Saturday, February 28, 2009

Tommy Shaw, t-ball and tomatoes

Last night was awesome! I went with my brother and the Andersons to a benefit concert for the Las Virgenes schools. The band Venice (an old fav) was hosting the thing, and they were joined by Tommy Shaw, Michael McDonald, Christopher Cross and the Agoura High Band, Calabasas Choir and Brass band. The music was awesome and it was just so nice to see these rock stars come and give their time to raise money for the arts in schools. But beyond that, I got to see Tommy Shaw again. That guy is a rock 'n roll star. You can see musicians and they are great -- doing something you can't do... something you enjoy. But when someone has that "star" presence, it is so great. Tommy Shaw has it. He gets out there with his guitar, his long hair and the guy is in his mid 50's! It is just so fun to see someone doing something that they love and doing it so well. And then they had a couple of the girls from the Calabasas choir doing songs with Michael McDonald and the other musicians and it was awesome... these 16 year olds out there on stage with these musicians and you're thinking, that is amazing... this is something they will carry in their pocket with them for years.
It was just great time.

Today was the opening day for t-ball. Luc is on the Phillies this year and he is doing so much better than last year. It's not like we put any pressure on him, but we do like to see him do well. Phil has been working with him for a few weeks, and all of his skills are improving. He has a couple of buddies on the team with him, and I think that makes it more enjoyable -- it is also more enjoyable for us, since we know some of the parents this year. The offense was great... on defense, there is still a lot of Luc sitting down in the field, putting his hat in front of his face or turning away from the batter to stare down the runner at third. I was constantly yelling "Lucas, stand up!" The kid is a bundle of energy... he never stops moving, so to ask him to stand in the field where there isn't a lot of action is just asking for trouble:) It is all fun, though.

The tomatoes and lettuces have sprouted! Last weekend Amanda and I went and purchased many seeds and a little greenhouse kit (like $6) where you can start your seeds. We started the tomatoes and romaine lettuce. Today as we were working in the garden, I lifted the top and spied a few sprouts. I'm so excited. Phil built my veggie bed last weekend, and plants will be ready to go in the ground in a few weeks. Next will be the cucumber, watermelon, canteloupe and pumpkins. I'm also going to do strawberries and spaghetti squash. This is the first year, so I know there will be trial and error. If I can just get a few edible items, I'll be happy. We decided to do seeds because they are cheap -- better to be out $2 rather than $7 or $8 . And with that $2, you have the potential for many, many plants, whereas the $7 will only get you one plant and if you screw it up... "That's all folks."

Tomorrow we're looking to go on a hike with the kids and the dog and do a bit more yard work. I have some more weeds to pull in the front and then next week we're going to plant an orange tree in the front yard.

Busy, busy, busy... haven't even finished cleaning the mold from the kids' other room. It is taking so long and I know there must be an easier way, I just haven't found it.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Easy supper

You take a spaghetti squash, cut it in half, nuke it seed side down in a half inch or so of water for about 9 minutes (that's my micro). While that is cooking, brown some ground beef or ground turkey. Mix in a small jar of pasta sauce with meat -- I like the small jar from Trader Joe's just enough sauce in there. When squash is done, scoop out the seeds. Then scrape the insides so the "meat" comes out like spaghetti. Put half of squash in bottom of casserole dish (spray it first). Top with half of meat mixture, then half a container of cottage cheese, 1/2 cup mozz. cheese. Repeat those layers and then top with a bit of parm. Plop it in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes.
Dinner is done. You've got your veggies and your protein in one dish. Add some bread and fresh fruit and the kids are happy.

This fed our family of four, plus, a bit for the dog and enough leftovers for Phil or I tomorrow.

Next time I make spaghetti squash I'm going to take the seeds out before I cook it and plant them. This squash can get a bit pricey -- mine tonight was over $5. But if I grow it myself, then this dinner would be even cheaper. I'm going to experiment with ways to make it meatless. Trying to think of what else could go in there that isn't too fatty (the cheese is enough) but is filling.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


When it hits, it hits like a ton of bricks.
Came out of left field this time... been doing well for months, despite some stress in everyday life.
Need to get out and exercise or set aside some time for meditation, but there doesn't seem to be any time.
Kids, work, still have room with no carpet and the floors in there need to be cleaned. Garden planning began last weekend, but now I'm feeling overwhelmed. Things are tight, just like they are for everyone. Just spoke to a woman yesterday whose husband has been laid off for 3 months -- he was the sole income earner. She doesn't seem too stressed at all. Felt like slapping myself for even thinking about complaining.
Hope I can come out of the funk soon.

Monday, February 23, 2009


"Ha, ha, Amanda. Your balloon doesn't float anymore."

"Lucas, I'm... I'm going to slap you in the face tomorrow!"

I'm interested to see what happens tomorrow:)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Vagina monologues and we are rich

I typed up a whole post that was really quite funny and wasn't pornographic in any way -- despite the title of this post. But I just deleted it because I remembered that this is a public blog. I don't think there are many readers out there and the readers I do have, I know and wouldn't be freaked out by. But who knows who else might be reading that I don't know. So, if you know me, email me and I'll tell you the story. Maybe it isn't even funny unless it happened to you.

Anyway, today I got some good work done. The kids made it to school, even though they are still hacking something awful. I think a call to the doc might be in order tomorrow. Also, I have to make a call to the vet because our dog seems to be scratching her ears something fierce. Lordy!
We had some good friends to dinner last night and as I was cooking up a storm, the roof started to leak. Lordy! Phil and Jake headed up to the roof and put a tarp up. A temporary fix, but one that will have to do for a bit. I know I have it really good, which is what keeps me from freaking out too bad, what with the mold and the leaky roof. My mom will call and say, "I can't believe you aren't loosing your mind!!!" Great pep talk, Mom! But I can't lose my mind. I have roof over my head (a leaky roof, but a roof), good food on the table, smart, beautiful children, a patient, loving husband and more than one pair of shoes. We have a car, a dog and a fish. The boy has a bike and both kids have scooters. We have cable tv, and a dvd player. We have an awesome public library, internet access, two jobs and some of the best friends a body could ask for. We have wonderful parents, even though we might poke fun at them sometimes. We are rich.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

May I vent? Of course I may... this is my blog and all I seem to use it for is venting. I'm sorry for you all, but it helps me so that I don't go pouting about the house. We have enough pouting from the kids, I don't need to add to the problem.

My nightmare began late last week when I discovered mold in many rooms of our house. No problem, I can tackle it just fine. I forgot that I have kids. I could easily have tackled this problem on the three day weekend if I was on my own, but with the little ones demanding attention and food throughout the day, it doesn't leave much time for actual work.
I decided to put things off a bit. We moved a little bit of furniture yesterday and then we just hung about the house and played. In the evening we decided we would take advantage of the Time Warner 1 cent movie and order dinner. The kids decided on the Pink Panther with Steve Martin. They were very excited and we all settled with our dinner at a little portable table. Holy smokes, the movie doesn't work. Did I pay my bill? Yes. It seems they were having technical difficulties but were working the problem. The kids were mighty disappointed, but I told them we could watch the movie the next day (today). We settled on a video and had a nice Valentine's dinner.
Today I woke up ready to tackle the carpet, after I made pancakes and tried again to watch a 1 cent movie. Again, no dice from Time Warner (they suck!). Anyway, after everyone was fed I began to move the rest of the furniture and toys from the kids' room. The furniture and toys are placed all throughout our very humble abode. I pulled up the carpet rather quickly, but, as I recalled from the last time I did this, the carpet tack strip is a biotch! As I tackled that, the kids decided to destroy the house. I do not jest. There were toys and dress up clothes, kick-boards, mcdonald's toys... everything you could imagine strewn about the house. Actually I shouldn't use the word "were" because everything is still in disarray. I did manage to finish removing the tack strip. After I finish my beer and this note I'll move on to cleaning the mold off the floor. Tomorrow I'm sure I'll have to bleach the floor yet again, wait for it to dry and then sweep up.
As I was in the room, I noticed that the walls look very dingy. I'm thinking I should paint while I'm at it. Phil will absolutely freak if I mention this to him -- if you know my husband, you know what I'm talking about. But it's not as if I ask him to help (though he does try), he just doesn't like the disorder.

The nightmare won't end for many, many weeks. I'm going to have to pull up all the carpet. And that's not all. I have a garden to attend to. The weeds are beginning to threaten my children.

But it's not all bad. We escaped for a bit this afternoon for a bite to eat and a trip to the park. We then headed over to visit some friends for a bit and we invited them for dinner tomorrow. Aack! What was I thinking??? I now have to clean my house, something that this mold problem has stopped me from doing. And don't get me started on the laundry....

Hope you had a nice Valentine's day!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Dogs and Mold Part Deux

Dogs are so funny. Say you throw your dog a ball -- it is facing you when you throw it and then it quickly turns to run, not seeing that there is a chair right in the path it plans to take to get to the ball. The dog runs into the chair, quickly corrects itself and goes to retrieve the ball. It's a beautiful thing. There is no self-consciousness there, no need to make some self-deprecating comment. No, they just make the mistake and move on, never looking back. I think I need to take some lessons from my dog.

On to the mold. My son has been fighting a cough for more than 2 months now. We all got a bad cold right before Christmas and it took all of us quite a while to get rid of the lingering cough. We felt fine, but at night we couldn't stop coughing. Anyway, my son is still having problems. The doc doesn't hear anything in his lungs. Last night I mentioned it to my mom and she asked if I thought there could be mold elsewhere in the house.
You may have read about my mold problem last year here. At the time, I pulled up the carpet in a few other areas of the house and it seemed OK. Well, I guess I wasn't looking hard enough, or maybe I didn't want to find any. Today I found more. A lot more. It is all through the room my kids now sleep in, in the master bedroom, in the family room and part of the living room. It doesn't seem to have spread to the hallway. Now, I didn't tear up all the carpet, but the mold seems to be only against walls with windows. Most of those walls are near areas where we have sprinklers for our outside vegetation. I was freaking out earlier today and wanted to tear it all up right away and start cleaning. My mom said to hold off because I have to go about it the right way in order to make sure the mold spores don't get into the air more than they already are. I did some research and it seems like it is going to be a hell of a job. We'll have to seal off each area where we are working and then wear masks. We'll have to do one room at a time. I didn't do this in the playroom because, well, what the hell do I know about mold?
I gave the news to my husband this afternoon and he was quite upset. His main concern seemed to be that we can't afford to put in any flooring right now. I told him fine, we'll live on concrete floors for a year or two. In my head, that is what I figured we would do. But he made some comment about how I'll be upset about that and it will start to bother me before too long. I got really peeved with him about his comment and we had a little tiff. But after I had some time alone, I realized I was probably mad because I know he is right. I do let stupid stuff like, what my house looks like, get to me. I'm working on it and I think I'm getting better. I hope I am. Anyway, in the coming weeks, we'll be pulling up carpet and cleaning concrete. The playroom was quite a task, so to do the rest of the house is going to suck. We'll live with concrete floors for a while but that's fine. I'll get a few rugs and hopefully that will spruce things up a bit.
But I know I'm going to have dreams of moldy aliens invading my house.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Going against my nature

So, I'm totally going against my nature right now and typing this as dinner dishes sit in the sink. I usually have a rule that I clean up the kitchen as Phil puts the kids to bed, so that the task is done before I sit down to the laundry list of things I have to do. Not that I have to do this, but after a day home with a sick kid, I need a little fun.

Not too much work has gotten accomplished this week. First, I lost a day with Luc coming home early on Monday and then today was shot because Amanda was home sick. The house is wrecked and the dress I had been working on for Amanda to wear on Valentine's day is still only 1/2 finished. I don't see how I'm going to finish it, since I still have to put a zipper in and I haven't done a zipper before. The kids will be home Friday because the school district likes to give them a gift of a four-day weekend. Too bad all the moms and dads then have to use up precious vacation time to stay home. And with the economy all shot, I'm sure there will lots of staycations this President's day weekend. We decided to scratch the trip to Vail:)

I did manage to make dinner at home again and the kids are liking everything lately. In the past, we have eaten out about 2 meals a week. Usually we do pizza one night and then eat one lunch out on the weekend. Like everyone else, we are cutting back and have managed to eat out only once in the past 2 weeks. But, of course that means more work for the home cooks and cleaners. Not only do you have to cook your own food, but you don't get the luxury of coming home to a clean kitchen after having eaten out.
Anyway, I love to cook, so that isn't the problem. The problem is coming up with new and exciting (and somewhat healthy) meals that the kids will eat. Like I said, they are good eaters, but I haven't given them anything too adventurous because their wee little tastebuds aren't fully formed. Tonight we had quiche with a potato crust. It had broccoli and corn and a bit of bacon, just for fun. Last night was fettuccini alfredo with soybeans, before that we did a stew and there have been quite a few nights of spaghetti. I want to do less meat these days, but the kids don't go for fish. I didn't either when I was their age.
I'm not the kind of person who likes to repeat a dish more than once every few weeks, so that is where the problem is. I guess it is my problem, though, because Phil and the kids would eat a handful of things over and over again. But I'm the one in the kitchen and I don't want it to be boring. Any ideas for good meatless dishes out there? If so, send them my way!

Monday, February 09, 2009

Long day and haters

I'm grabbing a few minutes while Phil puts the kids down. He got home rather late, so we both had long days. He just finished a joke with the kids. Each person says the next number before the noun "the sandbox". He starts, "I one the sandbox" Luc.. I two the sandbox, amanda, I three the sandbox and on until Luc got to I eight the sandbox. The room filled with laughter. Not just a giggle, which is what escaped me as I listened, but eyes watering laughter. Oh kids, sometimes they are so simple.

I was digging into work when I got a call at 9:30 this morning. It was Luc's school. Apparently he got into an altercation with a doorknob (although it's more of a handle than a knob) and had a cut and swollen eye. The poor lad couldn't keep his eye open too well, so I decided I had to take the day off and take him home. It's been raining here for days and I must admit that I was happy to see the two kids off to school this morning, not just so I could get work done, but also so they could be stimulated and I could get some peace. Instead, Luc and I spent money we don't have at the bookstore -- it was fun. We then ate lunch, picked up Amanda, came home and played (well, they fought a lot), made brownies, ate brownies, delivered brownies to some neighbors and a cousin, came home and watched spongebob (they watched, I made dinner), and then read books until Phil came home about 7. Doesn't sound too taxing, does it. It wouldn't be if they little rugrats could keep from fighting. I guess it is a blessing in disguise. On days where the planets align correctly and they get along fabulously, I totally enjoy it more than I think I would if it were an everyday occurance. I just have to keep telling myself that.

On to the hate -- my hate and other people's hate.
We drove over to my brother's house today to drop off some brownies and pick up my camera charger, which I had left there on Superbowl Sunday. Whilst we were there, my bro's neighbor dropped by. Now, this guy is a nice enough fellow. He's very helpful in the neighborhood and even came by my place one day to fix a broken fence that had confounded Phil and I. However, he and I are completely opposite when it comes to politics. The thing about him, though, is that he is quite insulting to anyone who doesn't think the same way he does. Today he was talking about Obama's town hall meeting. Now, I didn't see it, so I couldn't comment, but he starts talking about how Obama held the meeting in a place where the people are all lazy good for nothings who should die. I asked him what he meant, and he said that they were union workers and all union workers would be better off dead, or something like that. Then he went on to say that anyone who believes in unions is stupid and also better off dead.
I didn't have time to debate him, because I was headed out the door, but I was aghast.
OK, if you don't think unions are good, that is fine. I'm not sure exactly how I feel, I guess it depends on the day and the situation. But to call people lazy because they belong to a union is just crazy. I'm sure most of those people are as hardworking as anyone and maybe even more.
But all this isn't what got me. It was him wishing these people dead. I have a big problem with people who wish others dead for no good reason. I don't know why, but it sits really bad with me, even if it is in jest. I just don't like it. My husband is totally guilty of this and he knows it pisses me off, which is probably why he does it. We'll see an add for an Adam Sandler movie and he'll say something like, "I wish that guy was dead." Or something about Oprah, and he'll say, she just needs to die. Now, why? If I don't like someone, I don't wish them ill, and certainly not dead. Is this a common thing? Am I in the minority by not wishing everyone who I don't like -- and mostly people I don't even know -- dead?
The problem I think is that our world is already filled with hate, I don't want to speak hatefully even in jest. I want us to be better than that.

Thursday, February 05, 2009


I've been reworking some things in my book. I'm up to 3200 words tonight and only half of it is shit, so that is really, really good. I either write 4000 words of crap or 200 words of the good stuff. so, 1600 words of stuff that may stay in the book is a banner night!!!

Tonight was science night at Lucas' school. It was pretty cool. They had this group come in and they had all these awesome experiments set up for the kids to get involved in. It was a totally hands on (and free) experience. Both of the kids loved it. Lucas was so into making molecules -- they had this cool book that had pictures of the molecules and then tools to make them -- and one of the science dudes (I didn't ask if he was a scientist, but he was wearing a lab coat, glasses and seemed very nerdy) was marveling at Lucas' level of concentration and success at copying the molecules pictured. They kids also played with some funky solid/liquid substance. I can't describe this stuff, but it was freakin' cool. I want to learn how to make it.
There were all kinds of experiments with air, motion, senses, chemistry. Some of it was a bit beyond Amanda, but Lucas was definitely interested. I'm thinking his switch to the science and technology magnet next year will be a good thing.

Monday, February 02, 2009

President Obama...

Dear President Obama,

If you tell Tom Daschle that he is out and you'll have to choose someone else as Health Secretary, I'll be behind you 100%.
But, if you continue to support him, it will plant the seeds of doubt in my head.

I support you and I'm happy you are our president, but this cannot stand. You speak of the crooks on wall street and you speak of the American people needing to buckle down and do the work that needs to be done to save our economy but yet, you support people who break the law. That doesn't pass muster with me.

Okay, so he paid the money back... good thing for him he had it. What if he didn't? Would he be in jail like any other American who made a "mistake" and didn't pay enough taxes?
If you want a clean start and you want to win the trust of Americans, you cannot stand behind Tom Daschle. Maybe it was an honest mistake. We all make mistakes, but we must pay for them. You can't start of this way. Please don't. You are making my heart heavy. You've already had one dude put in place who didn't pay his taxes. The stimulus package put forth by your party doesn't have nearly enough in there for creating jobs quickly for the American public. You voted for TARP, which hasn't done much. Please, give me a reason to keep on believing in you.