Thursday, November 22, 2012


Me: "How can you turn off the Macy's parade, Thomas. It's a tradition!"

Thomas: "Well, so was burning witches at the stake, Mother. And you don't see me doing that either."

And also:

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Scenes from my world

I was standing in the kitchen this afternoon, talking to Jillie and Michael, and out of the corner of my eye,  Seth and Chris passed silently by the doorway in a full blown sword fight.  Just crossed the doorway and were gone.  I'm sure that Seth was using the wooden sword he got at the international festival, but I have no idea what Chris was using.  All I know is, it was a hilarious thing to see when randomly caught out of the corner of one's eye.

Next thing you know, Seth was in the kitchen joining in the conversation -- they were trying to determine if Thomas was alive or not, because they couldn't remember when he was supposed to be over to go to the movies, but they were sure he was late, and therefore, must be dead.  Suddenly, Chris grabbed him from behind and, without missing a beat, picked him up and backed out of the room, Seth silently flailing like he was prey that got the raw end of the deal. Poof!  He was gone.  Cracked me up.

And Seth just posted on Facebook that Chris just blew his nose and gum came out.  Chew on THAT for a while.

And so it is that go into Thanksgiving, with four young men, one young lady, two dogs, two cats, and a woman who only cooks on holidays and vacation in the house.  And I give thanks for all of it, lock, stock and barrel, because life is pretty darned amazing if we just get out of the way and let it be.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Pre-Turkey Day Turkey Day

The Spare.  He is 18.  Today.  At straight up 5pm.  Dear Lord.

He entered the world in the craziest roller coaster ride ever.  He broke both arms before he was 2 1/2, in separate accidents -- neither of which I have heard the real truth about, I'm sure.  He swallowed a quarter and had to have it surgically removed.  I still have the quarter -- and the $3000 hospital bill that went along with it.  He got lost at Vacation Bible School when he was 2 -- they couldn't find him for 45 minutes -- and he had just had surgery that day.  (That's a story for another day.)  He got lost LOTS of times at the Children's Museum, but we virtually always found him in the gift shop, playing with the trains.  He went to Europe, tasted some wine and, as he said "found out I'm a depressed drunk."  To which Thomas replied "that sucks."

He speaks a different language than us, most days, but it is a highly intelligent one that, though it may not make sense at first pass, is actually pretty darned smart.  He has a wicked sense of humor -- even when he doesn't intend to be funny.  He can dance, and it's a very amazing thing to watch when he really breaks loose.  He's has a 3.9 GPA, but doesn't consider himself to be one of the "smart kids," and will argue that point till he's blue in the face.  It's not that he doesn't want to BE one of the smart kids.  He just doesn't think he's in the top echelon.  He's wrong about that, by the way.

He's got a heart as big as the universe, and is a sensitive soul.  He gives great hugs -- frequently -- and would put himself in front of a truck for his mama, I think.  He loves the chickens.  And his cat........oh, Lordie, his cat.  He loves that cat, and that cat loves him.  ::sigh::

And so it is that we celebrate today the birth of Seth.  If I've heard once this week, I've heard a hundred times "you know, I'm gonna be 18 on Saturday."  I know, I know.  He was a little disappointed to hear that although he can now buy lottery tickets, he still can't go into a casino (this is a good thing).  He can now get drafted, buy porn and cigarettes, drive with passengers in the car, and vote (he's quite sad he missed the election by a few weeks, but things turned out ok, so he was fine with it).  He was somewhat dismayed to hear that although he can't go into a strip club yet, he CAN work as a stripper.  And he gave me a little slinky wiggle when he announced that.  Oye vay.

This boy, The Spare, is, and will be, forever my baby.  He makes me proud every day, and makes me laugh even more.  And in between, he makes me smile, because he is Seth.  The one and only.  The brainiac.  Switzerland.  The little brother.  And all around good guy.

Happy birthday, baby boy.  Your mama loves you.

Sunday, November 11, 2012


My boo and I made homemade spaghetti sauce, and canned 26 quarts.  It's a process that took about four days to complete, and I'm still trying to find the space for him to store it all.  It's some pretty amazing stuff though -- full of beef, sausage, veggies, and fresh tomatoes.  Those of our friends who have tasted it have begged for more, and for good reason.  The man can COOK.

We discussed the fact that he needed to come up with a good name and label it, so we could give it away for Christmas.  He called it Cleveland Red,"bottled in the Mistake by the Lake, Parma, OH", labelled one bottle, and left it sitting on the coffee table in my living room.

So, Jill and Michael were home this weekend, to attend a wedding for a friend.  A great time was had by all, and Jim has decided that Seth might just be in demand by every fraternity on whatever campus he lands on, because the boy let it loose.  It was fun to watch the kids out there tearing it up, especially given the fact that Seth was exhausted going in, because he'd been to a lockin at school the night before.  Jillie and Michael went to hang out with friends afterward, Seth came home and, of course, fell asleep on the living room floor, and I hit the sack early.

This morning, Thomas decided to make me breakfast.  He asked me rather nonchalantly "do you smell poop?"  Keep in mind that this is not out of the question when there are three dogs in the house.  Of course, my nose is typically fairly nonfunctional, but yeah, I smelled something that seemed off in the living room.  Neither of us could find the source, but something wasn't right.  I kind of got distracted by the wonderful breakfast, but then Seth came upstairs.  Seth has a nose like a bloodhound -- probably even MORE sensitive -- and he made a beeline out to the living room to see what was up. ( Irony.)

Next thing you know, I hear him say "Mom, come here."  "What?  I'm eating."  "Ummmmm, you need to come here."  So, I wander out there, mildly annoyed that my French scrambled eggs will either a) get cold or b) be eaten by a dog, and find Seth standing in the living room looking up.  I look up, and realize that the ceiling is covered with something red.

It took a minute to register that the stains were spaghetti sauce.

Apparently, we must've not filled that can up far enough, and the pressure built up in the jar until the top blew completely off.  There was spaghetti sauce on the ceiling, walls, tables and carpet, making it look slighly like a murder scene.  I'm still waiting for Shemar Moore to arrive........

I scraped the ceiling off with a spatula, washed the tables and will deal with the few spots on the carpet later -- they were already dried, and they're little enough not to worry about.  I've already called the painter, and will finally get the living room and dining room painted, like I've planned to do since I moved in.

Meantime, I think that we should rename the sauce USMC IED Spaghetti Sauce.  The only sauce that you need a helmet to use.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Apples to Oranges

So, a series of weird things happened this week.  First, Seth asked if Jim and I had plans for Friday.  Of course, I asked why, quickly followed by the inevitable question "are you planning a party?"  This was on Monday.  Thursday, Thomas said something about cooking dinner on Friday.  "For all of us?"  "Well, that's a lot of pressure, but sure."

Chris, as usuall, arrived promptly after school, so I came home to one cooking, and all three boys talking nerd.  One day, I will miss these meetings of the minds, because it's kind of fun when everyone is in the kitchen talking, no matter the subject.  Anyway, Jim arrived shortly after, and I discovered that really, no cooking was going on.  I knew Thomas was feeling the pressure of cooking for everyone, so I didn't push it, but hey, it was after seven before I saw much action going on.  Meantime, I realized that I needed to pay a bill, or it would be late, so I ran back to my room to boot up (my living room is, for some reason, a big ole black hole for the new laptop).  Next thing I knew, Chris was in my room, asking what I was doing, whilst sitting on the exercise bike.  A minute later, I got up to leave, and realized that Chris was blocking my way and messing with my door.  He said he was fixing it, and I was getting a bit annoyed before he got out of the way and let me out -- a little claustrophobic, dontcha know.

So, I wandered down the hall and walked into the entryway.  Glanced toward the living room and saw a familiar profile.  One that wasn't supposed to be here.  WOOHOO!  Jillie was home!  Turned out that everyone but me knew that she was coming, cause she wanted to surprise me.  What a wonderful thing, since I haven't seen her for a few weeks.

So, we had dinner, which included Chicken Marsala, sticky rice (yum!), and string beans (oops, Seth forgot to snap the ends off, but they were good anyway), then settle in for a game of Apples to Apples.  Now, I don't know if you've ever played it, but it's a pretty fun game, and is good for some laughs.  We used to play it with the kids when we went camping, but it had been forever since I'd played.  Good thing, cause we had to explain it to Jim.  Here's kind of how it goes:  you get dealt seven cards.  Each card has a word or a phrase on it.  Someone pulls a card off a different (green) deck, and tosses it down.    That card has an adjective on it.  Each person then tosses out one of their cards, and the first player now has to go through and pick one of the tossed down cards that matches the adjective in whatever way they choose.  Like, say the green card is "Peaceful".  People throw down their cards, which are "war," "rivers", and "pond scum."  A sensible person might choose rivers as the best match, but in our family, it would probably be pond scum.  After the first player makes their choice, the green card is given to the person who laid it down.  The first one to get to seven green cards is the winner.  Now, everyone has their own idea of what they are looking for.  Personally, "ninja" is a sure one for me to choose.  Thomas would choose "Canada."  I can't remember what Jill's favorite card is.  We have to keep Chris' words short, because he had to really, really look when he picked up one that said "incense."  ::sigh::

And so it was the Jillie tossed down the green card "unforgettable."  I think I threw down "the 1920s."   Someone threw down "horseback riding."  Thomas tossed down "Leonardo da Vinci."  I don't remember; the other cards, because what happened afterward was so stinkin funny, I about peed my pants.

Jill, of course, chose "horseback riding."  Anyone who knows her knows that's a sure thing with her.  Thomas promptly brought both fists down hard on the table and shouted "WHAT THE HELL!  HOW IN THE WORLD IS THE SISTINE CHAPEL NOT THE MOST UNFORGETTABLE THING EVER???"

Now, I'm gonna give you a minute to let that register.

And yes, this is my "gifted" kid.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

And now, for your dining pleasure.........Sethanese

So last night, Seth and I were chatting about food.  He was, as always, hungry, because he's almost 18 and is a bottomless pit.  Although I have found that the psychology of putting the healthy stuff on the eye level shelf gets him to eat the good stuff, he still couldn't find something to satisfy him.  This, of course, means that nothing was jumping off said shelf and into his hands.  I gave him a list of things that might work for a snack, and of course they were all shot down.  He finally said "I think I'm just bored with food in general."

I asked him if I needed to worry about an eating disorder.

Then again, this is Seth, whose take on the world is slightly off our orbit -- and I truly, truly love that about him, because as you can tell, he's more than a little entertaining.  So, we wandered into my room, where he jumped on the exercise bike whilst I checked my email.  I gave him the "hey, you're gonna be on your own next year, and so you need to get with the whole idea of actually cooking" talk.  Reminded him that one day, his significant other would greatly appreciate his cooking skills.

Keep in mind -- the boy can cook.  He has made such delicacies as home-made ramen (which he said was good) and candied bacon (which he said was awesome).  He can make some pretty good string beans, and he can properly boil just about any kind of noodle.  So yeah, he's got the basics, but he needs to learn how to put a real meal together, so I started showing him how to find recipes for things that interest him, using websites like,, and heck, just plain google.  Of course, we were searching for recipes that included, of course, ramen, but also found one he actually tried out for breakfast this morning.  It's progress.

All in all, he decided, FINALLY, that he needs to expand his horizons and start trying new foods.  He had asparagus last weekend, for the first time he could recall, and loved it.  And so it was that tonight he told me that he had tried guacamole today.  I can't remember where he said he got it, but I asked him if he liked it.  "It was ok," he said.  "It tastes like liquid lettuce."

Gotta admit, he's kinda right.