Sunday thoughts on fish wrap and left over cake.

It’s so quiet this morning. It rained in Paradise last night and the clouds are still dark and heavy with their moisture, blocking a sun that is trying hopelessly to shine. When the weather is like this, it always adds to the quiet, the cars on the street beyond our back wall not making their usual noisy early trip to where ever they venture on a Sunday morning.

The RTR is still at his cousin’s house, and the MoH is at an early morning draft session for a friend’s fantasy baseball team. Now you, too, know where to get a stand in when you just can’t schedule the time to draft your players for the upcoming season. The line forms to the left, please.

When I slid the paper from its plastic wrap today, entertaining the idea for the second time this week of lounging on the sofa with my coffee and actually reading it, I couldn’t help but notice the way it was organized. There was a huge “sale” advertisement wrapped around the entire paper, which is unusual, so of course, I had to investigate, wondering what the thinking is about how a Sunday paper is organized from one week to the next, and who makes that decision.

The “Baseball Preview,” a special section was immediately following the mattress advertisement, and sporting a huge image of the San Diego Padres’ logo formed with pennies, nickels, and dimes. The headline questioned the spending strategy for the Padres’ payroll over the past few years. Clever. The Arts section follows, then Passages, which has people focused stories about life, celebration, marriage, and obits. Then Insight, which has all the editorials, then the huge section of Classifieds.

The main page of the paper is buried at the very end. It’s what they usually do when something has happened in the world that might spoil a reader’s Sunday morning. After all, this is Paradise, and people don’t want to be bothered by what’s going on in the world. Or, better said, the publisher of the paper doesn’t think we do, and coddles those who take the time to complain about it.

So I haven’t read the paper. I might take a peek at my horrorscope, scan the classifieds for the perfect job that I could entertain myself about actually wanting for two seconds. Scan the photos of houses on the front page of the Real Estate section and restrain myself from calling to make an offer on the cute Spanish-style “replica” home in Coronado that’s selling for $3.5 mil.

Okay, so maybe not.

Because today is that day. The one where I spend quite a bit of time looking at and reading about other’s baking. This month, the challenge we were posed was anything but. It was a delight and the results were excellent. And if you’ve already looked at the photo and find yourself in the category of those who can’t suppress a thought such as, “I don’t like coconut,” do me a favor and try. Clearly, I do enjoy coconut. I also enjoy the blackberry jam, lemon curd, and mascarpone cream that is inside. What I enjoy most is putting it all together. I love the process. It’s soothing.

You need to see the inside of this cake…it’s amazing…and the frosting?  Oh.  Just Oh.

Although I enjoy a good cake, I don’t often bake it for the simple reason that there is far too much left over if I haven’t invited the neighborhood which I wouldn’t do because they’d think me odd. And so would you if you didn’t know me and I asked you to come sample my cake. It is a bit more appealing than the idea of my showing up at your door with leftover cake, imploring you to take it off my hands, though, isn’t it? So sadly, you can see that the cake becomes a waste of food. I am getting smarter about all of this, however, so did sample the cake, and sent the rest home with my middle son who promptly put a stickie on it telling others not to eat it.

I guess it caused a bit of a rucus with his father’s female companion, who from what my son has told me is a bit contrary to begin with. The last time my son took something home, his father ate it before he could, so this time, he thought a sticky might solve that problem. I get it.

But the idea of the cake with a sticky on it is hilarious.

He must have ended up with my ornery genes…

Wild Mustard & Spanish Tests

Ahhh…the delightfulness of a Friday yawning ahead of me with nary a plan in sight. My favorite sort of day.

I should have known that it might not be so when I forced my self to get up at a minute before eight because at least I could have bragging rights to it. Not that there would be anyone who cared, of course. Most people I know would have lounged in bed after getting up at 5am for the past three mornings to walk a few miles before starting the day. My feet hurt. My ankles hurt. My back hurts in a place I didn’t even know existed. It is so true about what they say about using it or losing it. I’d like to lose it, because at least then it wouldn’t hurt.

I valiantly edged out from underneath the rising garage door to retrieve the paper, averting my eyes from anyone on the block who might see me in my tacky sleepwear of wrinkly lime green tee and wadded up brown and pink polka dot bottoms. What might they think?

That I’m a blogger? Feh.

I was determined to straighten up the kitchen, and then relax with my coffee, reading the local paper which hasn’t been removed from its bag in quite some time, building up in the garage after being kicked in each day to collide with the others in a move one might execute in a lawn game involving colorful balls.

I did get the kitchen cleaned, but I never made it to the paper.

And somehow it was suddenly 11:40. And then it was 1:55. How does that happen? I knew I had to pick up the RTR at school and drive him to spend the weekend with his cousin who is also sort of like an only child. They have quite a bit of fun together laughing about things I can barely understand. It’s fun to watch them and it’s important that they spend time together.

But the RTR had a Spanish test today, and I made the grave error of asking him about it after we were involved in the kind of talk we both enjoy while on the way to his cousin’s house. Like smacking each other when we see a Prius and yelling, “LunchBox!”

I know. But we think it’s hilarious. If we see a red one, it’s worth three. I’ll get around to explaining how it came to be some day when I’m not wallowing yet again in self loathing.

At some point, after I’ve explained my frustration with his chosen inability to learn enough Spanish vocabulary to understand the questions he’s expected to answer on exams, when he can memorize entire lines of dialogue and recite them ad nauseum, he does direct my attention to the hills that edge the freeway.

They’re ablaze with wild mustard. You know it’s spring in Paradise when the wild mustard blooms alongside the golden poppies, and it is quite beautiful when you take the time to notice.

mustard04.jpg

He is doing more than trying to change the subject.

He’s trying to make me feel better because he knows I love pleasant distractions. He also knows that I am so tired of anything that has to do with school I can’t see straight. I have spent only four years of my entire life without being involved in school at some level and those years were the first four of my life.

I’m so fried, I’m crispy around the edges. Done.

I dropped him off, telling him to apologize for me about not going in to say hello to my sister-in-law. After removing his bag, guitar, and box of models, he shut the car door and bent over to look through the window at me. Smiling.

Nice kid. Really.

Too bad his mom’s a pain in the ass. And my state only deteriorated after dealing with Friday traffic in Paradise which isn’t nearly as bad as that of L.A., but bad enough. The trip took nearly three hours. Three.

And so I’m sitting here sifting through the remnants of this day, looking at a card I found shoved in a drawer I was looking for batteries in earlier today. My mouse finally died, and when I pushed through the clutter, I found the card. It was given to me by two people whom I once knew. The inside message was hand-written and I think it’s appropo:

I am still determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may be in, for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our misery or happiness depends upon our own disposition and not on our circumstances.

— Tehmina Qureshi

So true. So very true.

Good to think about on a Friday.

Disconnectivity: My Brain on Thursday.

Best wishes to you if you are able to follow this blather today. I just reread it and was struggling, so I sympathize. The complaint department can be located at the bottom. Take a number.

We’re semi bummed over the loss of Chikeze who was voted out of Noodle Land last night. NOT Ramiele who should have gone. He looked so sad. It was bound to happen. The competition is too fierce this year and even though people like Ramiele and Kristy Lee are still around, their days are numbered. Ground shaking news when one considers that each week someone has to go. Can you feel it? Rocket Science. I’m so on it, aren’t I?

I am on it with Top Chef, however. How could I not be, die hard foodie that I am? If you haven’t begun watching yet, not to worry, because Fox runs all the shows from seemingly all seasons eight million times a week. Which means you have all those opportunities to DVR several and then watch them at 3AM when you can’t sleep. Actually there are almost no dramatics like other reality television shows — which is another reason I like it. Well, besides wondering what cauliflower brulee tastes like. Ewww? But if it is the dramatics you prefer, Gordon Ramsay is getting ready to light a torch next week with a new season of taking screaming obscenities in a kitchen to a new level. Oddly, I can relate. It must be my alter ego. This is the BBC version, so if you’re opposed to unlicensed flying f-words, then skip the vid. I think it’s hilarious.

I love Top Chef. But this year, the people aren’t thrilling me. Sure, there are one or two whom I immediately noticed (the annoyingly scrappy potty mouth guy and the perky absent-minded man from New Zealand) but otherwise, they’re sort of personality-less at this point. It’s also disappointing that another gadgety-foamy-smoky guy is on. I just want to yell, “JUST COOK, DOOD! Jeez.Speaking of “jeez,” I’ve noticed that around the web, it’s being spelled, “geeze.” Excuse me?

That would be pronounced, /gheez/ with a hard /g/ as in garage or geezer and not a soft /g/ as in giraffe or gerbil. Could someone please pass this information along to the masses? Or I suppose we could check in the Oxford English Dictionary which is finally being completely revised. That should take a few years (expected date of completion is 2037), but at least then, we’ll all know what the most up-to-date definition of pettifog might be.

I simply can’t wait. Will someone fan me, please?

As far as waiting goes, I’ve been waiting for WordPress 2.5 to hurry up and be here, already. Finally, finally some of the features available with WordPress.com will be available to people like me who know enough to get themselves in real trouble and have been sooooooo lucky thus far to not have screwed things up royally. *I get by with a little help from my friends…*The new dashboard and uploader are excellent. No more waiting until the cows come home to upload photos.

Like this one. What is up with the FreshNess? The RTR seems to be her replacement male since Blackitty’s demise. Go figure. A very sad state of affairs, don’t you think?

Now that you’re up to date on all things unimportant, I’ll be around making up for lost time reading your bloglets and trying to make up lost ground on THE campaign since all our paper prints is crap about who’s related to whom genetically.

Like it matters if I’m related to Betsy Ross?

I guess it is a bit easier for some to think about than the price of gasoline, the events in Tibet, the recent finger pointed at KPMG over the subprime mortgage mess, or other such goings on in this very fine place we call Earth.

Party on.

Fresh Idol Picks

You know things are getting serious around here when the MoH tells us that we should just go ahead and watch American Noodle without him because he has no idea when he’ll be home. See, the rule is, we DVR the show, watch something else (because he wants to watch it WITH us) and then when he flies up the stairs from the garage, I throw his dinner at him as his butt hits the chair and we play catch up with the recording.

I looked at him Monday, telling him we’d record it for him so he could speed through the commercials when he got home thereby salvaging his being in the know status about who’s who when things are finally getting interesting.

Like keeping track of Paula’s outfits. Um.  Can someone explain this particular top.  Please? It appears that when she was getting dressed, the delicate, lacy fabric became caught on its hanger and she tried to unhook it, but became irritated and maniacally ripped it free. Okay, so maybe that’s something I would do, but I wouldn’t wear it afterwards. Hell, Christian from Project Runway needs to dress the woman. Then she’d truly be fierce.Fierce. Moving right along…I say Ramiele is going to be voted off the NoodleLand this evening. Yes, she’s cute. And yes, I think her voice has possibilities when she’s not yelling, thinking about listening to her own singing, or singing off key, which is frequently. Ramiele needs to sing on key occasionally… AND because Kristy Lee actually sang better than ever. Of course she pulled a serious fast one by singing a stand up and pound your patriotic chest type song which means she’ll get a vote from every Republican on Earth. It’s true. This will seal her career as a Ball Park singer. She is cute, though. Apple Pie and all that. Well, except the cage fighting she says she’s interested in. Hmmm…Kristy Lee is Proud to be an American (or just really familiar with how people “vote” on this show).

Now, rounding out the bottom three and providing Ramiele company for the show will be Chikezie because there is no way he’s going to be able to keep up with the hunkster voting hoards. I know, Chikeze.  It’s a bummer, but it was time. And sadly, Carly. Carly, you could be out. I like Carly. I love her voice, her song selections, her intensity. Plus, she’s from Paradise! But I think she won’t get the votes AND may even lose to Ramiele tonight which would be par for the course. *sigh* We had all our cells lined up last night because damnit, we were going to text in our votes for the first time ever. And then the RTR said, “We have AT & T?” Uh. Nope. I knew that.

Great voice, but won’t cut it. Syesha has a great voice, but she can’t keep pace with the voting either. I do think she out sang Jason, who’s fun to listen to, has a very unique style that takes me right back to when I was a teenaged cute thing. He’ll be off next week.  Maybe. All he needs to sing is “Summer Breeze,” or a Bread song. Then I’ll be happy. *Who?* You had to be there, okay?

She’s not going home yet. Let’s see…Brooke sort of fits right in with Jason era wise. She makes me think of Carly Simon and Carole King and she’s got the peaches and roses thing going on, so she’ll be fine, too. For a while. Or wait. Maybe it was sunshine.

And David A? Well, he’s going to keep getting votes from the tweeners. He just will. And he’s so sweet, even if my sister thinks he has pig eyes. Shucky darn, folks…guffaw.  guffaw.  heeyuck.  heeyuck. He does not!

Just wipe off the monitor after you’re done licking it, okay?  Jeez.Michael Johns FINALLY let it rip and was outstanding. Totally. Of course, the females in the audience could care less as long as they just get to see his face each week. So he’s in.

And I think this guy’s the most talented of the bunch. He’s the one who should win, but won’t. He brings everything he’s got every week and is amazing regardless of what Simon says. What does he know, anyway? Will David Cook win it all? Hell no. Too many stoopid voters out there.  You know, people who have AT & T.  *just kidding* This year, any of three could win and it would be fine.

At least they have talent.

So, just remember. You heard it here.

And then I’ll be famous.

Cork for My Attitude, Perhaps?

I am seriously cranky today. For the most part, I wouldn’t bother to mention it because I rarely am, and if I am, it’s not something worth mentioning. I have committed myself to a permanent state of being one who does not deserve to be cranky ever again, no longer having to deal with the stresses that those who work deal with. My four hours a day do not qualify me.  What a martyr.

But I’m mentioning it anyway.

It.

The aggravating sensation that something is not quite right. An annoyance, hovering somewhere just out of reach.

It’s making me crazy and I’ve begun a mental check of all that it could possibly be, torturing myself with the stupidity of it.

Masochist.

If I was intelligent, I would bury myself in a good book, or go for a walk. Fresh air seems to cure all. But I’ve stubbornly chosen to tackle a few tasks that needed to be taken care of, stewing with each check made on my mental list of things to do:

  1. Finally, finally contacted our neighborhood association with the needed information to register our cars. (We’re not allowed to park on our own street because we have room in our driveway and garage and cars parked on the street makes the neighborhood look tacky). You, too, should live in Paradise. Whatever. We do park in our driveway, but once in a while we leave one on the street. What? They’ll tow us?
  2. Emailed the RTR’s counselor at school to set up some meetings to monitor his assignments (He likes to bring home classwork to be finished, that by his own admission, isn’t challenging, and won’t take very long to do, but doesn’t do it. Because. He can…). Oh, but he does want to go away to college, just in case I was wondering. No problem, dood. See if you can get one to let you in.
  3. Tried again to book our flights for our vacation this summer, found the website uncooperative, and feeling a bit wary, called to get assistance since a screw up could cost two years of saved points. Wouldn’t that be a great story? (This would be the bright spot in my day since the woman found tickets and we’re booked at last).

But right now, I am just cranky. Getting into bed and pulling the covers up over my head might help, but the sun is shining, the weather is cheerfully unlike my mood, and I’d end up sweating like a pig.

Do pigs sweat?

Regardless, there’s a cherry on this little sundae of mirth and glee. It appears that I’m going swimming this evening. Yes, my friends and I are going to try and get back into our little routine of exercising regularly.

Winter legs. Ugly bathing suit. Lumpy body. Chipped toenail polish. Grouchy face. Bitchy mouth.

Oh, HELL YAH I’m in the mood for this.

This tells it all. Just six words. I think you’d agree, right?

Does it LOOK like I’m in a good mood?

Which means you need to partake in this exercise — seeing if the sum of your life can be reduced to a mere six words.

By all means, have some fun with it. Olga did. But Olga always has fun. Double the fun.

Some girls have all the luck. Lumps in all the right places.

Feh.

What time is it?

It’s not quite midnight here and it’s lovely outside.  When I open the back door, the air rushes in and I can smell the jasmine blooming on the fence between our neighbor’s house and ours.  It’s warm out and the sky is clear.  I can see constellations I don’t normally see.

It’s beautiful.

But I’m tired and need to be in bed.

Spring break is over for the RTR, and there are three weeks still to finish the Moh’s busy season.  A lifetime, it seems.

I’ve been trying to book our flights to Italy for our summer vacation, but it figures that using points for one ticket and trying to book the others at the same place is more than what I’d thought it might be.

What is up with all the companies that just presume to take us to the cleaners?  I should know better.

I hate that.  And I hate very little.

But I’ll persist in much the same way that I persisted last November during NaBloPoMo when I was writing letters.  I just received a letter stating that April’s theme for NaBloPoMo was “letters.”  Hmmm… might I have been famous for writing all my letters diligently last November and now others have gotten the idea? And since when is NaBloPoMo something that happens outside November?

Whatever.

Olga…I know I need to do my six word thingy, but I’m lacking energy at this moment.  I’ll do it, surely.

It will be something like, “Day late and a dollar short.”  That should do it.

Cheers.

And good night.

Lavender and peace of mind

I’ve been thinking about my mom quite a bit lately. It isn’t that I don’t think of her, because she’s always in my mind at one point or another in a days’ time for any number of reasons.

When I leave something out of place, I hear her voice telling me to put it away. Or as I complete a task, I remember the times she explained how she would do it instead. I think of her when I cook and when I pull weeds, or when I simply think, because she does quite a bit of it herself.

Yes, I know everyone thinks. But there are different kinds of thinking. Some are good at avoiding their thoughts. Others think solely to work through the mechanics of a day or a week. Even a lifetime — just so they have something to think about.

There are those who keep themselves busy so they might avoid their thoughts. Perhaps moving one’s hands works as an eraser might, obliterating memories that replay themselves inhumanely.

Some people do all of the above simultaneously.

Relentlessly.

I can hear her thinking right now.

The lavender outside my back door is beautiful right now, its deep blue more intense than I’ve seen before. I let it get wild and rarely cut it to bring inside because I enjoy its cascade from the planter encroaching onto the flagstones, the long stems pushing skyward, attracting bees and butterflies. When I brush my hand over the blossoms, sweet fragrance fills the air.

I couldn’t resist cutting a handful to put in an old vase she gave me a few years ago.

Lavender for my mom…

Lavender is soothing, relaxing the mind and the body, and it’s what I always want for her more than anything else.

So on this Love Thursday, I’m thinking of this first day of spring, and fragrant flowers.

I’m thinking of my mom.