole that is haphazardly bouncing around the dining room, and Jeff is watching the toaster. I’ve stopped to change a diaper, wipe a nose, blow up the balloon three times, calm Bean down and reassure him one muffin is earmarked for him and he CAN have it crunchy even if Jeff likes his floppy, admired a new Lego spaceship, and given two hugs. Jeffrey is now on a time-out for trying to hog all the muffins.

Virginia Woolf didn’t have children, did she?