Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving dinner

Today I felt like a real woman.

I woke up early and prepared homemade stuffing using leftover homemade breads and all our leftover chip crumbs. I stuffed and prepared the 14-pound turkey I'd remembered to thaw in the fridge, then put it in the roaster. I followed the order of operations I'd put together the night before to make sure everything would be hot and ready on time. I'd figured out pan distribution and fridge and freezer space to make sure everything would fit. I cleaned the kitchen so cooking would be pleasant. I made pumpkin pie. When my sister-in-law came over, we cooked up the sweet potatoes and mashed potatoes and finished preparing everything. I seasoned and boiled the neck and giblets. The turkey was roasted and ready just when the remnant stuffing and sweet potatoes were finished cooking, and I strained the fat from the drippings and made gravy that turned out beautifully (and there was PLENTY). Everything was fully cooked and tasted great, and we were all too full to enjoy the pies.

After Dan and Hyde left and I'd shed a little of my turkey coma, I pried all the rest of the meat off the turkey bones and fit all the leftover food into the fridge in a way that is organized and not precariously balanced.

All without having to call my mom.

I know this is a boring blog entry, because nobody really likes to read about things that turn out uneventfully well. Oh, well. It was a good day. I'm thankful.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I've found one!*

In discussing our relationship with Steven, I always assert that he's the only man in the world for me, in part because he is the only person who doesn't irritate me.** To which he replies that surely, there must be something he does that bothers me, as many others have no trouble finding his annoying characteristics.

Well, last night as I was sitting up brooding over life's injustices, I finally thought of one: something I don't like about Steven, something he does that annoys me. It wasn't too big of a deal, but I was almost proud of myself for discovering something.

Then this morning, I forgot what it was. Oh, well.

*This is a silly line from one of Olivia's favorite books, Spot's First Christmas. It's silly because of it's unnecessary formality: "I [have] found one!"? Pass the crumpets, Mother!

**This does not mean that everyone I meet bothers me - it means that he's the only person I can be around all the time without getting fed up at some point. Really, all of you reading this, you don't bug me, I promise - but if we lived together, we might annoy each other.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I like my mom.

I just got off the phone with my mom. Actually, we got cut off because her phone is on the fritz, so we didn't get to finish talking.

It was nice, because I had just been thinking that I wanted to call my mom today to talk to her about her substitute teaching experiences (I'm sorry), my upcoming viola solo at church (rusty at best), our bout with the flu (sympathy, please), and the impulse purchases I just made today (they're worthwhile and not too extravagant, right?) I wanted to call her, but assumed she'd be in class. However, I'd forgotten that she's in the one spot in the U.S. that actually celebrates Veterans Day. (Another btw: I asked Steven if he got Veterans Day off, and he laughed at me. "Who gets off for Veterans Day?" Well, everyone in Porterville!)

As it ended up, my mom called to remind me that it was Band-a-rama, a nice little blast from the past. And because we got cut off, I didn't really end up getting to talk to her about any of those things. But it was nice to talk to her, even if it was just for a little bit. It was a nice reminder of what an extraordinary lady my mom is.

My mom doesn't have to sub. My dad's job provides very well for them, and even if it didn't, she has a law degree and easily passed the bar in California (the day after she had her fourth child, I might add). She does it because she wanted something else to do during the day and she saw a need for qualified educators in the area. Substituting gives her the flexibility to visit grandkids and do other pursuits, but she never lacks for work - teachers of every grade and subject, in two school districts, ask for her specifically.

As smart and capable as my mom is, though, I think what I most admire about her is that she has a very well-rounded intelligence. I don't mean that in the sense of being a renaissance woman, although it certainly fits - what I mean is that, besides being smart and good, my mom is nice. She is unfailingly polite. She is unassuming. She is unselfish. She's a little goofy about some things - if anything, it makes her more likable.

It's been nice for me to reach an age where I'm no longer dependent on my parents, either for my well-being or even for their examples in making life choices - certainly, it's wonderful to still have the option of turning to them for advice, but I'm no longer lost without them. But maybe one of the best parts of this independence is that it has enabled me more to see and appreciate them as people. I realized the other day that Olivia will probably never be able to see me as a person, separate from my being her mother - growing up, Mom was just Mom, and I guess she always will be. But it's nice for me to be able to start seeing Glena, and realize that I really like her, and not just because she's also Mom.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Goods and Bads

Whenever I get screwed as a consumer, I always want to get back at the company by spreading the word about what scumbags they are. When I first published this, I put a list of some of those companies here - but, I didn't like the tone that gave this post or the way it made me feel.

Anyway, though, on the plus side, it's good to recognize companies that really do things right. That's why today I'd like to honor Wells Fargo as a good company.


You see, last month someone somehow ripped off my credit card number and was able to make a couple of fraudulent purchases with it before they were detected by Wells Fargo's fraud department. Even before I noticed the charges on my account, good ol' WF had put a hold on it. They were really great about helping me sort it all out, and I received notice today that all fraudulent charges and associated fees had been cleared. Aaaah. Nice to have a company relieve headaches instead of causing them.

Oddly enough, this all took place shortly after Toby's experience. I guess it's just a case of life immitating art. And what higher art could there be than Mary Worth!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Here are the costumes I made this year. My favorite part is the little stinger on Olivia's backside :)

Obviously, Olivia is a bee, I am a flower, and Baby Girl is a ladybug. Steven dressed up as the guy who takes pictures and stays home passing out candy - very authentic.

Olivia was somewhat indifferent about trick or treating, but she LOVES candy. Every time we give her some she does a happy little dance and asks for more "canny."

Saturday, November 1, 2008


I'm well aware that everyone is convinced that the baby of their heart is The Cutest One Ever, but the other day Olivia raised the bar.

It didn't help that she was dressed in this:

Her outfit was of her own choosing, and she looked like a little tap dancer.

So, while she was tapping around pretending to talk on the phone, I folded laundry. When I finished, I picked up the pile of Steven's and my clothes and said, "Hey, do you want to come help me put clothes away?"

I started walking toward our closet, and Olivia walked over and picked up the little remaining pile of her clothing and started following me. But instead of turning and following me into the closet, she kept going straight and put all the clothes "away":

She was very thorough, too - after going back unprompted and picking up the clothes she'd dropped along the way, she went back for her little pile of socks and put them "away," too. I realized later that since she already knows how to "throw away," it made perfect sense to "put away" things in the same place. What a sweet little helper.

Finally, for those of you who still haven't barfed from the extreme cuteness of this incident, here's a picture of her enjoying a cupcake:

Happy 18 months tomorrow, Olivia!