Wednesday, December 26, 2012

#84 He is a Home Owner

I have officially become an old lady.  And I'll tell you who the culprit of my old-lady-hood is: home ownership.

Last week, my mom was dropping me off at my house when we saw some neighborhood boys sneaking past the beautiful fence hubby recently built.  They were going past the end of the fence and through a spot at the end of my property where a slat of fence is down.  From there they climbed up onto a board propped on my/my neighbor's fence to my neighbor's back shed.

This sounds confusing and I promise there is a picture further down after more of the story unfolds.

So basically, this is an unsafe situation we're dealing with here and I've got a motley gang of four or five of what I'm judging are 10-year-old boys sneaking past my fence into my and my back neighbor's yard to jump over our fences onto this crazy contraption to get into one of the boy's backyards.

I understand, boys will be boys.  But not on my liability.

So my mother whips her car around the the back and I yell out of my window, in my sweetest teacher voice possible, "Don't cross into my backyard to do that again,"

They all look at my blankly and kind of give the quiet, "Crap, we've been caught" sound.

Then my mother tags on, in her sweet concerned mother voice, "I'm afraid you might get hurt doing that.  It's dangerous.  I'm sure your parents don't want you doing that,"

To which the boy who is my neighbor says that his mother knows he does it and is fine with it.

I seal the deal by emphasizing they are not to do it again and we leave the scene of confrontation.

After a few minutes inside my house, my instincts tell me to peek in the backyard.  And of course, I see the hooligans crossing back over the fence into my yard.  I run outside to confront the disobeyers and say to the boy who is my neighbor, "Hey, didn't I tell you not to cross over into my yard?"

"I had to," he says.

"No, you didn't.  Don't do it again!  I'm liable if something happens to you,"

At this point his back is to me and he's walking away into his house as if I'm his mother or something and he doesn't need to listen to me anymore.  However, if I had been his mother I would have grabbed him by the shoulders and told him, "Hey! You don't walk away from your mother like that!".

I figure he won't pass the message along to his pals, so I go back around the corner of my house to catch the rest of the rascals and tell them what for.

After questioning their listening skills, then following up with a lecture about not crossing into my property and me being liable if they get hurt, a few of the boys don't say a word, but have at least made eye contact with me.  However, this skater punk looking kid stops dead in his tracks and says to me, "It's not your property,"

I'm bewildered at the audacity of this little one, yet quickly reply, "Yes.  It is,"

"No.  It's not,"

"Yes.  It is,"

"No. (Attitude head shake) It's not,"

"Yes.  It is,"

"No.  It's not!"

To which I finally said, "Shut up you disrespectful brat faced punk and never cross my property again,"

Okay, I didn't say that.  It would have been nice to at that point though.

I realized then that I was arguing with someone who was not even half my age, who probably couldn't even say all his times tables correctly, so I said calmly and plainly, "If you go in my property again, I will call the cops,"

As soon as I said that, I almost laughed right there.  Call the cops?  Wow.  I have become an old lady.

Rightfully so though.  It is amazing what owning your own home will do to you.  It will turn you from what you thought you were into an old lady with white hair who peeks out her window every ten minutes making sure those rascals aren't sneaking into your yard again.

And of course, that has been me for the past couple of days.  On Christmas Eve, I watched as the boys stood in position planning to tread on my property again.  The skater punk stood outside of my fence (not on my property) and the boy who is my neighbor was positioned on top of the crazy contraption.  At this point, another slat of fence at the back of the property was also down either because of the wind (yeah, okay...) or their constant crossing over the fence.

P.S. Don't judge my backyard.  It's winter, okay people?

So I decide to snap a few photos which I wish I could post but can only imagine must be illegal for me to do since they are minors.

Hmmm....kind of like them crossing into my and my back neighbor's properties is probably illegal.

As I'm snapping pictures of the boys blatant disobedience, I hear my neighbor (the father) call out to his son, "Get off of there.  I don't want you up there anymore.  It isn't good for the roof (of his shed),"

Well, well, well.  I wouldn't necessarily say, "problem solved", but I can at least say smugly that it looks like mommy isn't okay with this anymore.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

#83 He Inspires Me

I've had Christmas brain since July.

Okay, maybe longer.

Just possibly, all year long.

So, it's pretty much natural that I would write stories about Christmas. 

I know I've talked about it before but here it is again, live and in living color:

I'm just a little excited about this:

And this:

Because when I first self-published the book, in my haste, I didn't check to make sure whether these things were taken care of by the publisher or the author.

Clearly things like title pages, contents, and page numbers are the author's responsibility.  (And if you purchased one of the first four books sold before I corrected this mistake, just consider your copy a rare collectible).

I've gotten over the fact that it's "just a self-published book" when one of my friends pointed to the back cover:

where a little further down was the beaming bar code and ISBN number.

Perhaps it is a real book after all.

The three stories included are short stories about different Christmas themes:

1. The Christmas fruitcake no one ever wants
2. The glory of a fresh cut Christmas tree
3. The beauty of glistening Christmas snow.

They are appropriate for all age levels.

Click here to go to and purchase your copy for Christmas today!  (Or at least, just go to the link and 'like' my book).

Friday, November 30, 2012

#82 He Eats Dessert for Breakfast

My Thanksgiving was awesome.  So awesome, that I have been hesitating to post pictures because they are sure to bring about jealousy to anyone reading this who was not at my family's Thanksgiving feast.

And perhaps even to those who were there and wish they could relive it.

The day started with my family coming over my house decked out in their jammies ready to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade and eat breakfast.

Although we wouldn't be eating our dinner until late afternoon, a couple of turkeys showed up anyway.

The menu for breakfast had been planned out with care:

Oh yes, I forgot to mention.  Thanksgiving breakfast with my family is dessert, not breakfast.

Let me repeat.  We eat desserts for breakfast.

Yes, that was plural.  DessertS.

Now, before you begin thinking my family as totally crazy there is, of course, a story behind the madness.  When I was growing up, my Aunt Linda (whom you may remember from this post) and my mother would talk on the phone as they began their Thanksgiving feast preparations early in the morning.  The overwhelming temptation to taste their freshly baked pumpkin pies was among the highly important conversation topics.  Then one Thanksgiving, my aunt had enough.  When she called my mother that morning she told her, "Kathy, I did it.  I ate some of the pumpkin pie for breakfast!".   My mother joined in and soon the entire family was partaking in the tradition of eating dessert for breakfast on Thanksgiving.

My Aunt Linda has passed on.  Continuing the dessert tradition, in a way, is a piece of her still with us.  When I got married, I wanted to have Thanksgiving breakfast at my house.  I get a little carried away, and, well, Thanksgiving breakfast is no longer just a few simple pies.

It's apple cider donuts.

Chocolate trifles.

Pumpkin and chocolate chip bundts.

Cherry cheese pie.

Chocolate chip cookies.

And more!  It is with great sadness that I admit I didn't take pictures of the apple dumplings, the better-than-pumpkin-pie, or the delicious cinnamon rolls that my SIL, Kristina, and I worked painstakingly on during Thanksgiving Eve.

This Thanksgiving I had a "mini" theme going which is why most of the desserts pictured are bite-sized or in quantities of more than one.

Somehow, each year, despite the second and third helpings of dessert that we all enjoy, we still find the energy and drive to want to eat more only a few hours later.

If the dessert pictures were hard for you, this will probably be worse.

You've been warned.

This is contestant number one: the deep fried turkey.

But oh wait!  What is that behind contestant number one?  

It's everything you thought it was.  Contestant number two: the roasted turkey.

Unfortunately, there is no heart warming story behind the fact that my family makes two turkeys every year for Thanksgiving.  It is simply this: we like deep fried turkey, we like roasted turkey.

All we want is everything.  That's not to much to ask, right?

This year, my parents purchased a new turkey fryer.  The last one could only fry a 13-pound turkey.  The new one fries a 20-pound one.

So of course, we got a 20-pound turkey to deep fry.

It was a little hard for dad to get the other turkey out of the roasting pan.

I forgot to mention, the roasted turkey was 24-pounds.

I'm not sure what method of turkey lifting he is trying here.

All I know is I was really worried for the safety of that bird.

Even Justin was worried.

Carving a turkey has become a full family event.  It started as a special time between me and my dad, yet it has evolved into quite the show.

Some people work a little harder than others.

But this is always the end result.

I'm going to level with you here.  That's my fork in the bottom left corner of this photo.

I'm not ashamed.  This is the way I eat turkey.

Never at the table.

Never on a plate.

Once both of those 20-pound delights were carved basically bare, that was when I really began to dig in.

After all, right up against the bones is where the best pieces of meat are.

It's all about waste not, want not, right?

I hope your Thanksgiving table was as plentiful as ours!  I must admit, I'm longing for next year already.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

#81 He Lets Me Pay Google

As I began to upload photos yesterday of my awesome Thanksgiving, my plans of posting pictures that would make my audience jealously drool all over their computer screens were momentarily foiled when I received this message:

Apparently, I've been blogging so long, or so much, that now that I need to pay to continue blogging, or at least, to continue posting pictures to my blog.

I just thought you, my readers, would be interested in knowing that earth shattering information.

Okay, I also might have secretly hoped you would feel sorry that I need to pay $2.49 a month now just to post pictures on my blog.

Since my blog has reached this plateau of sorts, I would be interested in finding out what kind of things those who have been reading my blog enjoy reading about.

What have been your favorite posts so far?

What other blogs do you read?

What would make this blog better?

And no worries, my Thanksgiving post will be up soon so that you can covet the delights that my family devoured throughout Thanksgiving day.

Friday, November 23, 2012

#80 He Builds Fences

As of a few weeks ago, this was the most recent status of the fence lining our tiny backyard:

I wish I could say that this happened because of Hurricane Sandy.  I wish I could say I watched as the forceful winds made my fence rock back and forth until finally, the wind won out.

Unfortunately, I cannot.

Over the past few weeks, Lowe's has become one of my dear close friends.  This aisle in particular:

And hubby's tush has become a point of interest while I stood in the aisle bored to tears.

 So did Instagram.

In the picture I snapped after this one, hubby had just looked up at me and realized I had been taking pictures of him.  The look on his face is not one I think you want to see.

I received the same look after stalking hubby through the back door as he worked.

I'm pretty sure the last time I did this was years ago when we were engaged.  He was playing soccer.  The teams were shirts and skins.  I guess you can figure which team he was on....

What makes me mostly proud about this whole endeavor is that hubby did this all by himself.  It might not seem a difficult task for some, but hubby sits behind a desk crunching numbers all day.  Building things is not something he has do do daily.

The fact that he can make something out of nothing makes me feel kind of warm inside...

and happy that the neighborhood kids can no longer run through our backyard to get to their destination quicker.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

#79 He Lets Me Win

Hubby and I made a bet about a particular recent happening in our nation. We had made a similar bet, oh, about four years ago.

I lost that bet.  And I lost this one.

My winning would be that hubby would allow me to put up all my Christmas decorations.  That means they would have been up the first week of November.

You must understand, this is an event that hubby strongly dislikes.  And this is not a strong dislike in the same way as my father who strongly dislikes seeing anything Christmas before Thanksgiving.


This is a strong dislike in the sense that hubby cannot stand the whole concept of decorating for Christmas at all.

I know, he's a murderer of Christmas cheer.

Despite this, my spirits are never dampened.  Because as much as hubby strongly dislikes Christmas decorating, he also strongly dislikes disappointing me.

So, last Sunday he told me I could put up the tree.

There was much laughter and rejoicing as Jonathan and I blasted the Rat Pack's Christmas album while sorting and assembling tree branches.

We bought a timer for our tree a few years ago when we went to Las Vegas the day after Christmas.  (You know, so that all the thieves would be fooled into thinking that even though our car wasn't outside, we had to be home because our Christmas tree was on).

We never used it again, but I decided this year we were going to.  Hubby set it so that when I come downstairs in the morning it will be on to greet me, then go off while I'm at work, and back on minutes before I come home.

I think I love him a lot.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

#78 He Makes My Day

Yesterday night's events in my house are worth repeating.  Here's what happened:

1. I began making pumpkin puree.  If you follow The Orange Strainer you know that I recently accomplished this feat for the first time.  Since Thanksgiving is right around the corner, I decided I would do it again.  It was with great strength, eventual pain, and much more time than I'm proud to admit that I cut three sugar pumpkins in half and threw them into the oven to bake. 

Note: No, there are not three pumpkins pictured here.  

2. My Christmas book came in the mail.  Even though it is only self-published, I was pretty excited to see my stories looking as if they'd been authentically published.  If anything, it is inspiration for the future.

If you'd like to purchase my book (please do!) click here.  

 3. I broke my blender.  It was this point when my night began to go downhill.  I had scooped my pumpkin out after it had baked and thrown it into the blender.  After a little pureeing, I went to stir it up a bit.  Then, I'm pretty sure I blacked out.  The shock was too great for me to bear.  The next thing I knew I was staring at a hole that had somehow come to be in my poor blender.

It is for your peace of mind that I have chosen not to post a picture of the remains of the deceased.

Following that event, my blender was then tossed into the garbage and the puree was cast into the wind.

And I may or may not have cried.

4. I made chicken parmigiana.  This is one of my favorite meals on earth to make.  Reason one...because I love pasta.  Reason two...because I love cheese.  Reason three...because I love sauce.  I suppose I could go on, but you get the point.  Somewhere around reason eight is my love for pan fried chicken.    

5. Later on in the evening, after I had vented about my broken blender, my husband looked at me and said, "You're my favorite person."

And that absolutely one hundred percently made my day.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

#77 He Motivates Me

In one of my more recent posts I put a lot of blame on the new school year for my lack of blogging.  

Today, I'll tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

I love Christmas.  I love it so much that I'm pretty sure I think about it a combined time of 10 out of 12 months of the year (and that's only because I'm pretty sure that eating and sleeping probably add up to two months worth of time).  

Last Christmas, I finished writing the first of a three story Christmas collection.  Of course, at the time it was only a one story Christmas collection.  It was during that time that hubby read an article about a woman who self-published through (a website that I would be completely lost without).  She had been rejected by traditional book publishers a countless number of times and when it finally seemed like her book was going to be picked up, she was rejected again.  She wound up doing better self-publishing her book on amazon than if her book had been published the traditional way.

Hubby then told me that I needed to put my Christmas story on  To which I pointed out how silly it would be to publish just one short story.  

That's when he gave me the challenge: "Write two more"
I gave myself a deadline and can proudly say that I met it.  I cannot, however, honestly say that it was the soul reason for my lack of blogging.

But between working full-time and writing the stories for the book, I think I'm going to say they were both 50/50 to blame.  

For now, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

If you're looking to get started on the warm and fuzzy Christmas feelings, or you'd just like to show me your support, click below and buy my book!  I've outrageously priced it at $0.99.

FYI: You can purchase this book even if you don't have a Kindle, you would just have it delivered to your computer and then it will download to your computer.  

Sunday, October 7, 2012

#76 He Doesn't Run From PMS

Men may never know the freedom they have lived blissfully unaware of by being born with only one X and one Y chromosome.  I speak of something that possesses women and causes them immense irrationality and discomfort without any word or notice.  Obviously, I speak of PMS.

After last Thursday morning, I'm surprised that my husband didn't buy me a plane ticket and send me away to be alone for the next five to seven days.

In order to understand my morning, you have to understand the mornings I've been having so far this school year.

In an effort to make my mornings less hectic, with less scrambling all over and about, I've made two changes:

1. I pick my outfits for the entire week out on Sunday nights
2. Every night I make my lunch for the next day

This leaves me in the morning only needing to take care of bathroom business, put on the clothes and makeup, and grab my lunchbox on my way out the door.

With one exception: Breakfast.

You see, I'm already a terribly miserable person in the morning, but without food I'm pretty sure I compare to the creature from the black lagoon.  Therefore, breakfast is an absolute must.  I began the year making myself a cup of coffee and taking a Cliff bar for the road.  This worked pretty well and my mornings still continued to run smoothly.

Then one morning I decided that since I had become so efficient with my mornings I would test out if I had enough time to make toast and eggs.  And I found that it worked.  I had just enough time to fry a couple eggs, toast some bread, pour myself a glass of orange juice and then actually sit down and eat it before flying out the door for my day.

I blame PMS for the recent snag in my routine.

Please put all judgement aside before reading any further.

Ah, doesn't that feel good?

I woke up Thursday morning with the lingering desire to buy a breakfast sandwich from the General Store down the corner from my house.  Yet, I had already convinced myself the night before that I was not going to do that.  I was dressed and ready for my day with a minute to spare.  I walked into my kitchen and found myself still completely resistant to making the same breakfast of scrambled eggs and toast that I had been eating for the last few weeks.  

My eyes then gravitated to the box of apple cider doughnuts sitting innocently on the kitchen table.  I thought, "I've eaten a healthy breakfast everyday so far this school year.  I'm going to cheat a little!  I'm eating one of those doughnuts with some cinnamon coffee."

I grabbed my coffee mug, then realized it was dirty.  So, naturally, I wanted it to be clean.  And rather than grab a clean mug, that particular mug needed to be clean.  I looked in the sink and saw a pile of dirty dishes from the night before.  That led to the next ten minutes of time being spent cleaning my coffee mug and the other dishes.

(If you feel like you're in the middle of "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" don't worry, the feeling is mutual).

This gave me only five minutes to make my coffee, warm my doughnuts (Oh yes...warm your doughnuts, forever and always, amen), and grab my four hundred and eighty-two bags and head out the door.

Okay, I exaggerate a little.  It was only two bags, but in that moment, it felt like four hundred and eighty-two, maybe even eighty-three.

Here is where hubby entered the scene.  Because, I've forgotten one minor detail to my new morning routine.  Hubby's car broke down.  So I have been making breakfast for the both of us before he drives me to my mother's so I can carpool to work with her.

So now I've got the guilt lingering over my head that I didn't make him any breakfast.  I've got a warmed doughnut waiting for me in the microwave and I've got a cup of coffee that needs cream and sugar.  It's at this very moment that beads of sweat are pouring from areas of my body I didn't know existed and I realize that I'm going to want a travel coffee mug now rather than my at home coffee mug.  I grab the travel mug, dump the coffee in, sprinkle in some sugar, and open the fridge to milk.

Slam!...goes the fridge door.  Dump!...goes the coffee in the sink.  Slam!...goes the coffee travel mug into the sink.  And out the door goes my husband and me.

I drop off my handful of bags into the back seat and wobble into the passenger's seat still holding my purse and my obnoxiously sized water thermos.

Mind you, at this point, I'm overwhelmed, I'm frustrated, I'm HOT (in case you didn't get any of that from the previous descriptions).  I slam the water thermos on the dashboard in order to buckle my seat belt and Crack!...goes the window.  That's right, Crack!...goes the window.

It didn't seem possible that the lip of the lid of the thermos had even touched the glass, but in the moment I needed no further proof that it indeed had.  I'm sure hubby would have reamed me out that instant had I not broken down into the most pathetic out burst of tears known to woman kind.

And here is yet another reason why I love my hubby.  He doesn't run from PMS.  He faces it head on.

And then gently reminds me later that slamming things when I'm upset should probably be something I stop doing.

It really should be something I stop doing.

This and the cell phone incident combined are clear proof of that.  However, I'll have to save the cell phone story for another time...