Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Calling All Twenty Somethings

If you ever had the extreme delight of sharing an evening at the CC Club with your's truly, then you can indeed testify that the following statement is true and accurate.


A part of me misses those nights. Hell, who am I lying to? Part of me misses those Days-On-End Benders. For now, Glittery Black Eyeliner and Hollywood Tape, Rest In Peace.

Shoveling Snow and Other Words That Begin with S

We woke this morning to no power like many in Minnesota that had also been slopped on by this mucky, slushy late winter snow.

Showering in the dark and without the furnace running was less than luxurious and comical even as I misplaced my razor several times. Nothing like resurfacing the skin around your ankles first thing in the morning.

Chris called from outside, announcing the timbering of a very substantial oak tree right atop of our roof. I figured he was being dramatic, and he was. In his very special only child way, he announced a fallen tree and the end of the world as we know it all in one breath.

He grabbed his keys and barreled down the driveway to check if the plows had cleared our quiet cul de sac and because he is him and I am me, we all know they had not. The snow sat untouched, saturated and heavy from the rain and sleet. Underneath, a great big layer of slop and slush. A venerable layer dip of shitty winter precipitation.

In these situations, I generally chuckle as I flip on the four wheel drive and blast myself free. Chris prefers the Fast and the Furious, Minnesota Remake, and can be found Tokyo Drifting his way to work.  I elect to not be a part of it partly because I'm a buzz kill and partly because I come bearing both the fruits of my loins, as well as common sense.

This morning bore no douchey street driving tactics. Just me and the neighbors pushing and shoveling and sanding and praying to Jesus for Chris and his car to clear the mailbox and somehow get out of the neighborhood.

A neighborhood that sits on juuust enough of a hill to totally and completely shoot the brains out of any possibility of getting to work on time. As we heave-hoed, the cracking and crashing of trees echoed from the back yard. Under my breath, I hoped for one to take out the 12' picture window, a window far too expensive for us to replace without the aid of a natural disaster and a little help from our pals at State Farm.

With no such luck and after two hours of Flinstone inspired car maneuvering, we are both at work knowing that we are headed home to a fallen forest on top of the backyard shed and fence. To a home whose roof is now a few shingles short of being whole.

See what happens when people want more more more? One extra day every few years and look at this mess.

Pack up the grocery getter and get me to the wine shop before anything else goes wrong!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Kitchen Lovin

After a momentary lapse in blogging focus (read: drinking beer in the bathtub will get you blasted in less than 2 beers. Efficient, yes. Smart, no), I'm back to share s'more of my most beloved Payroll Mommy tips for da kitchen.

AKA my favorite room ever.

#3) Do a lil' large batch/freezer cooking but ONLY if you can come up with several similar recipes. For instance, do chicken and dumplings, chicken pot pie, and minestrone all at once. All are based on inexpensive, freezer-friendly root vegetables. This means you can chop a shit ton of ingredients at once with minimal cost. Eat some, freeze some. With the recipes above, I can come up with SIX to EIGHT meals.

Das right, bitches.

#4) Whole chickens are your friend. Buy them on sale and have them on hand. Roast simply and shred for a zillion billion uses. My personal favorite is in Mexican dishes- enchilladas and casseroles freeze suuuuuper duper well. Don't turn up your nose at casseroles, I see you!! I do it too, but honest to God, our mothers and Grandmothers had the smarts to throw it all in a 9x13 and call it good. What the hell kind of Le Cordon Too Good for It nonsense is that!

#5) Marry your meats and marinades, THEN freeze. You can use basic marinades or even herb butters, pair 'em up with your animal of choice, and freeze. Not only does this make it easy to take from freezer to frig, but then it'll be saucy and fab once you're ready to cook. It ALSO comes in handy for those "what the fricken frack am I going to make tonight!!!!" moments. A favorite around here is gyro meat and whole turkey breasts loaded up with herb butter.


#6) Breakfast carbs can make a morning feel special. Cinnamon rolls and quick breads are unbelievably fast in spite of their lengthy bake times. They're also cheap (hello, flour and eggs?! Please!), can be done en mass and can make breakfast feel so much better than a lame bowl of Cheerios. Better than Frosted Flakes, even. Around here, I eat a lot of eggs and that means while the bakery treats warm in the oven, I can whip up some eggs and VOILA, a legitimate breakfast. As an aside: most quick breads now come with a Clean Eating version. This means no sugar or oil and I'm a fan.

And there you have it. Six easy ways to WOW your family without sending yourself straight to the asylum.

Are you dazzled or what!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Bubbles Of All Kinds

This is my night.

A bath full of Epsom salts and bedazzled with amber bottles full of this deliciousness.

Thank you, Odell Brewing. Straight from my mouth to God's ears to some magical Hop Heaven.

I've had one even though I want seven, but only one can be tolerated these days.

Le Sigh.

I miss the days of chasing tequila with beer and building an alcoholic layer cake. I mean, I don't miss them a fracking shotglass sized ounce, but it would be nice to indulge in a few with my lover from time to time.

Alcohol is sexy you do understand. That's why so many college whores can be seen buying Plan B at a college campus CVS near you.

Tonight, sexy I well not be. But one beer is one better than my sweaty gym clothes and breastmilk puke hair of usual.

Disdain

This week, I find myself having inappropriate, 10 o'clock news kinds of fantasies about my old Blackberry more than ever.

I despise these half witted touch screens. Both the Android and Apple varieties. I hate nothing more than finger smudges and little kid boogers wiped all over the display. Correction, I hate dirty screens and auto type equally. Auto type makes me look stupid. Blackberry never did. Only socially awkward and marginally loser-like. But I could work that thing with both eyes closed and nothing but two thumbs and my dry sense of hilarious sarcasm.

It takes so long to use this thing. I have to spellcheck constantly because the Android dictionary does jackass things like creating really ugly language moments by doing things like replacing my use of the word spellcheck with the word shuttlecock.

Now I might be a real slutbag, but I don't know what the fudge a shuttlecock is. What I do know is that sending such a word to, oh, say, my boss, could potentially be embarrassing. Detrimental, even.
What I'm getting at, lovers, is there's a lot I'd like to say right now, but I'm probably going to be found in a dark alley, skinning hampsters by the glow of my Bic lighter if I have to blog from this sad excuse for technology much longer, but I wanted to get a jump start because I'm a giver.

While being a paid Mom is not the same as being a real mom, what I've found is that having domesticity as a profession makes a girl incredibly organized and methodical about insignificant nuisiances like mealtime and budgets.

When I first started, I would do retarded things like braise brisket in homemade broths and dress them with Argentinian chimichuri.

That was stupid.

Grownups eat that when they have a Patron Margarita in hand at a fancy restaurant and are trying to get both laid and sauced in the same night. Because when you have kids, sex is about nothing more than efficiency, people.

Don't do that to yourself. No one cares and nobody is going to give you the golden star of best moms for it. You'll only feel frustrated and disappointed by the entire experience.
Rule #1: no one cares if you create the Taj Mahal of meals or a South African shanty town. Create nutritious meals based on simplicity. Have fun and be adventurous from time to time, but limit your expectations, investment and time commitment.

Rule #2: dont be a cheap ass. I know that those chincy Ziploc containers are like pennies on the dollar, but honest to God, please don't store your family's food in plastic. Plastic is scary. And if you've invested in the grass fed beef and the organic produce, you're shooting yourself in the Birkenstock by putting it in plastic. Invest in glass storage containers. Don't reheat in the microwave; if pregnant women shouldn't stand in front of one, why would you cook your dinner in it? Capitalize on glass, save yourself a few dishes, and simply reheat in the oven. That, friends, is called frig to fork.

You're welcome, Pyrex. I'll accept my sponsorship check now.


Rule #3: hold onto your seatbelts, my mind blowing third rule for domestic genius will have to wait. It seems that I have an infant that wants a bottle or something equally high maintenance.

Til we meet again...

Monday, February 20, 2012

And Then I Stood There, Staring In the Headlights

Funnily enough, while my face was buried in a Chipotle fajita bowl, my Mom found it a super awesome time to drop a Hey, Let's Shake Up Your Life bombshell.

Her sense of timing has always been particularly enjoyable. If only I were in 10th grade and she had just busted into my pink and purple floral bedroom while I gave my 12th grade boyfriend an H.J. when we're supposed to be doing chemistry.

We're doing chemistry of our own kind, MOM. Don't be embarrassing!

As I'm saucing my barbacoa, she gives me the suspiciously leading, "SO...."

I look up. She looks over. I figure she's finally going to talk to me about the birds and the bees or tampons or something equally uncomfortable.

"Is there going to be a wedding soon?" she inquired.

CHOKE. HOLY JESUS, my life just flashed before my very eyes!

Que the Mother/Daughter laughter and awkward moment of, "I can't fucking believe you just said that" ensues.

On such short notice, I found myself unable to come up with a solid lie to tell my Mom as any good daughter should, so instead I simply blurted out the honest truth.

"No" I told her, "I don't think so. I think you've got at least another year. We all know the glacial pace at which Chris moves in life."

She smiled and shook her head, shaming me and my expectations of disappointment yet again. We bantered back and forth about her confidence in Chris and my Fascist Perfectionism and do we want to get married in a church and you know your father loves a good party.

I think the thing we were both not saying was, HOLY FUCK BALLS, can you even fucking believe some poor bastard hasn't jammed a ring on those sausage fingers yet?!

Guys. I want to tell you a not so secret secret: I don't really care if we get married or not at this point.

Sure, there might be a tax benefit or something, but at this point in my/our lives, I feel like here we are with a dog and a house and neither of us is going anywhere. A legal document won't keep one of us from going somewhere, either, if that's what one of us wants to do.

KnowhaImsayin?

I want to get married mostly for the sake of having a family. Because I'm old fashioned and have traditional values, you judgmental asswipes. I believe one of the primary functions of marriage is children and I'm not ready for that. I mean, I'm totally ready, but if this were a Value Menu and I were building my #6, I would take the dog and the boyfriend, the house, and the remaining 4 years on my Mirena with a Diet Coke.

I like working still, I like spending hours at a time at the gym if I feel like it, and I like giving the kids I raise back to the person that has to pay for them at 5pm.

Truth: I also want to get married because first of all, as lame as it is, I feel like calling him my husband rather than my boyfriend makes us more legitimate in other people's eyes. And also, B of all, I want to get married because, as lame as it is, I feel like it sort of proves his feelings for me.

Does that make sense or should I have left that in my therapy session?

I'm a girl and since I think roses suck and I would only want chocolates if I could eat them in a dark closet by myself, with me and my shame only, I need proof. Blood spatter on the walls, DNA under the fingernails, PROOF. He says it and I believe him and it's enough. Only I'm a girl and even though it's enough, it's not enough.

Only if you have a vagina are you nodding sagely-- KNOWINGLY-- at the completely reasonable nature of that statement.

Also, I love the fricken shit out of his ass and I really want to marry him and make babies and memories. Like, for as long as we both shall live.

That fell out of my fingertips. As long as I didn't let it fall out of my mouth in front of my Mom, I think it's okay to admit that. But Jesus help us all if she hears that and starts talking about playlists and officiants and you know your father loves a good party.

Because god dangit, that man does love a good party and no one, not no one, will party harder than him once we finally make honest spouses out of one another.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A New Dawn

Screw that blood sucking vampire bullshit.

I don't give two craps about that.

Nope, we're trying something entirely new today. Not so ladylike women and, well, probably no (straight) gentlemen: blogging under the influence.

While my blood type is not all together Pinot Grigio (yet), the fast path is certainly leading me in that direction.

Last weekend, Chris and I embarked on a Friday night date. Both the date part and the Friday night part in that sentence are completely abnormal and semi-uncomfortable to us two. We generally prefer our Friday nights quiet, lazy, and at home eating leftovers or bowls of cereal. Why? Because life is hard and we are frequently too traumatized by the daily grind come Friday night to bother putting on lipstick or deoderant for one another. Chris usually falls asleep watching whatever-the-hell golf tournament is airing sometime before 9pm and I generally stomp to bed, watch Diners Drive Ins and Dives and tucker out around 10:30pm.

I love nothing more than my Saturday morning workout. 8:30am, minimum of two hours, followed up by sunglasses, a coffee shop, and wearing disgustingly gross Lululemon workout gear while doing errands until at least 1pm. Stretchy black clothes, soaked so heavily in sweat that the moisture reignites the scent of my beloved Tide Sport.

Thank God I shop Co-Ops where that sort of appalling personal hygiene is tolerated if not embraced.

Anyway, we fancied ourselves up and hustled our asses to a cocktail-attire kind of restaurant that serves things with pretentious condiments like truffle-infused herb butter. Which tastes like dirty bits of grass scraped from the blade of my Craftsman, but it's what you do when you have been together long enough to merit Commonlaw Spouse status and yet, you're too old (and boring, frankly) to do something outrageous like wear high heels when it's cold outside only to trudge through downtown drinking silly blue cocktails and slamming shots of tequila out of test tubes.

I AM A GROWNUP, GOD DAMMIT.

Twas nice. After pitching an embarrassingly enormous hissy fit the weekend before about Chris' lack of initiative or participation in domestic endevours, he went so far as to make the reservations and even take off his Tiger Woods golf hat for the ocassion.

Guys.

He wears a baseball hat to have sex.

OKAY, I KNOW. Overshare! GAH!

But it's like when I want a Snickers bar but instead I eat 32 baby carrots, five graham crackers, a vat of hummus and then eat the Snickers bar anyway, "often" is not going to cut it when explaining just how regularly Chris wears a baseball hat.

He gets naked but leaves a hat on when we have relations.

There.

Moving on.

He was EN FUEGO. And that, suburban readers and equally White bloggers, is Spanish for he looked smoking fucking hot.

We ordered a bottle of red wine. Which I am not sure we have ever done on a dinner date. We giggled and held hands across the table and I worried that there was dirty grass butter in my teeth while sheepishly smiling and cooing in his general direction. We ate slowly and without unnecessary banter over taking out the trash or how annoying his coworkers are. After being presented the wine list for a second time, I opted out in favor of coffee at the meal's conclusion.

It was the most glorious mug of brown water I have ever enjoyed. The bill sat on the table unchecked (and unpaid: DO YOU WANT YOUR 20% OR NOT, SERVER JASON).  I shoved a fistfull of peppermints in my purse as I tried to be coy and swoop past the coat check gal en rout to the car. You know, so she didn't know I was BOMBED out of my mind. You're not supposed to do that in adult places that serve Port and Scotch for dessert. We sip and enjoy, not guzzle and give hand jobs in the bathroom.

WHICH, for the official record, did not happen. No, sir.

But we did love each other more by night's end. Not because we didn't love each other going into it, but because Mr. Sauvignon sometimes reminds us to forget the bullshit that we let roadblock the free-flow of love from person to person after a sort of long time together.

And I love that. I love love and I love FEELING IN LOVE. It took a cabernet flavored reminder to wriggle the lever and let the purity of that feeling wash over the other insignificant nonsense.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Ahhhh, Now That's AH-MAZING

For all of the perfectly coiffed gals and immaculately staged living rooms that plaster the glittering walls of Pinterest, I have to say... I don't fancy the perfection of it all.

I think we girls like Pinterest so much because it's like Build-A-Fairytale land for women: the perfect place to create a million dollar wedding to an imaginary Prince Charming, the ideal space to conjure up an enormous house with chandeliers as big as your 1st grade daughter and painted in high gloss blacks.

It's where you escape reality by playfully creating one that will never come to be.

Photo Credit: a perfect gray
What I did find, however, was this gem of a Pin. It's the kind of kitchen that looks good, lives well, and can take a beating. The open shelving is stocked full of useful stonewear, the baseboards are probably chipped from the kids playing hockey in the house (AGAIN, DAMMIT), and that cast iron sink is probably filled to the brim with filthy dishes by 8pm every night.

Pretty but not glossy. Useful but not neglected. Inspired by beauty, rooted in function and family. This is my kind of living.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Spotted with Envy

Photo source: Sarah Tucker, FairyTales Are True.

How much does this girl and her polka dot scarf and those ice blue eyes make you want to be her? Schlepping through the snow, probably in Sorels and some sort of legging on your little bird legs. The hat is so... I'm Cool Enough to Dress Like I'm a Hobo and Make it Look Really Fucking Great.

I want to be her, if only for the time it takes to type this post. I want to smile fully, wear funky clothes that reflect my playful inner personality and zest for life.

I want to sip tea from oversized mugs in indie coffee shops while leisurely passing the day away and deliberately ignoring the outside world with the irreverence that only a girl with dip-dyed hair and a polka dotted scarf dangling over free trade green tea could do.

Feeling Feverish

Do you ever feel so sick of everything that you start to feel sick for real?

Sick of the same people, the same places, the same food, the same schedule.

Sick of yourself?

While you could call it a case of cabin fever, it hasn't hardly been winter here in Minnesota this year, so you could even call it spring fever at this point. I've been feeling it for the past several weeks so intensely that my head throbs with migraines and I wake from hours of rest feeling anxious and exhausted with the day already. My anxiety bubbles up into my chest where it sits until I return to bed for respite from the fears, worries, and monotony of the day.

While I have dealt with depression and anxiety for all of my adult life, it somehow feels different this time. It doesn't feel sad or concerned about catastrophic events unfolding, it more feels like desperation and panic about every day life.

Deciding on what to have for breakfast has sent boulder sized lumps all the way up my throat lately. There is this frazzled, unfocused, and neurotic dialog going on in my head that I can't quite seem to quiet.

Life is so luscious right now. I have the job, the house, the boy, and the jam packed race and competition schedule I've been craving. My family is healthy. The sun should be shining in abundance in my world.

Am I waiting for the other shoe to drop?

Have I been so soured that I have become a Fatalist?

I wonder if abrupt and drastic change would be the cure. It feels like the pot is so quiet that maybe the boiling over is immanent: is it me or him or them or should I have gone to Florida for work after all?

What is it about me that can't let the waters or my nerves ever be calm?

The only thing more plentiful than this unsettled feeling is my gratitude for how lovely life really is at the moment. Which exacerbates the worry and compounds it with extreme guilt over what seems to be me sabotaging me with my own special blend of me-ness.

What do you do when you feel stir crazy and on the verge of standing in the open wilderness only to hear your own screams echo from the trees?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Pochohontas, Shredded

All of my sassy readers are surely familiar with Minnetonka moccasinsas as well as Under Armour.
As luck would have it, no more than 24 hours after identifying myself as a cozy, highly functional cable knit sock, I stumbled upon myself leaving the gym in an even stronger statement.
Ass kicking hippie.
I generally try to have a pair of cute boots for leaving the gym in, but as the exhaustion of kettlebell swing after lunge after hill sprint set in, my fashion sensibilities failed me. And there I was, leaving the most fashionable, hot mom populated gym in America in moccasins and black gym socks.
I stood at the lockers for a moment, wondering how I could possibly make the moment less hideous: moccasins, no socks? Moccasins, SmartWool socks from today's work ensemble? There's no lipstick for that pig though. And besides, Uggs were cool! Those stupid Zumba pants with neon zippers and shoelaces hanging from the pockets are cool!

Who the hell would mess with a Native American samurai anyway?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Take Heed


We all knew this already. I know we did.

It was always my pledge that "I would never" be a parent that would whip through the golden arches drive thru line. Then you grow up, buy a house, and have a grown up life full of responsibilities, familial commitments and all sorts of scheduled fun.

Life gets busy with good stuff and bad stuff and you get busy busying yourself. Then a Happy Meal started to make perfect occasional sense. Why not!

I always swore that there was a gap in the market for moms: when you're on the run, there's no time to go home and chop a salad, the kids are a disaster and you're not about to take them IN to a restaurant, but you haven't eaten since the ten Cheerios you slurped out of your 3 year old's cereal at 6am, what's a gal to do?!

I'm not a fan, nor will I ever be. But I do see the place of fast food. Moreover, I wish I were smart enough to replace Quarter Pounders with healthy fats, leafy greens, and rainbow-colored side dishes. All served up via a For Your Convenience speedy-serve window. Maybe we would even throw in a "free massage and complimentary babysitting service" coupon to every 10th customer.

I love and believe in the Mommyhood just that much.

We know we're not supposed to eat foods we cannot pronounce; we know we're not supposed to eat Cheetohs and cheesecake and drink Mountain Dew. WE KNOW BETTER, we just don't always do better.

It's human.

My commitment to organic and eco-conscious living is often mocked and I stand firm and back up my more-costly-than-Goldfish-and-McNuggets choices with this:

In 20 years, I can live with myself for having wasted money to buy organic and wasted energy and elbow grease for being chemically-conservative (to say there are zero chemicals in my home is a gross overestimation if not a blatant lie). I cannot, however, live with the risk of making myself or my family chronically or terminally ill with the knowledge and doubt over, "could I have prevented this?"

Let's be real: nothing tastes better on a hungover Sunday morning than a McMuffin and a ketchup-smothered hashbrown.

But it's not that good. 
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