Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Pre-fab sugar cookies

With the holiday season upon us, I find that my deficiencies are magnified.  (Although those of you who actually read this on a semi-regular basis are probably wondering how the holiday season is different from any other day of the week in the magnifying my deficiencies arena.)  In particular, I realize I was not meant to be a “homemaker.”  -At least not one that cooks, cleans, or makes decorations for the home.

I was at the grocery story trying to buy unprocessed foods for my family when I walked by the ready-made cookie dough.  I am supposed to make two-dozen cookies for a church activity on Thursday.  As I slowed down between the refrigerated area and the baking goods aisle, I started to question my development as a sugar cookies manufacturer.  From the age of ten to about eighteen, I made sugar cookies by myself.  I rolled out the batter, cut them into Christmas shapes, baked them, re-rolled and cut the dough until there was only a tiny bit left, baked all those, made homemade frosting in multiple colors, frosted and decorated the cookies and then cleaned the whole mess up.  (My mother didn’t thank me enough for this, by the way)  I did this every year like clockwork.  In fact, I have an unhealthy addiction to frosted sugar cookies due to this habit, I believe.  So with this as my background, I wonder why have less than zero desire to make sugar cookies now.  I used to love it and now it is a pain to buy the tube of dough and roll it out a few times to make a couple tree shaped cookies.  Am I giving up on a cherished tradition by not making the dough by hand?

And then I remembered the book I read on the biography of Betty Crocker.  She isn’t a real person, by the way.  It was more a history of the corporation, but I am going to personify the company because they have and why stop a good thing?  So women used to pride themselves by how good a cake they could make, according to Betty.  Many women wouldn’t use a mix when they first came out for shame of it all.  At the same time, many people found that the mixes worked better and tasted better because all of the ingredients were regulated and sifted nicely.  (I personally think brownie mixes are generally better than homemade.)  It saved women time to use the mix and many found it to be a luxury.  Now when we bring a “homemade” cake to an event, it is generally from a box.  (Unless your name is Gail Welch; then it is made from scratch no matter what.)

So I thought about this history and realized that I was simply carrying on the evolutionary process, as it should be by using pre-made sugar cookie dough.  This was created to ease my life, which is hard enough when making sugar cookies with three children.  I still make the frosting by hand, but now I only make green, red and white instead one of every color in the food-coloring box.  Stars can be white instead of yellow.  I have spoken.  And I really only like to make the frosting because I like the cloud the powdered sugar makes.  I can pretend I am inhaling a different white powder and then pretend nothing bothers me for the rest of the day.

So I guess this is not a deficiency.  It shows how adaptable I am to evolutionary changes. I do, however, still have issues with tadpoles turning into frogs, but only when they are doing so in a bowl in my kitchen.  In fact, next year I may buy the pre-cut sugar cookies to show how evolved I am (and to make one less thing I have to clean up).

Now if I could just figure out how to make Rhodes rolls (pre-made frozen rolls you just have to defrost and stick in the oven at 350 for 15 minutes which supposedly every Mormon on the planet knows how to make except for maybe three.)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Macey's Thanksgiving Turkey

I am sitting at my kitchen table looking at the snow, while my three year old watches Iron Man 2 – don’t judge me.  What’s more worrying is that I find myself strangely attracted to Mickey Rourke in this film.  That is what you should be judging me for, not the fact that I am knowingly raising a delinquent. 

It is negative gazillion outside and I need to go to the store for Thanksgiving.  I have to buy everything I will need for a small family of 5 Thanksgiving.  This is not very easy because I do not want to gain the ten pounds I have lost by counting the points that Big Brother, a.k.a. Weight Watchers, has given to every food created.  So I can’t buy a ready-made pie, because my family does not eat pie.  I may not finish off the mashed potatoes but I could very easily sit down with the pie pan three fourths full and finish it off while reading a nice book.  Or a trashy book.  Or both, depending on the size of the pie.  So I am going to make a Weight Watchers pumpkin pie.  It has graham cracker crust, but the rest seems to be the same.  If I don’t eat for the rest of the week, I can have as much pie as I want.  Maybe two.

I was going to buy a turkey breast because three of our five do not understand how much you are supposed to eat at Thanksgiving yet.  Katherine will ask if she has to eat everything on her plate and Seth will have his Storm Trooper hiding in the potatoes before I have to loosen the top button of my jeans.  When I bring out the “pumpkin pie,” they will ask for chocolate cake.  Or just the frosting.  Or maybe just Thanksgiving decorated Oreos. 

So here is my dilemma:  do I make the traditional foods, like pumpkin pie, or do I make cupcakes that the kids will like more?  In five or so years, they will be addicted to the traditional foods and then all will be well.  But I have to go through the next five years.  I think I should have gone to my parents.  Then there would have been more people there and they would have succumbed to peer pressure.  Actually, tradition has been eroding from my parents’ house lately.  My sister brings a Costco pumpkin pie instead of making one.  That is almost as bad as making a pie with a graham cracker crust, in my personal opinion.  I don’t care if Costco makes a good pie.  Thanksgiving is the time for homemade food and if you can’t cook, it is the time to eat someone else’s homemade food.  That is the spirit.

So now I am stuck in negative weather, writing down ingredients for recipes I can eat more of while Big Brother is watching.  When really I should be writing stories about other people’s Thanksgivings, selling those stories, and ending up in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.  I want to be on the big paper Mache turkey whose wings flap and the head moves from side to side.  I think that is a nice attainable goal.  It’s good to keep your goals attainable during the holiday season.  If you don’t, you end up eating the whole Costco pumpkin pie your sister brings.  In a closet.  Behind the bathrobe.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Improving my Internet Personality

So I am trying to get my name out there more than it is.  I am social networking and commenting and figuring out how the Internet works.  I am realizing that while I do this, I may actually have to think about what I write.  I mean, the Queen of England is on Facebook according to Entertainment Weekly. What if she reads what I write? I can’t actually find her, though.  When you put in her name - Elizabeth Alexandra Mary – all sorts of pages come up for her.  I want to friend her, though, because I want to get an invite to the wedding next year.  So far, it does not look like it is going to happen.

Any who – I have to actually concentrate on what I write now.  For instance, I just wrote the entry on sewing.  I think that if I write entries on domestic issues, people will think I am domestic.  The whole point of the Internet is to let you create a reality that is only on your computer.  I am domestic, tall, no body fat, and my hair is long and flowing and I don’t have to do a thing to it and it looks amazing.  I love the Internet.

What was I saying?  Ah, yes.  So I now realize I should think about what I write.  Here is the rub:  I slept from 3am to 7am last night.  I have been doing that a lot these last two weeks due to the fact that I live in such domestic bliss with perfect children who shower regularly and go to bed when asked that I lie awake at night thinking of its wonderfulness – once again, I love my Internet reality.  Surprisingly enough, when you have had the amount of sleep required for a normal female for one night splattered among three, not only should you probably not operate large machinery in a snow storm, you should probably not write.  At least not if you are thinking of posting it on the World Wide Web.  It may hurt your Internet personality.  People may think my hair is not flowing.

So I have come up with a plan.  I just gave my three year old his brother’s DS; I put a two hour video on repeat play; and I am drinking drug laced hot chocolate (it is a special Swiss Miss flavor only found in Canada.).  I have one hour and ten minutes before I am in charge of picking up the kids in said snowstorm.  I can nap for the one hour and I will take the ten minutes and get a Diet Coke on the way to the school.  After all I am a responsible adult.  (Ooh, just added new characteristic to online persona.)  And then I will write an entry that I will post and it will be coherent and everyone will love it and it will make me one million dollars.  Or maybe I should stop buying my Swiss Miss in Canada.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sewing at the behest of the Red Baron.


Today I received an ad from the local sewing store that specializes in quilting and Bernina sewing machines.  When I first moved to Helena, I went to this store to take a class in quilting and perhaps make friends.  I tried many things when I moved to Helena and I figured this would be as good as scrapbooking.  I didn’t meet anyone at this first class, but I bought an insane amount of incredibly expensive fabric that sat in my basement for the next four years.  Last winter, I decided to start up again.  I broke my Wal-Mart sewing machine and went to my sewing store to buy a Bernina.  I didn’t realize that I needed to talk to my banker before I went.

I was shocked at how much sewing machines can cost.  I was raised by a mother who sews, but upon research at the store, I realized she only sewed straight lines.  Sometimes a zig-zag.  She could have sewn patterns and embroidered and made little Mickey Mouse characters had she taken out a second mortgage.  When I took my “Get to Know my Sewing Machine” class, a woman in there had to choose between a new car and a new sewing machine.  She chose the sewing machine.  I have another friend who can either go skiing in Switzerland or get an upgraded sewing machine.  It shocked me.  Just shocked me.  I looked at my sewing machine, a nice general bottom of the line that could only do 56 fancy stitches and did not have a computer screen that would either spell your name in French but using Chinese characters or possible start Global Thermal Nuclear War by putting the thread on incorrectly.

Sitting in the class reminded me of high school when I used to look around to make sure I had better jeans on than at least one member of the class.  I was looking at all of the numbers on the machines to see if mine was higher than the person next to me.  If it was the lowest one, I would pick it up and carry it out of there.  Luckily, I could do that.  The nicer ones come with huge carrying cases making it harder for a quick get-away.  Of course, if you have a nicer one, you don’t need to get away.  You sit a little farther away from your machine so people can see the number and the cool computer screen.  Like the kids with the Forenza jeans always tucked their shirts in.  Jerks.

So I got the coupon in the mail tell me I could get 35% off.  That is a good deal.  Coupons are usually 10% or 15% with an occasional 25% for your birthday.  But then I read the fine print.  I had to spend $200.  In other words, I just needed to buy another foot for my sewing machine.  That is another way I know my mom wasn’t a true sewer.  She only had 3 feet for her machine.  To be a true sewer, you need at least 22 with one on order.  I even have 6.  I know how to use 2.  But as everyone knows, it is how many you have, not what you can do with them.  (Although I think I can sew a straight line with all of them.)

So there you have it.  I have found myself in the middle of a huge conspiracy created by the Red Baron, I believe, to make me buy a sewing machine that can start WW III once I purchased foot # 243.   Curse you Red Baron.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

How to Decorate for Thanksgiving and be the Envy of the Neighborhood

I have been trying to find a way to decorate for Thanksgiving.  I don’t want to do much because I don’t really like Thanksgiving decorations and it is only up for three weeks before the five bins of commercialized Christmas décor comes out.  I don’t want to have to put much away (because these xmas bins are HUGE.)

So this year, I thought, maybe I should do something unique.  I should do something to represent the state I live in.  I should get a live turkey and put it in my front yard.  (I’m sure that was what everyone else was thinking I should do as well.)  I started to look into it.

I knew I would need a cage, but I didn’t want a small one.  It would make me sad seeing a live Turkey in a tiny cage in the middle of my yard.  I thought I would get one of those metal ones my neighbor has for her yorkie.  It is almost like a child gate, but metal and bigger.  I know turkeys don’t fly, but I think I have seen a few jump, so I may have to wire two of them together.  I have never seen a turkey jump over a wooden house fence, so I figured this would do.  Never mind that I have never seen a turkey in a neighborhood with wooden fences, but I still thought my reasoning was sound.

I then thought about the food.  I shouldn’t have a problem there.  I live half a mile from a ranch super store that sells poultry every spring.  Live poultry.  Live baby poultry.  You know, chicks and ducklings and stuff.  Just to make sure you know what this live baby poultry is for, they label each animal with the best way to cook it after it has matured.  The cutest chicks every year, hands down, are good for stews.

I also thought of the poop issue.  I can’t get my 3 ½ year old to use a toilet, so I was pretty sure I would have no control over this issue with a live turkey.  I decided to not think about this problem.  (Which is how I am handling the same issue with my 3 ½ yr old.)

And finally how would I get a live turkey?  I thought I could call my friend Cathy who lives on a ranch.  She owns over 56 billion acres.  There has GOT to be a turkey somewhere on her land. 

I had all my bases covered.  I was going to have the greatest Thanksgiving lawn ornament EVER and then we could eat it for Thanksgiving.  Perfect.  But then a neighbor reminded me that I live in the Helena city limits and there are laws about these things.  I’m not supposed to have livestock or farm animals in my yard.  I argued that it would be classified as a lawn ornament.  She didn’t agree.  I then told her it was a holiday decoration, thinking this would appeal to the side of her that puts so many Christmas decorations out that you can’t actually see the lawn.  She still didn’t agree.  I told her I would give her all the white meat.  She said that the manure on the lawn would cause a health hazard.  I asked her what would happen if there was no manure on the lawn.  She looked at me like I was insane and walked away. 

So now I have no Thanksgiving decorations.  I have decided to look ahead to Christmas, however.  Now if I could just figure out how to get live reindeer to stay on my roof, I will be in business.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Naked Confidence

When is nudity no longer appropriate?  There is a certain age where your parents start to tell you that you are no longer allowed to answer the front door nude.  I don’t remember when this occurred for me.  I do remember that I started telling Katherine to cover-up between her 4th and 5th birthdays. 

I started thinking about this today when Seth’s friend Lily came over.  I answered the door with Seth, completely naked, standing behind me.
“Hey, Lily,” Seth said.
Lily nonchalantly walked by as she waived to Seth.
Seth followed her to the couch, leaned against it, crossing his legs.  It was a very studly pose even for a naked three year old.
“So how is your cat?” Seth asked.
“She’s good,” Lily said.
“What is her name?” Seth asked.
“Jasmine,” Lily said.

The conversation went on for a bit longer until I decided to get Seth dressed.  I decided that his naked confidence shouldn’t be hindered.  It takes a real man, or a real three year old to be so nonchalant about nudity.  Of course it helped that Lily was just as nonchalant.  Makes me wonder what goes on in their house.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I am thankful for Beverly Hills


A lot of people have been writing what they are thankful for this month because of Thanksgiving.  That really isn't my thing but I have decided to give it a try.

Today I am grateful for day long marathons of Beverly Hills 90210, the original.  My last couple of days have not been the greatest and I may have even been feeling blue and discouraged.  I should be editing and writing something completely different, but I haven't been feeling up to it.  So I went down to the basement, turned on the tv and decided the BH 90210 sounded good.  (You know you are really depressed when BH 90210 sounds good.)  Within the first fifteen minutes, I felt better about myself.  I am not teaching ten guys on how to pick up girls.  I am not rolling around on a beach with some guy trying to pretend I don't have sand in some really bad places.  I am not dating some guy who lives in the house Brandon and Brenda originally vacated.  (I didn't really follow the show in the later years so I am slightly confused as to who this guy is.  I'm starting to think that Kelly can only date men who live in the original Walsh's house.)  I, unlike Dylan, have not walked into a stranger's house with a gun and threatened them and then found out it was a huge misunderstanding.  Wait, now another couple are making out in the Walsh house.  Steve lives there.  I think I have missed out on a lot of plot points not watching this for the last fifteen years.

Wait.  I am no longer grateful for marathons of Beverly Hills 90210.  It just made me realize that this show was on twenty years ago.  I was in high school twenty years ago.  That means I am really old.  Not as old as the guy who owns the Peach Pit, but still.  And I have no clue what I have to show for the last twenty years.  I think I need to be drinking whatever David is drinking and then turn the channel to something more relevant:  The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Night Fishing

So what does one do when you and your beloved don’t enjoy the same things AND you are WAY past the part of courtship where you feel the need to pretend?  After I spent a weekend hunting with my hubby right after marrying him, I decided there were some things that he should experience on his own.  I also decided I would never eat deer meat again.  Or go camping in Northern Idaho in October.  I decided a lot of things on that trip.

One might say that each doing what they enjoy without forcing the other spouse to do it as well would be the best conclusion.  You, however, would be naïve.  If I never went with my beloved on horrible excursions, we would probably never see each other.  Tuesdays and Thursdays are kid activities and dental and board meetings.  Wednesday is scouting for Kevin because he is the leader.  Some Mondays are dental meetings and some Kevin just works late.  It gets to the point where you schedule time together.  The problem occurs when your spouse wants to also schedule things he enjoys doing with the time together.

This is how I ended up on a two person-fishing vessel in a lake while eating dinner.  Kevin wanted to make a romantic dinner for two on this fishing vessel.  There was a slight problem with this, however.  Every time Kevin stood up or moved, I thought for sure the boat would tip.  I do not enjoy this feeling.  To add to this, Kevin actually fished.  He picked up a worm, put it on a hook and then handed me a plate for food.  Ick.

The next step is to get the worm in the water.  His first cast was towards me and so I was dripped on as the line went out of the water and over my head to settle in front of me.  He very graciously did not do that again.

It didn’t get better when he actually caught a fish and got it in the boat and it flapped around and tipped over his plate, the stuffed grape leaves and the salad.  He was going to let the fish go but it was a decent size and after the fish destroyed my meal, I suggested it should die.  So it did.

It got dark and incredibly cold and so we drove the floating vessel back to the dock.  Kevin let me know how much he enjoyed himself and I told him that I was glad he did.  He then made the HUGE mistake of asking me if I enjoyed myself.  I mistakenly did not lie.  I said that it was an “interesting” evening.  He asked if I enjoyed any of it.  I didn’t say I enjoyed the sugar cookie I had, that is, until I found out it is 11 weight watcher points.  So now after going on a romantic fishing trip –yes, I know it is an oxymoron- the rest of the ride home was quiet. Perhaps one might say uncomfortably quiet. 

So I figure fair is fair.  He must now do something I enjoy that he does not.  I, however, will not make the mistake of asking if he enjoys it.  I do not care.  As long as I get sparkle toes, he can do whatever he wants at The Nail Shop.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

I'm a Loser Baby

So I did something today that makes me feel like a failure.  What is interesting is that when I hear other people doing this, I think: "Good for you!  You are taking care of yourself!  How inspiring!"  When I did it, I felt like I was admitting I couldn't go it alone and I needed to pay a weekly fee to get where I want to go.

I joined Weight Watchers.  I have a friend who has lost 10% of her body weight and another friend who met her goal and I decided to actually do something about my own failure to lose weight.  During the last year, I have been the same weight no matter what.  I think I have lost tons and I have lost none.  On the plus side, I think I have gained tons, and I am the same.  After buying a treadmill and asking a friend to help me make a table for it so I can walk and write at the same time, I decided to work on the food intake.

I went to my first meeting today.  I took Seth because I didn't know what else to do with him at 9am right after the others went to school.  I do not believe I will be attending this meeting anymore.  Seth decided he was hungry.  I had a sandwich and grapes for him.  He grabbed some Twizzlers left over from the drive from Idaho and walked into the class based on how to deal with Halloween candy.  It was very inspiring with Seth being an example of what not to do.  I sat on the floor and hid behind everyone.

So explain to me why joining WW makes me feel like a failure?  I have decided to be proactive and actually be public about my desire to do something which are all wonderful, positive things.  But I feel like I couldn't do it myself and therefore I am a loser.  (And yes I know my goal is to be a loser of weight.  Great play on words everybody.  I am laughing on the inside.)  Why do I feel like I have to do everything myself?  I have decided to try and do nothing myself to try and break me of this feeling of guilt.  I appreciate any help you may give me.  I need dinner in 4 hours.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I Heart Truckers.

This will be short but sweet.  I learned at the social networking class that I should blog more than I do.  Of course none of the people who told me this actually do blog very much.  I believe they mostly tweet.  Or twit.  or twat.  I am working on that.  The more I learn about the web the more overwhelmed I become.  I can attach my facebook page to my blog page to my twitter account and back again.   There is Digg and Stumbleupon and tumblr and I am sure that someone is creating another one right now.  I can also be Linkedin which I am but I am unsure what it means or how it works.

I remember when I had to be home to answer the phone.  I am THAT old.

So now instead of blogging about raising a family or about my life, I am no longer raising a family or having a life because I am spending my time trying to figure out what I am supposed to belong to, what my privacy settings are and how this will all help me to become a famous columnist and help me lose weight.  I am getting there, though.  I think I have figured out my URL, even though I don't know what URL stands for, and I have figured out what my twitter name will be.  I also believe I will get a CB radio and have a call sign and talk to people driving through late at night when I can't sleep.  I'll give my children call signs as well.  That way, when they want cell phones or they want to use chat rooms that can be places where they can meet creepy people, they can talk to nice safe truckers.

I have to go pick up my children from school.  Don't worry, though.  I don't have to stop figuring out the internet in order to pay attention to them; I bought the new Toy Story movie I can sit them down in front of with some vitamin enriched popcorn and call it dinner.  Before the end of the night, truckers everywhere will be introduced to "Red Hot Momma."