Thursday, January 31, 2008

Umm, Yeah, That About Sums It Up

I apologize for the overwhelming funk that has been hanging around my recent posts. I've realized the misconception may be that I'm coming apart at the seams due to it being day number 381 since the husband left. While that blows in it's own right, the gigantic, dark, thundering cloud following me around is fairly unrelated.

So, let me sum up the general theme of life in the Longest Year household lately with one tale from tonight.

I have approximately 569 things to get done tonight, but I just picked up some cute embellishments for the scrapbook today and wanted to stick a couple on. I figured I could play for a half hour or so and then get started on everything else.

I'm working away, everything spread out on the dining table. I grab the glue to paste the first one on. I take off the cap, flip it upside down, and squeeze. Nothing. I shake it a couple times and squeeze. Nothing. I put the cap back on and bang it on the table. Take the cap back off and squeeze.

And it explodes.

Everywhere.

There is now glue on every surface in a ten foot radius. On the walls. On the carpet. On me. On my nearly new table. And worst of all . . . on every single page I've been working on.

Three hours later and my carpet is soaking wet, but mostly glue free (thank you, Woolite Oxy). The walls are wiped down. My table is no longer sticky. My hair is wet from the multiple washings it took to rinse the glue out.

However, there were multiple casualties of the paper kind. I managed to salvage only five pages. A few others may be helped by pasting stuff over the spots. But the rest . . . I've put them out of sight to keep from thinking about it.

And to top it off, I've got a lovely chemical reaction all up and down my arms from where I got covered in it.

Fantastic, eh?

"Shhh, mama, I saw you open that bottle of Bailey's you keep in the kitchen!"

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Step Away From the Radio

Do not . . . I repeat, DO NOT . . . listen to the Dixie Chicks 'Traveling Soldier' on a day when you've run out of fingers to count everything that has gone wrong.

Especially when you're trying to pull out onto a very busy road, while leaving a car wash you went through yesterday, where you forgot to take your Blue Star Ribbon magnet off, which the management has thrown away.

No ribbon, two handfuls of problems, and a sad song . . . bad, bad combination.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Past Loves to Haunt

One of the loud, obnoxious, inconsiderate children in the apartment next to mine just took it to a whole new level.

They got a musical instrument.

A saxophone.

A loud, honking, squeaky saxophone.

And they have played for two hours every evening for the past three days. And then for another couple hours after dinner.

How do I know it's a saxophone? Well, I spent years of my youth torturing my own family with that unmistakable honking. And I know firsthand just how long it takes for it to transform into anything remotely melodious. It's going to be a long two months till moving day.

The first night, I actually found it funny. The kid must have seriously been playing in the bathroom, because as I was giving E her bath, it sounded like he was about two inches from us on the other side of the wall. But, that was the first hour. During the second hour, as I was trying to nurse E to somewhere between drowsy and passed out, it got to the point of serious consideration of instrumental harm. Thankfully the kid stopped before I tried to put E down for real and didn't start again till after she was out.

So, lately my concentration has been shot to hell and I've been hiding out in the farthest corner of the apartment from any shared walls. Along with the cats. (I think they all breathed a sigh of relief when I sold my saxophone this summer - seeing it leave the house and never come back was no doubt a joyous occasion for their ears).

Anyways, my hiding-out time has resulted in some major progress on the "E's First Year" scrapbook. I'm down to only about 4 months behind now!

Friday, January 25, 2008

For the Love of Junk Food . . .

Why didn't I think of this one earlier?

I have a problem with junk food. If it's in the house, it's the first thing I'll go for. Screw the healthy stuff, bring on the chocolate. I suppose it's making up for when I was pregnant with E and wanted nothing more than to be seated in front of a salad bar for every meal.

So, I went shopping a few days ago and got a package of Double Stuff Mint Cream Oreos. In an attempt at keeping myself from eating them immediately, I left them in the car. Until tonight. When string cheese just wasn't cutting it anymore.

I pulled on my boots, grabbed the monitor and went downstairs and out to the car. Darted out into the subzero temperatures, grabbed my bounty and ran back inside. Once I was properly thawed out, I opened the package and . . . good lord, sweet mother of junk food . . . they were completely frozen. It was like biting into mint chocolate chip ice cream, only it was a cookie.

Why this ingenious twist had not occurred to me earlier, I'll never know.

But, from now on, you'll find the Oreo package stashed in the freezer.

If, of course, it lasts more than one day.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Ain't Gonna Sleep No More

If Baby ain't happy,
Mama ain't happy.

If Mama ain't happy . . .
Baby ain't gonna sleep tonight.


Sure, she looks cute. But really, she's plotting my mental demise.

About five seconds before she woke up for the second time tonight, I was on the phone, telling my husband how I just wanted to kick something. Or punch something. Or possibly hurl things off the balcony.
(not the kid though, please, no one get any panties all wadded)

I have no outlet for anything anymore, and well, it's making me slightly crazy I think. At my job, I used to toss plants and mulch around all day. And after work, I used to go for a long (for me) run. I'd come home and be completely exhausted. And it was good. The good kind of tired.
(and let's not even start on the whole 'outlet' options that are available when the husband is home)

I want to work and be physically challenged, but I don't want to leave E. I want to go run until my lungs are screaming, but not in 20 degree weather. I want to fall into bed at night and feel accomplished in more ways than teaching E to use the potty chair (which she did today, by the way, all grown-up like for her 9 months) and playing peek-a-boo will bring me, but I don't want to miss her learning a single thing.
(and again, we won't even start on what I want to do with the husband)

Most of all I want to pull myself up out of this lonely and dismal place I find myself lately. I know E feeds off of my moods, and me being frustrated and annoyed at life certainly isn't helping her demeanor. I'm getting sucked into a routine of nothing but diaper changes, nap times and the mashed-food menu. I need to find myself a sense of accomplishment for something worthwhile. And I should probably look for a kick-boxing class while I'm at it.

Cause . . .

If Mama is happy,
Baby is happy.

And if Baby is happy,
Mama is gonna sleep tonight.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Oh, So That's Where My Balls Are At

This afternoon, I was transferring a load of E's clothes into the dryer and the dryer balls that normally live in there were missing. I never take them out, so I was convinced I was losing my mind. I looked everywhere - behind the machine, in the cabinet, in the trash, in yesterday's clean clothes, every surface of the bathroom.

But, I never looked in the bathtub.

I never would have. It would have just been a fun, what-the-hell, surprise tomorrow morning. However, I got suspicious when I witnessed the child in the middle of her newest make-mommy-crazy trick.

I was in her room, directly across from the bathroom, folding even more clothes. I had the dryer door open, as I was about to empty that load. E was happily playing in the hallway, and then moved into the bathroom. And headed straight for the dryer.

One sock clutched in her chubby hand, she slid herself across the floor and carefully deposited it in the tub. Then slid back to the dryer and grabbed a t-shirt. And carefully deposited that in the tub.

After she got through three or four more articles of clothing, I stopped laughing long enough to go check out the bathtub and see what was in there. In addition to the recent additions, there were two washcloths, four socks, a pair of pants and a diaper cover. And, of course, my dryer balls.

Lesson learned - shut the dryer. Always. And check the tub when something is lost.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Sneaky Little Buggers

I live in a village. We don't have our own post office, and if you address something to this village, it won't make it. We're so small, we share with the three surrounding townships.

It's almost one of those "don't blink" places. 2.2 miles, 3 stop lights, 3 gas stations, 4 bars, 5 resturants, a strip mall with 4 closed shops, 2 garages, 2 liquor stores, a drive-thru liquor store, and an adult store. It's a jam packed strip of klassiness.

Despite being so small, we do have our own police force. There are 5 patrol cars. And tonight, every single one of them was positioned along that 2.2 miles, doing what they do best.

As you roll down the high traffic, main route road that is our village center, the speed limit drops. On one end it goes from 40 to 25, the other from 55 to 25. If you don't know it's coming, you're shit out of luck, my friend. Because exactly 3 feet past that speed limit sign is one of our finest, ready to pick you out. You should take heed and listen to the just-before-the-limit Mr.Chicken sign that says "Avoid a ticket, eat here."

As you crest the hill, you can see the whole 2.2 miles. A quick scan often lulls drivers into thinking they are quite safe, everyone is at the Donut Shoppe (yes, we have a Donut Shoppe). But, you see, these are some sneaky little buggers, and you'll never see them till you have lights in your mirror. Tonight, one was in a full parking lot, another was at the car repair place, a third was behind a stand of bushes, a fourth was at the other car repair place and the fifth was in another full parking lot. All totally blended in, unless you knew they were there and knew their sneaky little hiding spots.

The guy in front of me didn't know.

It was awesome.

I, on the other hand, clearly knew they were there. I like to tempt fate a little and go 27. Or maybe even 28. I'm a thrill seeker, for sure.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Friday Night Dinner for One - Parmesan Tomatoes

Brown sugar baked asparagus, fried spatzle, and parmesan encrusted tomatoes.


Asparagus

Wash, snap off ends, lay on cookie sheet with edges.
Place pats of butter on top, sprinkle with brown sugar.
Bake at 375 for 10 minutes.


Parmesan Crusted Tomatoes

1 cup white flour
1 tablespoon onion powder
2 teaspoons garlic granules
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, ground
1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
12 slices tomatoes, sliced 1/2 inch thick (3 tomatoes)
2 eggs
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons olive oil

1. Combine flour, onion powder, granulated garlic, salt and pepper.
2. Mix well.
3. In separate bowl combine panko and Parmesan.
4. In third bowl combine eggs and mustard.
5. Take slices of tomato and dip in flour, dust off excess.
6. Then dip in egg mixture, letting excess drip off.
7. Finally dip in parmesan/panko mixture, pressing parmesan mixture onto slices for good coverage.
8. Repeat until all slices are breaded.
9. These should be stored in a single layer dusted lightly with extra crumbs.
10. Heat olive oil in non-stick frying pan, over medium-high heat.
11. Place 3 slices (1 order) in pan, and let cook about 1 1/2- 2 minutes on each side, until just golden brown.
12. Don't flip too soon or parmesan mix will fall off.
13. Serve.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

9 Months!

Happy 9 months to the girly!



She was being a little difficult, and made getting the obligatory monthly picture a lengthy process. We went through three pieces of paper before I got one of her not actually eating it. I almost said "screw it" and thought I was never going to see a hint of a smile.



This, however, is what I saw most of the day. Under the feet, tugging on the pants, whining to be picked up. Fickle as can be, she was all smiles when I was right there, and then immediate crocodile tears when I walked away.



Unless, of course, she was involved in something really, really important. And tasty.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The E word

And no, I don't mean "E" as in my beautiful, charming, precocious little daughter. I mean "E" as in nasty, low-down, stinking extension.

Yes. That E word.

Today marks the end of my longest year. I dropped M off on base and went home to our empty house 365 days ago. 365 days of ups and downs, strong days and meltdowns, disappointment and excitement. But, you see, the longest year is not over for us yet. Back that train up, my dear. Hold your horses and put away the party gear.

Because of that E word.

I'll admit it. Denial is my permanent state of residence. From the time we found out he was going, I was convinced he would be back in the states and in training for another 'Army thing' by September. Absolutely convinced. But then, September came and went. And still, I was in denial. Absolutely convinced he would be home by January. Clearly, he's not.

Stupid E word.

I suppose it's my number one coping strategy, this denial thing. As if, when I don't acknowledge the enormous number of days we are counting, there really won't be so many. We won't have so many to go, and there won't be so many behind us, full of missed memories. There are nights when I'm rocking E to sleep and I look down at her, all peaceful, and wonder how she got so big. How we got this far already, and how I crossed those days off the calendar without even realizing how time was marching on. One day, it will seem like I just dropped him off yesterday. And another, it will seem like it's been years and we still have years to go.

Extension.

There. I said it. Today, I'm not denying it. I'm staring straight into the fact that our family will have been apart for a year and a quarter. Fifteen months. And we are going to have fifteen months of two separate lives to put back together again. Routines, habits, personalities, bedtimes, personal space, independence, discipline, and a little bit of OCD. All tossed back together again with two headstrong adults and a toddler.

And it scares me.

Now, don't go taking that to mean I'm not ecstatic about crossing the next few months off the calendar. Nope, don't do that. God alone knows how much I miss my husband and how much I need him by my side. Even M can't fathom that, and I don't think he ever will. I just want to skip over that bumpy patch in the future and go right on to the blissful, picture perfect, happy family.

(And, if we're doing any skipping ahead . . . let's just skip to the part with a quiet beach, some lounge chairs, a couple of margaritas, and yeah, a babysitter.)

Monday, January 14, 2008

Let's play catch up, shall we?

Grab your coffee, folks, this one's a doozy!
(This is what you get when I don't blog more than a picture or a recipe for a week.)

Weiner, whiner.
I am a spoiled, spoiled wife. I spent weeks talking to my husband every day. And then . . . we went three days with no phone call and it just about broke me.

You don't realize how cherished those conversations are (even the ones where neither has anything to say, or you're both pissy), until they aren't there.

Stick a fork in me, I'm done. So over this deployment crap.

Yes, I am that customer.

The husband ordered me an absolutely rockin' anniversary present. He ordered it before our anniversary, which was the 1st, and I just got the email with the shipping info and tracking number on Friday. Their site claims 7-10 day shipping. Friday was day 13. Strike one.

I checked the tracking number from UPS, and saw that it said there had already been an attempted delivery. Which was odd, because I was home all day (because I have no life) and even saw the truck, but never had the buzzer ring. Late Friday night, I checked the number again and, lo and behold, it said the package was delivered. And it was signed for by someone that clearly did not have the same last name as me. Strike two.

I called UPS and found out that the sender (where the husband ordered from) had written a 0 instead of a 1, and it had been delivered to another apartment in my complex. So, UPS, not at fault.

This morning, I called the company to resolve this issue (I use resolve lightly - I generally demand my way or the highway). I lucked out and got the chick who can't think of an answer for herself and had to put me on hold every 13 seconds. After going round and round that I did not actually have a brand new Kitchen Aid mixer, Artisan style in Pistachio, sitting right next to me, she wised up and called UPS herself. While I sat on hold. For a very, very long time.

I don't know what she got out of her conversation with them, but when she came back on the phone her explanation was that UPS delivers your package to your neighbor's house when you aren't home. (*scratches head*)

In the end, she had three options for me: 1) Go over there and ask them for it myself (Nope, not happening). 2) Have them send out a trace through UPS for it, and then have it delivered striahgt to me from them. (Again, not happening, we paid for a new mixer and damnit, I'm getting a new mixer - not one someone else may have done who knows what with). 3)Send out the trace, which would take about 10 days, have it delivered back to the company, and then they would send out my new one. (So, I will have waited 4 weeks by then. Nope, not happening.) Strikes three through five.

So, I told them to suck it and cancel my effing order.
(Well, not really in those words. But I wanted to.)

We just can't have nice things!
Looky, looky what has come to live with me!


When I jump into something, I dive all the way in. So, having found a penchant for sewing, I got myself a serger. Logical step, right? (Yes, you are entitled to roll your eyes at this point.)

The project list is piling up, and the storage for fabric is growing full.E is going to be one stylin' kid, if I can get the hang of this. And, if I don't break it any more than I already have.

Yeah, that's right. The machine was in my possession for less than 20 minutes before I broke the thread rod. Well, actually, my dad broke it by reclining the seat in my car back onto it . . . but we aren't telling him that.

Someone tell her to stop growing up!
So, the reason for the complete and utter lack of sleep? Well, I could blame Burgh Baby for starting the trend and sending out the word to all kiddos to protest sleep at all costs . . . But, shockingly, there seems to be a real explanation this time.

Teeth number 7 and 8 have shown up. Yes, folks, that's 8 teeth in 7 weeks. Nothing like life in the fast lane of development.

And speaking of development . . . I'm going to go broke buying new pants for this kid. (Unless I can keep scoring them for less than $2.50 at Old Navy like I did yesterday.) She is not even 9 months old, and we had to size up to 18-24 months. I put her in the 12-18 right before Christmas, and they are now mid-calf length. (Yay, capris!)

I was smart though. I snatched up a couple of 2Ts as well. You know, for next month, when these don't fit.

Mommy ain't too bright, now is she?
Note to self: Do not teach the kid a new trick and make her laugh while she is eating peas. Not only do they stain the carpet, but green cat puke stains worse. And cats puke when they eat peas. Even just one.




Friday, January 11, 2008

Friday Night Dinner for One - Georgian

As if the husband didn't have enough reason to want to come home, he now gets to drool over the sight of one of our favorite meals from when we were in Russia.


Khalia (spicy stew)

Ingredients:
1 1/2 lb beef chuck boneless cubed 1/2"
3 tb olive oil
3/4 c beef stock
3 ea onions, chopped fine
2 ts tamarind concentrate
2 1/2 tb tomato paste
1/2 ts paprika hungarian hot
1/4 ts fenugreek ground
3/4 ts coriander seeds, crushed
1 ts tarragon dried
salt
1 1/2 ts black pepper freshly ground
3 ea garlic cloves minced fine
3 tb cilantro leaves chopped
1/4 c walnut pieces finely chopped
1 tb sugar or honey

Directions:
Heat the oil over med-high heat in a large cast iron skillet. Add the beef, onions, and garlic and cook while stirring for 12-15 minutes. Combine the hot beef stock, with the tomato paste and the tamarind concentrate in a bowl and allow to stand until all of the tamarind concentrate is dissolved. Add this mixture to the beef as well as all of the other ingredients, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Be sure to stir occassionally. Add stock as needed if the liquid reduces too much. Add the sugar and walnuts and simmer for 15 more minutes.


Khachapuri (cheesy bread)

2 c flour
¾ ts baking soda
¼ ts salt
½ c feta cheese "or"
¼ c roquefort cheese
1 c grated mozarrela ( or

Georgian suluguni cheese )
1 egg beaten
1 ts unsalted butter

In a medium bowl, beat in 1/3 cup flour with oil. Add yogurt and mix well. Then stir in 1/3 cup more flour. Sift cornstarch, baking soda and salt and stir in flour mixture. Gradually stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft but not sticky dough. Lightly dust with flour and cover with a kitchen towel and let rest at room temp, 1 to 2 hours. If using feta, soak in water 10 minutes and drain and crumble. In a medium bowl mix feta or roquefort and mozarella and egg. Shape cheeses into 2 medium balls and set aside. Divide dough into 2 portions and roll each into a ball. On floured surface flatten each ball into a 7 inch round. With floured hands gently rotate dough and pull into a 10 inch circle, 1/4 inch thick. Be careful not to tear dough. Pat each cheese ball into a 5 inch circle on center of dough. Gently roll up edges of dough hold in cheese. Twist ends to hold together. Brush top of bread and cheese with melted butter. Bake on a greased cookie sheet for 40-50 minutes at 350, or until golden brown. Lightly brush top of bread with butter and let bread stand for 5 minutes. Use a serrated knife to cut bread and serve warm.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Theme Thursday - Contrast

Yay for finally participating in this! (Even if I am way late in the day). Visit Stacy over at The Land of K.A. for more Theme Thursday.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Free to a good home

Free to a good home:
Three cats
Included - (1) child sized squeeze toy, (1) phantom mouse watcher, (1) midnight hallway roadblocker, (11) couch shredding clawed paws, (3) twitching tails.
Not included - Brains.


I swear. After a few incidents of cat food spilled all over the kitchen floor from one of the genius felines (trying to get it on the counter when I put it up so E wouldn't get it), I broke down and got a baby gate for the kitchen. I cut a nifty little hole in it, so the three-legged one could get through and everything. I had it at the entrance to the kitchen and all was hunky-dory.

And then. Then, I moved it approximately 4 feet closer to the food bowl and completely disrupted their lives. The two couldn't figure out how to go through the hole, and wouldn't jump over it, and it was too close to the scary stove for the other one. I had at least one sitting in the kitchen and one under my feet all night, meowing. Even after I shoved them one by one through the hole, they turned around and came right back out. Then sat there on the wrong side, staring at the elusive food bowl. Meowing.

It takes a lot of meowing to get on my nerves. Really, it does. But see, here's the kicker. They woke the baby. Seriously. They meowed so freaking loud they woke the kid.

Dumb cats.

(no, they really aren't going to new homes, and yes, I did put the gate back and allow the starving creatures to get their food.)

Sunday, January 6, 2008

More looky, looky what I made!

Ta-da! Reversible pouch slings! An evolved version of this one.

I ordered these fabrics a while back and they took forever to get here. Well worth the wait though, as they are both gorgeous combinations in person. I started on the brown one last night and learned a valuable sewing lesson that resulted in me having to rip over half my seams and start over. Apparently, some things just cannot be done the easy way. And apparently, not everything can be turned right side out again once you sew it. Imagine that.

Once I figured out what the heck I was doing, I whipped them out in just about two hours for the both of them. And I only ended up cursing my evil sewing machine a few times. (Seriously, it randomly zigzags on just one side when it's supposed to be doing a straight stitch. Freakin weird, I tell ya.)

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Sledding with E

"Here we go!"


"Or, here we will go, if Mom ever gets this thing figured out. She's saying sleds must have gotten smaller since she was little."


"And now her big butt got us stuck. I don't think it's that the sleds that got smaller, Mom."


"Seriously, she thinks this is fun?"


"What? It's over? Yay! Fun! Let's go in!"

"I thought it was over. I wanna go in. This cold stuff blows."


"IwannagoinandgetwarmandyoustuckmeinthesnowandIhateit. Takemetothebeachinstead!"

Friday, January 4, 2008

Crazy is as crazy does

What on earth is the poor kid going to do without her grandma? I sure as hell can't make her laugh like this.

We'll just have to keep our fingers crossed that she thinks her daddy is as much of a comedian as my crazy mother.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Oh, my head hurts

Okay. I don't even want to admit how long I spent tonight html-ing my way to a new layout. Heck, I don't even know html, and yet, here I sat. Telling myself every ten minutes that this was hopeless and to get up already.

So, an unknown number of hours later, and the only thing I am still fighting with Blogger about is my header. And there will be plenty of time another day for that battle.

Funny, I don't even remember what I was supposed to be doing tonight . . . oh, right. Yeah. Diapers, dishes, bills, kitty litter, laundry, fixing the printer, taking down the tree.

Shame on me. Bad domestic engineer that I am.

(does this layout suck? be honest, please. the opinion is slightly skewed from this end.)

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

3 Wonderful Years

Happy anniversary to the husband and I. It's truly been three amazing years - even if we've spent more time away from each other than together.

Nothing could have been more 'us' than being engaged for just 5 weeks, only having 8 guests, and celebrating at Olive Garden afterwards.

Here's to many more, spent together.