Wish I was there . .
My passport is ready and I can be packed in minutes.

28 September 2008


In the rush to prepare and pack I forgot to post my Daring Baker project for September. I completed this month's project at the beginning of the month and have made it again, but forgot to post. Sorry D.B!

So this month's challenge for Daring Baker - Lavash Crackers & Toppings by Shelly Fish at http://shellyfish.wordpress.com/

I have to say that when I read the recipe I was a bit disappointed because I wanted an excuse to eat some sugar ladden dessert, and here is a recipe for Vegan Crackers and a choice of Vegan Dips. However, I was ever so WRONG! These crackers are tasty and hold a variety of dips well.

The first time I made them for an easy Friday dinner with homemade salsa, a Tuscan bean dip, and a non-vegan artichoke dip for hubby and the kids. I did top the crackers but forgot to roll the toppings in to the dough so most of the toppings fell off. Even so, this was a hit for dinner. They kids and hubby love the salsa and the artichoke dip; the Tuscan bean dip was a little too much for them but I liked it and actually used the left overs as a base with carrots, onions and celery in a chicken and veggie phyllo dough recipe which everyone loved (I just forgot to tell them they were eating the same bean dip they turned their nose up at only a day before heeheehee). The left over crackers the kids ate plain.

For the recipe for the crackers, click over the Shelly Fish above. This is a very doable recipe, just roll out the dough very thin and don't forget to roll over the dough once the toppings are sprinkled on. The Tuscan bean dip I found on the internet, just click above and it will take you over to it. The salsa and artichoke dip are recipes that I have found in different forms and I have just added and played with them until they fit my family's taste buds. I don't have exact measurements, but if you really want the recipe leave a comment and I'll send you my best estimate.

I can say that I will use this recipe again - most likely for Thanksgiving to set out with my MIL's cheese ball. Thanks to those DB for another great recipe!

Lavash cracker with salsa.

Tuscan Bean Dip.

26 September 2008

Too Good to Be True

Air One Airline has cancelled the flight home from Milan and just called TODAY about it. I am currently on hold with the airline who can't understand why I will not agree to a flight through Chicago and arrive in Boston at 8:30 PM, when I have connection back to Florida at 5:00 PM. One person hung up on me when I asked to speak with her supervisor and another has given me a wrong number. Thankfully Google language translation has given me some basic phrases so I have been able to reach an English speaking operator. Please let there be an earlier flight available . . . Insert some hysterical breathing and cuss words.


23 September 2008

Nothing New Here

  • It is still over 90°F/32°C here. The backyard is slowly burning up and my herbs are a bit crisp around the edges.
  • Speaking of the herbs, my rosemary is still being eaten by some unknown animal that devours all but the center stem.
  • Both kids are doing fine in school.
  • Met with kid's teachers and found out that the school has decided to "dumb down" the preschool curriculum. Only teaching upper case letter with no sounds and only using numbers 1-10? Insert eye roll and cussing under the breath here.
  • Have found materials to teach son his letter sounds and numbers beyond ten at home.
  • Still sending out job applications to leave uneducated, temperature challenged state, but economy is working against us here.
  • Still finding my way to the gym most days.
  • Still studying for chemistry class and still not fond of significant digits.
  • Ten days to Italy/Austria trip.
  • Ten days to make and freeze dinners, clean house, do all laundry, make schedule for husband to follow so he remembers to pick up kids from school, learn German and Italian, pack, find new bathing suit as old one has worn so thin in the bum that it is nearly sheer, complete homework for time I am gone, stock refrigerator, reschedule gymnastics classes so they are not at the same time as girl scouts, send teachers an email with Hubby's cell phone for emergencies, and lose ten pounds.
  • Still waiting for it to snow here.

20 September 2008

They Say its Your Birthday . . .

Now that my children are school aged and have classmates and friends, I have been invited to a new kind of hell - The Birthday Party. These parties are usually held at some kid centered location like Chucky Cheese, Backyard Adventures, or a Fun Center. The birthday child invites their entire school class plus their siblings, plus any friends in other classes to the festivities. The meal served is always pizza and birthday cake, both ordered from the fun party location or from the nearest pizza chain. Once all of the guests arrive, the parents sit back while the nearly thirty children run bugged eyed from one play area to another. Hyped up on cake and carbohydrates, the frenzied "playing" continues for two to three hours until half of the children are in shrilly tears from one of two events. One, the children who begin to crash from their sugar coma are shoved down and then run over by the still intoxicated party goers who believe that they must get to the next play area before Johnny or life as they know it will end and they will spontaneously combust if they arrive second. Or two, a child finds some cheap toy made in a third world country by slave labor that costs 400 tickets and the said child has 28 tickets; as the parent tries to explain the mathematical difference of 400 and 28, the child fearing their parent is not understanding the life or death situation before them, begins screaming, yelling, and finally sobbing like Veruca Salt screaming for an Oompa-Loompa. (I still love Charlie and the Chocolate Factory!)

If you find just reading this paragraph overwhelming, multiply that by 7,340,697,482,424 and now you can begin to grasp my anxiety and exhaustion in attending these events. Throw in that we attended one of these horror shows last night and have another today that includes a POOL and THIRTY TWO KIDS, and you can see where I might need to consume an entire bottle of Excedrin® Migraine in anticipation of this afternoon.

You can call me a party pooper - you wouldn't be the first, but I remember (yes, I am 210 years old!) when a birthday party was a few friends (less than ten) and my mother actually made the birthday cake. Thus far, I have been able to continue this old fashion birthday as KK was born right after Christmas and we have been in Maine with family during her birthday, and Hew has been too young to notice that he is bucking the norm and has been turning down the sibling invite for years. Now that they are both in school and are aware of how a "real" party should go down, I have already been receiving requests for "their party" even though we have more than a few months to go before either of them has a birthday.

So here my dilemma, how do I satisfy their need for a "real party" with my utter aversion and seizure reaction to the screaming, blinking strobe light party locations deemed the norm. We don't have a pool and I'm not inviting thirty kids plus parents to my house. I have thrown out the idea of a movie and they could each bring a few friends, which is getting a non-committed shrug from my daughter. I've also thought about throwing my kids into the land of societal weirdness by having a regular old fashion birthday at home with a handful of friends and their parents, making homemade pizza and cake, and setting up the favorites of pin the tail on the donkey, egg and spoon races, musical chairs, and dropping clothes pins into a mason jar. After all, these kids are under seven and are missing out on some historical cultural norms. How can you function in life if you haven't been spun around until nearly ill and then you try to pin some paper tail onto a poster?

So I am seeking suggestions - teach me Obi Wan how to compromise between the current norm and my sanity.

17 September 2008

It's all worth it

Two weeks ago, I started reading a chapter or two of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to the kids at night. This was one of my books from childhood that my mother had saved and returned to me once I had my own children. Every night, KK reads a page and then I do. We were nearing the demise of Mike Teevee, the last of the children left other than Charlie of course. KK could barely contain her anticipation as she cried out "I just can't wait to see what happens. Will you read one more chapter - just one? I need to know before I go to sleep!"

Just like me, my six year old sees stories. I couldn't wish her a better gift.

15 September 2008

Just a Fly on the Windshield

Dear Lady with the shoulder length brown hair, the front half pulled back, wearing the dark sunglasses, and driving the giant ruby red Suburban while talking incessantly on your cell phone and chewing gun,

I am sure it's been a while since you completed your Driver's Ed. class - I know it's been over twenty years for me. But in all that time, the law has not changed to allow you to ignore a red light and nearly mow over a bicyclist in a marked cross walk.

See the bicyclist was me. I know I am way too damn old to be on a bike, especially in a place like here where bicycle riders are seen as target practice for the trucks with gun racks and oversized tires. However, since there is a perfectly good sidewalk that leads from my neighborhood to the gym and I'd finally like to lose the baby weight I gained, back when the baby was born four years ago, I thought the extra workout of riding my bike to the gym seemed logical. Also, add in the benefit of reducing my carbon footprints and global warming (two topics that don't appear to concern you based on your vehicle choice), and I was off like a snail.

I don't want to interrupt your cell phone use, but when you screeched to a stop inches from me and my bike while we were smack in middle of the sidewalk, a good ten feet passed that white line where you are suppose to stop, my heart rate certainly accelerated, but not in the way I'd hoped. It was when you beeped your horn, even though the traffic light in front of you was RED, I decided you must suffer from perpetual obnoxiousness and I said a few words that my son's pre-school class has listed as "coconut words" - words that need to fall off their vocabulary tree. (Don't you just love pre-school teachers!) As I am not in pre-school, I meant every damn word.

Have a nice day and try not to run over any children who I have seen riding their bikes to and from school on that same sidewalk.

Hoping karma really does exist,

11 September 2008

I Remember

Seven years ago, started as any other day. I was nearly six months pregnant with my first child KK. I was working as a supervising attorney in a division that prosecuted child abuse cases. Hubby and I were packing to fly to Maine for my best friend's wedding that weekend. I was busy, stressed out, self absorbed, and clueless about how much motherhood was going to change my life.

I was in court that morning, handling routine motions. There were more attorneys than clients present, and in between cases, we attorneys whispered like school children, catching up on the latest goings-on. I think it was the clerk who'd had a call from someone downstairs in the main office, that started the news around that there had been a plane crash in New York City. Still oblivious, I handled my cases, talked with co-workers, and remained unaware.

It's not that I'm heartless, but you hear about a tragedy miles away and say the appropriate words of concern and then go back to your life. After all, tragedy was a part of my daily life in those days - the kids and families who were devastated by physical and sexually abuse, You learn to turn off and just discuss the graphic details of abuse without flinching. I remember teaching new attorneys that you had to be able to describe body parts neutrally to put the kids at ease when they talked to you. Catastrophe and heartbreak were normal parts of my days, so a plane crash received a few words of sympathy and that it was back to the business at hand.

I remained in my bubble as I finished my cases and returned to my office. I don't remember what I might have been thinking, but I am sure it was centered around the wedding that weekend and going home to Maine. At my office door was a stack of pink message slips and I quickly ran through them as I returned PH's call. PH asked "if I'd heard about it?" I told him I'd heard about a plane crash that morning in NYC, but couldn't image why that warranted a phone call in the middle of the morning. And then I heard it, the conversation spoke round the world that day - two planes, the Twin Tower, another plane down in Pennsylvania, another at the Pentagon. PH hadn't been able to reach his brother , Peter, who lived in NYC. I wondered about my childhood neighbor, John, who lived in the middle of the city. I called my Mom in Maine and she was with John's mother - still no word. People were gathered around the television sets in the courthouse. I stood by with co-workers in the jury room, watching the images of mass destruction play over and over. PH and I called the airports and quickly decided to drive to Maine. I said that if the world was ending I wanted to be in Maine with family (slightly dramatic but I was six months pregnant). When I couldn't get through to my doctor, PH called his Dad, who was an Ob/Gyn doctor to discuss the long drive, and his Dad offer his giant Cadillac for the trip so I could stretch out and be more comfortable. I remember telling my boss that I was leaving a day early for vacation and he said"GO! Go be with your family." What I remember most about these events is that it felt like time had stopped and all this activity was in slow motion as though sloshing through cement.

It was late afternoon before I remembered to eat lunch. As I stood in line to pick up my take out salad, an unknown women approached me. I am sure I looked as shocked as many other people there, but I just happened to be wearing a rather obvious maternity top. This women paid for her food and then she walked over to me. She put her hand on my stomach and said "You have to remember that in times like this, that baby is what matters." I nodded and mumbled some polite words as I pulled back from this stranger. At the time, I thought she was a bit of a whack-job. Only now, I understand what she meant.

I was lucky that day. No one I knew was injured or killed, we drove to Maine without incident, and I was able to witness my best friend saying her vows. Life went on, but suddenly I was aware that the privilege of being a U.S. citizen does not guarantee you safety from the world outside. Nor does it guarantee your protection from even your own government, as I learned in the days and weeks that followed. The decisions and politics that followed that day have divided this nation even seven years after the fact. Yet for today, I believe that a majority of us will recall that tragic day, as well as the people who lost friends and family. While not united politically, we are united in memory and appreciation of those who acted as heroes that day. I remember.

05 September 2008


Some of my free time this week has been spent reading and listening to the news of the presidential candidates. Politics is such a touchy subject these days. As a nation, we are completely polarized. This is especially evident in my own family, where political discussion results in personal attacks from certain family members. Let's just say I'm not part of the majority in the discussions with them.

I have to wonder how we got to this place where people feel completely comfortable insulting family as well as total strangers because of their support of a candidate. The last election resulted in some women from the neighborhood, ringing our doorbell during dinner time and in front of our children telling us that we were "uneducated" and "didn't care about our children." All this because of a political support sign in our yard. We had other children in the neighborhood make insulting comments as they rode by our house on their bike, obviously repeating what they had heard at home. There is still a family grudge being carried out in the form of not speaking to us because we dared to disagree with one family member's view.

I'm not sure of the point of this blog, other than I am frustrated. I can't understand how it is impossible to discuss an issue or a candidate without delving into character attacks.

People joke about the ethics of lawyers, but there really is a code of ethic and it bars personally attacks on the opposition. I have heard some jurisdictions don't enforce it, but thankfully where we live it was enforced not only by the courts, but by the lawyers themselves. You could fight like hell over the facts and the law, but at the end of the day, the opposing lawyer was often a friend. You did your best for your client, but then it was over. Sometimes you won, sometimes you lost. And yeah, it irritated me to lose when I thought I should have won. But if the opposition played fairly, then I took my lumps and called it a day. As a new attorney, it takes a bit to figure this out, but eventually you realize you're going to work with the same lawyers over and over again, and being personally contentious does not help your client and your own state of mind.

Somehow I'd like to find a way to take this outside the courtroom. You don't have to agree with the opposition in the end, but treat people respectfully. Listening to a different approach allows you to consider other alternatives, as there is usually more than one way to accomplish a task. The true concern should be the lack of open, honest discussion. Without dialogue other than name calling, the polarization continue and issues such as war and the economy are left unresolved.