Thursday, October 30, 2014

Surprising Myself

Nothing earth shattering mind you - just the run of the mill, hum drum, "Oh look what Skip can do." kind of stuff.

Having a daughter in college, one in her senior year of HS and paying out over $3,000 a month in insurance and medication fees money is tight.  Damn tight.

And in the words of Mother Hubbard - Skippy's cupboards were bare. Cobweb collecting kind of bare.

Okay, really there just wasn't anything I wanted to make for dinner staring back at me from the fridge or the pantry. We have food - but you know that feeling when you just don't want "that"? That being anything you have when you really want something you don't have?  Yeah, that feeling.

Then I saw a large can of crushed tomatoes.  Hmmmm.....

And I knew I was in the mood for spaghetti with marina sauce.

This was so, so easy and so, so good.

I sauteed one small, diced onion in olive oil - I would have added green peppers too, but Steven threw away the tops to my peppers the other night when he made stuffed peppers for dinner - and after they were translucent I threw in some minced garlic and about a half a pound of hamburger.

Once the hamburger was browned I poured in the crushed tomatoes, and tossed in some dried oregano, basil, salt and pepper.  I decided it was a bit thin so I added two heaping tablespoons of tomato paste and about 1/2 cup of water.

Then I let that bad boy simmer for an hour.

Side note:  My mom used to make homemade sauce when we were growing up. The stuff was amazing, but always made with canned tomatoes.  She was a "city" girl and didn't have access to fresh produce like we do here, so she became accustomed to cooking with canned.  I was blessed with an abundance of garden grown tomatoes from my beloved father in law's garden and spent a large part of the summer making sauces and lasagna with all the stuff we were given.  But I had never attempted sauce with canned tomatoes and have no idea what my mom's recipe included.

This is some good sauce Tadpoles.  And easy!  Impressed the heck out of the family too - always a bonus.  I have always bought canned sauce, until this year [see above] but I am not a fan of the sweet sauces like Prego or Ragu - we would buy Hunt's spaghetti sauce and this made up sauce came close to that, but BETTER.

I realize a lot of you have been doing this for years, but before this summer I had never made my own sauce. And with money so tight I find I have to stretch what I have.  I spend, on average, about $60 per week to feed the three of us - this includes all three meals - breakfast, lunch and dinner, as  Evie and Steven both take their lunches. Thank goodness Steven likes leftovers.

I know this is probably a boring post, but I am quite pleased with myself.  I have never really considered myself a great cook - I am just someone who cooks and bakes a lot.  But that sauce? Is really, really good.

Hope you all have a fabulous Thursday. Smile loudly, life is a gift!
We'll see ya' on the flipside. Love, Janine

Monday, October 27, 2014

October 27th

 Kind of pointing out the obvious aren't I?  Yes, it's today's date.

This day has a great amount of significance to me.  For two very important reasons.

Please allow me to explain, and I hope you understand.

I will start with the best part of this date.

My girl. The daughter I wish I could have added to our [insane] family. A woman who has been with me for over a decade. Someone who makes me smile. Who makes me want to scoop her up in a warm hug and make her cocoa.  A Tadpole of such depth, intelligence and honesty that I am surprised she puts up with my stuff. And for this long? Gawd, I love the girl. I do Yvo. Hope you know that.

I give you Miss Feisty Foodie, Yvo.  Lovely, isn't she? And it's her BIRTHDAY!!!

Yes I stole your pic'. Whatcha' gonna do?

I wish her the happiest of birthdays and hope she is rocking her butt off in NYC - which, if you read her blog, she probably is.  She has amazing friends and they do the funnest stuff, with great NOSHES included.  Friends, food [and alcohol] what could be better. hee

I wish I could call you Yvo and sing [poorly you know] to you! But this is my birthday wish for you. I will never forget your birthday. . .because you are you and I love you. You are my original Tadpole. And I thank you for all you have given me over 10 years.

Now excuse me while I walk down Morose Lane. I'm sorry.
The second half of today falls on my head.

Please understand that I am not trying to take away from our beautiful Yvo, but today is also Senior's birthday.

I know, right?  For those that don't understand, Senior was my first husband. He is father to Sean [JR] and Emily [Squirrel].

He died when he was 38.  On Christmas Eve.  It was the most shocking phone call I have ever received. That memory replays in my head so often.  When I got off the phone I threw the phone at Steven I was so upset. I wasn't aiming to hit him, mind you....just wanted to get it out of my hands because it told me what I never wanted to hear.

I know you all know how tumultuous our marriage was. We were young and scared. I think, sometimes, had we just matured a bit? That he would still be alive and we would still be married. I could have saved him.

That is not said to take anything away from how very, very much I love Steven.  I do. And he understands my emptiness at Senior's death. You know that I love Steven and the blessings he has given me, he isn't a second choice, he is my WORLD - every bit of 20 years -but I had to accept a long time ago that Senior chose to leave me and the kids, when they were babies, for his drugs. That was hard.  I don't think I ever minded for me so much, but the kids?  That wasn't fair.  And what he did afterwards was horrible.

Still? I can say this. . .

He was a good man.  He had his demons. He did.  He treated me and the kids poorly during the divorce [which took so long] and the ensuing years, but I have always known it was because he had an outside influence that he was trying to make happy.

Whenever we were alone together or the three us [me, Senior and Steven] he could be himself. He was witty, kind and loving. He was the *old* Senior I loved so much.  But when the influence was around?  He could be the nastiest son of a bitch I ever met.  His eyes would blaze at me, the words would spew and the only thing that kept him from coming at me, to hit me again, was my beloved Steven, but I could see the apology, the sadness, in his eyes, that he was acting a role for the sake of it and he knew he was hurting me and the kids.  He didn't want to, he just felt he had to...I don't know why he chose what he did over them.

He was a good man.  He worked hard. I have never wanted him back since he was so cruel for so long, but? This day makes me sad.  Because he shouldn't have died so young. He shouldn't have. He had gifts to give to others, he just didn't choose me, Sean Jr or Emmy.  He would be 46 years old today.  I raise a glass to him.  He had a good heart, I never doubted that.  Otherwise I would have never married him. I have always known I have good taste, right?
What prompted me to include Senior in this post is because a very nice FB Tadpole, Iggy, shared this song with me this morning [without having any idea of this day] - and the line "I thought I'd see you one more time. . ." resonated with me. I really thought Senior was timeless and he would always be a part of our lives.  Mean, funny, kind or cruel? I thought he would be here.
And now? 
He isn't.

So, welcome to the roller coaster that will always be October 27th to me.  I truly don't want to take away from Yvo's day, as she is simply the best.

I love you girlie and thank you for bringing such a light to my day, everyday.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Road Trip!

We are off this morning to take Evelyn to her first pick choice of a college, for a tour. She is so excited.
It is Christopher Newport University in Newport News, VA.

We are pretty excited too. Momma not so much for the six hour round trip car ride, but I will be riding in style once we get there because we are taking the wheelchair. No way I am walking that campus. heehee

Got a pic' this weekend when the sissies met up at "Parade of Champions" at James Madison University [Emmy's school] where Evelyn and her band preformed [and yes, we are loving the pink hair :)  ]

I honestly can't believe that we have come this far and our last baby is leaving us in less than a year. I know a lot of you have already done this too, but I can't even imagine what next year is going to be like.

Okay, what else have I got today?  Oh, went on a car ride yesterday - such a gorgeous day and stumbled on this place.  SUCH a hole in the wall, but the parking lot was packed. And if I can get a grilled hamburger and french fries for less than $5 and a Coke for a buck - then this is going to be our new date night spot.  It's called Joe's Place and it is about as big as my living room.

And finally here are two memes I made for Facebook, but haven't shown here - hope you like them.

Okay - that's all I got, but I will update when we get back. I know that car ride is going to throw me into bed for a week. But y'all know me - I can post even when I am flat on my back. heehee

Hugs and love, Janine

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

I Can't Believe it Went There

Yeah, health problems.

What the f*ck else is new?

I was just hoping, praying, throwing pennies in fountains that THIS would NOT happen. I am not joshing about the penny/fountain thing. I have actually prayed this wouldn't happen. And I have thrown pennies, nickels and quarters at it. We actually have a wishing fountain in Orange.

 YAY us. sigh.

And when I explain it further, you all are going to laugh. I would have. About a decade ago.
But it isn't funny.  I can imagine you thinking "REALLY Skip? You can't get through THAT?"

I suppose I have to, but I just didn't want it and it is damn near laying me flat.

The least of my problems is Rheumatoid Arthritis.  When the smallest of your worries is RA? You've got other, more serious sh*t wrong with you. RA is not to be discounted.

Trust me on this. If this was the only thing? I would whine and move along, but c'mon.

But we [Steven, me and the kids] walk through it with smiles, daisies and lollipops. As we always have. Natch.

If you read back through my blog it is very evident I have been in pain for a long time.

Let me stress that . . .A L-O-N-G time.

It surprises me when I read back.  I just thought it was normal aging and none of my doctors caught it. I guess because I "looked so good". Nice going idiots.

SO, to GET TO THE POINT. . . yes Skippy move along.

The arthritis has reached my hips.  MY HIPS. I stress that because gang? IT SUCKS.

Always having to deal with it in my hands, feet, elbows, shoulders and back [I thought my back was bad...holy crap, no....this is worse] I said to Steven time and again "Thank goodness it isn't in my hips. That would suck."

Suck evidently being my favorite word.

I am only writing this because I need to SCREAM.  I actually did the other night. I freaked Steven out when I did it.  He walked into the living room and asked "What the hell was that for?"

'Cause I am a bitch like that. I just had no other release. It hurts so much. There are no words to give him, to explain, nothing. It just hurts Tadpoles.

I curl up in my quilt, with my rosary and my Vikes' pillow and I just can't.

I am doubled over trying to get to . . .the bathroom? The bedroom? The only place I am truly comfortable is flat on my back. For an hour. And then I have to stand up, bent over...walk. And lay back down. WHAT kind of life is this? [yes, still screaming. hee]

I thought child birth was the worst thing I had ever experienced in terms of pain.

Nope. Sit in a chair for a few minutes with this pain and you will feel the need to take a really sharp knife to your legs. It's insane.

I eyeball my good knives [I have two] every single day and wonder....wouldn't that feel better? Couldn't I just stabby stab my hips?  I know that is horrible, but when you live in this kind of pain for so long, you wonder.

Sick, right? Not really.  I don't care that the medical profession has let me down. Their job is to make money and they could give a rat's ass if I get better or worse.  They don't care.

No one deserves this.

Then again no one deserves their head cut off because of ISIS. Right? I know that. I should be counting the pennies I threw in that fountain, instead of crying over this.

How ca In compare the two? To compare my simple pain to those that are being murdered because of a political agenda?

Yeah, I shame myself. I do. I really don't mean it to sound so gross and there are people dying because of genocide in other countries and Ebola and hunger in our own country. . .

But? BUT . . .I weep. I lay my head on the table and sob. I don't understand this pain. I'm sorry I don't have a better description.

This is MY WORLD now. And I don't know what to do with it. It hurts so bad to live in it.

I should be thankful tho'. I know this.

My husband gets very sad seeing me in pain We were talking about something else when he said to me "Janine we have nothing." He was talking about monetary things, as we have lost so much due to medical bills, including the cost of insurance, which we are blessed to have. But our deductibles are so high, due to me.  He doesn't want his friends to think he is a failure. He isn't. You know how I love him. But he wants so much to see me out of this pain and he can't fix it. And that makes him feel powerless.

And I hate myself for that. He is the biggest, best man I know Yet? He spends hours rubbing my joints and my head to make me calm and so I can sleep. After everything else he does.

Want to know a secret?  At night we sit next to eachother and he always reaches over and strong arms my own arm Meaning he pulls it towards him. He rubs it up and down, and if you had any idea what that does for me? You would understand. He doesn't even realize he is doing it. He is focused on the football game or golf or some such stuff. But he will reach out, grab my arm and just rub.  That's nice. If you knew how it made the everything of me feel you would understand what it means that he does it.

I did have to remind him of everything we DO have. Don't you see? I am still here. [Sometimes I tease them and say "Aren't you happy? Mom's still here." It's usually around the time I ask them to unload the dishwasher.] Steven and I have a strong, faith in God and eachother, based relationship. Our eldest is engaged to be married, the two youngest are graduating this year - a roof over our head, food in the fridge. We have it all. Don't we?

And both of us also know what we have, don't get me wrong Tadpoles.

But sometimes I wish we didn't have as much as God has given us.

It is testing everything in my world. It is a hurdle I can't get past now.

Smile loudly. Life is a gift. With a ribbon I would rather not unwrap at this point.

Sorry, not one of my better days.

Love and hugs, Janine

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Conversations I Am Pretty Sure I Shouldn't Have

Of course most of these involve Evelyn/Wallene.

The first one was posted on Facebook, so, sorry for the repeat - stay around for the rest.  I may be arrested at some point.

Sitting around the table eating lunch.
The following conversation ensued. . .
Evie: "My friend was supposed to meet her boyfriend's parents yesterday. But she didn't."
Me: "Why?"
Evie: "Because she said the family went out and accidentally bought a cat."
Me: "How the heck do you *accidentally* buy a cat?"
Dad: What? Did they reach for bananas and suddenly there was a cat there and they accidentally bought that instead?"
Evie: "I'm not sure. But, where do you think the SKU would be?"
Me: "I don't know, never priced a cat, but how funny would it be if the cat was slid across the scanner, butt down, and rang up as $6.99"
I crawled into bed with Evelyn this morning. I wanted her out of bed, and hey - it worked.
Me: " Hi honey. [fiddling with her sleep pants I noticed a mark.] What is up here?" 
Evie:  "Oh. . .that?  I think that's blood."
Me:  "Been out serial killing again? What have I told you?"
Evie:  "Mom? I've explained this. You really need to stay out of my mellophane case."
Me:  "Lou, that's kind of sick. Funny, but sick."
Evie:  "Why do you think our band only consists of 26 members?"
Me: "Because you killed off the ones that sucked?"
Evie: "Pretty much. But really Mom:?  Where do think this comes from?"
Me:  "You watching too many horror movies?"
Evie:  "Netflix is fabulous, isnt' it?
Me:  "I better never read about you in the papers."

Meanwhile, still hanging out in bed with my daughter while she was texting with friends.
Evie:  [heaviest of sighs] Gosh, I just wish this guy would get the point."
Me:  Who?Evie:  This guy keeps texting and the other day he texted 'If I asked you out, what would you say?' "
Me:  What did you respond?
Evie:  No.
Me:  Evelyn that is harsh Couldn't you have said something kinder like "Thanks That's so sweet but no"? I mean really Lou. It takes a lot for guys to ask a girl out.
Evie:  MOM! He is a SOPHmore!!.
Me:  Oh Okay then. I would've texted back "PUHLEESE, are you kidding? Senior here!"
Evie:  [laughing] Now who is being harsh Mom? I didnt' want to find the kid in a puddle somewhere.  I thought saying no was the best route.
Me:  Good point.  But where do find these people?
Evie: Lunch.
Me:  You need to eat somewhere else.


Conversation with Steven on the way home from grocery shopping.  I dressed casually - read: NO BRA - but had a hoodie on, with a zipper.
[For those in the pond that don't know I am about an A cup, and really don't require a bra. Much to my chagrin.]
I looked down and noticed that the zipper had come down all the way to my waist.
Me:  "Honey, can you tell I didn't wear a bra today?"
Steven:  [thinks for a second] "There really isn't a good answer to this question is there?"
Me:  "No, not really, but that is why I asked it."


Smile loudly. Life is a gift we are given.
See ya' on the flipside Tadpoles.
Love and hugs, Janine

Monday, October 13, 2014

Well. . .Jesus Is Clean

I am horrible.
Or irresponsible. . .
or. . .something.

I have a great [or awful, depending how you view this] habit of carrying my rosary around in my pocket.

Yes, I am Catholic. I am very happy and proud of it - it sustains me and means a lot. To me. I don't agree with all of the Church's doctorines, but God means something to me, and although I don't bring up religion or politics - often - on this blog, let's just all agree to walk through together, mmmkay?

But I swear if I don't stop this they may well kick me out of the Church.

As I said I carry my rosary around with me.  All the time.  I am usually wearing a hoodie or a bathrobe, so into my pocket it goes. When I feel the need to pray, I pull it out. Or sometimes pain will strike and I can just reach in my pocket and just holding it, rubbing the beads and talking to Him will make it pass.

It's just me.

The thing is I have three beautiful rosaries.

One is made of wood from an olive tree and my beloved in laws purchased it in Italy when they were visiting.  My MIL presented me with it when Steven and I were going through a very difficult time with his ex wife and custody of the children. This was over 15 years ago, and I wasn't even close to being Catholic. They knew I wanted to be, but never mentioned I wasn't. My mom just leaned over, while in court, placed it in my hand and said "This might help sweetheart."  And it did.

The second is the rosary that my husband bought me when I began RICA classes to become Catholic, back in 2012.  It has grey beads and I keep it in a small pink rosary purse [yes, they actually make these] This is the one that I carry when I drive or anytime I am out of the house.

Then there is the rosary of all rosaries.  The one I pray with the most.  It is a heavy, gold and ruby beaded piece that my [again] in laws gifted me with when I became a Catholic in 2013.  It is an antique and I am not quite sure where they bought it, but that one stays in my rosary pocket of the quilt my lovely Tadpole Mary, and her cousin Anne, made me.  This one never gets washed.

This is the beautiful quilt they made - you can see the rosary pocket and my red rosary peeking out.

However the other two?  Yep, Jesus is getting a bath Often.

I suck, absolutely suuuuuck, at remembering when I do my laundry that they are in there.

Case in point:

Evie went to fold my clothes the other day. She came into the kitchen and said "Mom, you washed Jesus again."

I looked at her and said "What are you talking about?"

Evie replied "MOM! Jesus. Your rosary." And she held up the olive wood rosary.

I was chagrined Okay, I was appalled at myself. Damn. I took it from her and held it up - saying my prayers to the heavens...I mean, who washes Jesus? [and no I am not being flip here I did actually feel bad.]

Then I noticed. . .Jesus was gone.  Oh double damn.  If you don't know the rosary looks like a necklace with a crucifix at the end. You don't wear it as one, but that is the way it is styled.

Jesus had fallen off.  In the wash. Or the dryer? We don't know.  Sadly I haven't found him yet.

Skippy - 0, Going to Hell - WINNING!

I was a bit distressed at this turn of events, but my husband tried to make me feel better after I related the story.

He said "Look at the bright side Skip, now all of our laundry is blessed in holy water."

Not helping, not helping at all.

Then? Sunday night Steven was doing laundry. He sat down with me and he said "I will give you three guesses what I found in the dryer today. Go."

Evie started laughing but I was honestly perplexed. I knew I had my inhaler [another thing I wash often] and my glasses [ditto] . . .so I asked "What?"

Like a magician he revealed the grey rosary, holding it up and asked "Missing something?" with a slight smirk on his face.

I sometimes wonder how they ever let me join.

But Tadpoles? I have the cleanest rosaries in town.

Smile loudly. Lift is a gift.  We'll see ya' on flipside.
Love and hugs, Janine

Saturday, October 4, 2014

And Skippy Teaches Lessons

You know I unabashedly love my kids.

Blah, blah, blah.

We ALL do, and it IS wonderful - we all have damn nice kids and it's probably why we are all friends in this pond.

But sometimes?

I swear on God's little green apples I am ready to stuff one of them in a closet. With a box of crackers and a bottle of water. Sleep on my coats. grrrrr. hee

It's not anger, it's frustration.  Sort of like the "ORLY?" b.s. they write on Instagram and Twitter when they do stuff.

Target of my ::headdesk:: this week? [see? I can do it too!]

YEP! Your's truly, my beloved Evelyn.

First off - the little dink had an extra credit project for an AP English class. She had to read a book and do an art project for it.
Okay...this is a no brainer for her, right?  She even picked a book we had both read, and love.  The Glass House.  A disturbingly wonderful book.  It is a true story and a very good read.

However, Evie had asked to drive [always a time commitment here] and go visit friends for the afternoon. But she made the mistake of mentioning this extra credit project to me beforehand. I told her she had to finish that first.

Um. yeah. Kids.

We discussed it and brainstormed a few good ideas. We both know this book well.
Then she went into her room to create.

She came back less than 30 minutes later and showed me the finished project.

I looked at it and told her "It's fine."
She took it back and said "Fine?"
And I replied "Yeah. It's okay.  What do you want me to do? Applaud because you rushed through something I know you can do better?  This isn't 'everyone gets a trophy for participation' Lou*."

I have to admit. I wasn't happy, and it was only extra credit in a class that she is doing well in, but c'mon.

I let it go.

I was not going to belabor the point - she knew what I meant.  She left it on her desk and went off to visit her friends. I resigned myself to the fact of "whatever".

I have to explain here that I don't believe in telling my kids EVERYTHING they do is perfect, wonderful and first place.  Y'all know me and I love them, but sometimes second place, last place and "life sucks" exists.  Life isn't perfect.  Our kids [yours and mine] do so many wonderful things, but when they aren't up to par, shouldn't we tell them?  When life hands you lemons sometimes the sugar and water isn't there to make lemonade.  I don't want to be the one to be the grinch in their life, but reality exists and not everyone is first.

Anyhoodle. . . to continue the story. . .

I took a nap.  When I woke up it was around midnight, Steven was in bed and I noticed the light was on in Evie's room.  I nudged my head around her door and saw her sitting at her easel watercoloring a picture.

Now, I don't have a problem letting her create when she wants to, but I do have a problem with midnight on a school night, and so I asked "What's up?"

She said "Oh, hi! I got back around 9 pm and Dad went to bed so I decided to redo my extra credit."

I would be a liar if I didn't admit to stepping back outside the door and fist pumping just a bit. YES!

It took her another hour to finish her project, but it was truly representative of the book and it made better sense. That is not my opinion btw, it was hers.

She came home today and told me it was hanging on the "Big Board" [whatever the heck that is] in the English room.  Sounds important - but more importantly she turned in her best work, instead of just throwing out a good scribble.

The second lesson?

When you don't understand how your new car works [Ozcarz - which Evie now owns] and you get cranky at your mom about it? Your mother will take your keys, hand you the owner's manual and explain that there is a 100 question test coming up next week.

And? You have to score an 80 percent or you aren't getting the keys back.

In Evie's defense - she is a fantastic driver, and it was a simple interior light issue that she funked out on, but? Instead of allowing me to explain Ozcarz' features [which I have explained so many times. We lived in that car] she snipped at me.  And it was raining. And she was tired after a 6 hour band practice and I was in pain....and....

Girl? I GIFTED you MY car. Idonotthinkso. No one talks back to da'Mommas. No matter what.

Get your pencil sharpened.  'Cause those keys are burning a hole in my pocket.

So? On a scale of A - F, I think I am rating about a C+ this week.  But can I please have extra credit for answering the phone at 6:20 am the other morning when her sister called "just to talk".  I asked her why she felt the need to "just talk" at that time of the morning and she said "Um, walking to campus and I was bored and I figured you were up with Evie anyway." UM NO.  But it was fun and I will talk to them anytime. It's a gift when they call....still? 6:20 am? Sigh.

Yep.  I love 'em. Couldn't live without them.  But? Rules people. RULES.

It's like the old saying "Parenting without a sense of humor is like being an accountant that sucks at math."

And then I got a surprise tonight - Evie painted me a picture in Art class, on canvas [a canvas she made herself] and told me "It reminds me of you Momma."

The minute I saw it I knew.  It is Alaska and the Northern Lights.  A fellow student offered her money for it and she said no, it was for me.

After she texted me the pic' I told her she had to give me the shirt back [I didn't know she took] and I would buy her another brush [for her hair] if her's was missing. giggle Ah, frantic artist I suppose. But? I still want my shirt back. And of course I praised her picture. She knows*

Smile loudly. Life is a gift.
We'll see ya' on the flipside. Love and hugs, Janine

*Lou is my nickname for Evelyn
And Alaska - well. . .you all know me well enough to know it is one of only 3 things on my bucket list.  I have had to trim my BL down, but that will remain number one until the day I die. I will never see it, but I will have a beautiful rendition of it on my wall, won't I?

So. . .who taught the lesson? I love my family.