Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A letter to concert-goers

Dear 5 drunk women,

You sat behind my son and me at a concert last weekend.

You talked very loudly about the affairs you've had at work (and who was fired in the process). In detail. In front of a 12 year old boy. I tried to distract him. He was embarrassed. I was embarrassed. You should have been embarrassed. But you were drunk.

You screamed very loud before songs.....after songs.....during songs. There were many around us who yelled at you to shut up (and swearing just as much as you.) I was the woman who turned around and asked you politely if you wouldn't mind toning it down in the middle of the songs. I thanked you in advance. I tried very hard not to offend you. You returned the favor by leaning over to scream in my ear every chance you got.

You compared how many times each of you were drunk in the past week. I'm not sure you ever figured out who earned those bragging rights.

You talked about everything being so retarded. I wanted to turn around and tell you that retarded does not mean stupid. But you were drunk. You wouldn't have remembered the conversation anyway. I doubted that seeing a picture of my daughter would have made any difference.

I didn't know that I could have asked security to escort you out. Instead, my son and I left the concert early. You cheered when we stood up to move. Others kept yelling at you to shut up. I don't think you noticed them.

Later that night, over milkshakes at our favorite burger place, my son started talking about the five of you. My 12 year old son wondered why anyone would willing get so drunk before a concert and make fools of themselves. He wondered if you were so miserable in your everyday life that being drunk and so incredibly foolish would make you feel better.


You certainly made an impression on a 12 year old boy.

We hope you had a designated driver and got home safely.

We hope to never sit by you at a concert again.


Scarehaircare and Secondborn

Monday, September 28, 2009

Sunday Gratitudes (on a Monday)

Yesterday I woke up sick. Sick enough to not want to eat anything. Sick enough to not go to church.
Sick enough to cancel choir.
Yesterday afternoon, guess was came to my door?

Brought by three sweet young women from the youth choir.

I feel so loved!
I got a little teary. I think I hid it well.
My Sunday gratitude goes out today to three young women who absolutely made my day (and then some. They hold a special place in my heart.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

State testing time....

The Love Magnet took the official testing that shows her ranking (at grade level, slightly below, very below) in reading. Let me just say right now that The Love Magnet doesn't do well with testing unless you know how to create the best environment for her.

Putting a timer in front of her is like placing a toy within her reach. Lets just say that she was more interested with the timer than the words and sounds in front of her.

Her teacher asked that she be allowed to try again. So, after a movie, when the kids were all hyped up again, The Love Magnet redid her testing without having any distractions on the table.

She read at grade level.

Let me repeat that from the rooftops. SHE READ AT GRADE LEVEL!!

Not only did she read at grade level, she was one of the top readers for her class.

Vice-Principal, bless his heart, is now debating with the district, trying to get the second set of scores submitted for her scoring (they have a policy to test only once.)

A few days later TLM, went to the Principal's office to read to her. Our principal, who was not keen about the idea of holding my daughter back in 1st grade for another year, now has declared that it was a good thing. The results were that amazing.

On the way back to class, my daughter insisted on reading to the librarian and any other adult she caught out in the hallway. She came home that day, talking nonstop about the people who heard her read.

I will say again and again, God bless her teacher, her aides, and everyone who had a part in teaching my daughter to read. I shall try to put together video in the next month or so and demonstrate the fabulous program and combines phonics and basic sign. It works.

Psst - just in case you didn't know: MY DAUGHTER CAN READ!

(I've been grinning about this all week.)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Two Potato Gratin aka That Cheesy Potato Pie Thing

Adapted from Moosewood Simple Suppers
Serves 6

My notes: This is a great vegetarian dish that got a thumbs up from my kids. I think that you could subbed other veggies nicely in this dish if you wanted to mix it up. I cut the oil and butter in half and slightly lessened the cheese. I also subbed Yukon Gold potatoes instead of regular potatoes and regular onion instead of green onion (that is what I had in my fridge). I doubled the recipe below in a 14" cast iron pan and it cooked beautifully. I'm looking forward to leftovers this week.

This original recipe serves 4 but I have found that their servings are huge so I changed it to 6. Moosewood recommended subbing cheddar cheese and fresh dill if your grocer doesn't stock dilled havarti cheese.

1 1/2 cups shredded sweet potato
1 1/2 cups shredded yukon gold potato
1/2 Cup chopped onion
2 eggs, beaten
2 Tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon each salt and fresh ground pepper
1 Cup shredded havarti cheese
1/2 Tablespoon butter
1/2 Tablespoon olive oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Heat a 10-12" cast iron pan over med-high heat with the butter and oil. Mix together the potatoes, onion, eggs, flour, spices, and half of the havarti cheese. (I found that using my hands for this worked much better than anything else).

Spoon potato mixture into the cast iron pan, patting it down. Let cook for 10 minutes. DO NOT STIR! Gratin will get nice and crispy on the bottom.

Put pan in the preheated oven for 15 minutes until the potatoes are golden brown on top. Sprinkle on the remaining cheese and let bake for another 5 minutes until cheese is melted.

Serve hot.

As for the "That Cheesy Potato Pie Thing" - that is what my kids will call it because they won't remember the name. They will ask for this again.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Conversations with The Love Magnet

The other day while walking home from school, The Love Magnet waved to a boy.

"Hi, J!", she yelled enthusiastically. J waved back.

"Who was that?", I asked

"Oh, that J. He my husband."

I wasn't sure if I heard that one right. The Love Magnet is know for garbling speech now and then. I tried to play it cool. "He is what?"

"He my husband." TLM was trying hard to be patient with me.

"Sweetie, you are not married. You are 7 years old." Where on earth did she learn the context of the word husband?!! Surely she doesn't understand the definition.

"Moooom! I am married. He. My. HUSBAND!" TLM's patience was gone. I was now getting a lecture in her very best Let's-imitate-Mom-when-she's-exasperated voice. (This is one of the reasons Heavenly Father sent TLM to me. To show me exactly how I sound to my kids. It's usually humbling. Not today....)

"Sweetheart, you have to be old to be married. Old like me." Normally I wouldn't call myself old, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

"Mom, I grow up now. I tall." My daughter apparently believed that settled matters.

I left the conversation alone, hoping that she would forget about it. She did not mention for the rest of the day.

Thank goodness.

How on earth am I going to handle it when she turns 16 and wants to date and drive?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Been deathly ill.....

Not me.

My computer.

One of my sons chose to turn of the firewall so they could play some online game. This child will remain nameless. He is deeply sorry for what happened next.

I got on the computer after him. While doing some browsing, clicking on only the sites that had the green light from my computer, the computer caught a virus. A really nasty one that downloaded a ton of porn, gambling sites, and something from Africa that I was afraid would be identity-stealing something-or-other. I couldn't turn the computer off. It did not occur to me to pull the plug. People, I was TRAUMATIZED!

What evil people design things like these computer viruses?

After realizing that Spybot and some other programs I had were not going to touch these, I turned the computer off. The very next morning I took it to my local computer doctor.

It was bad timing. I had an online test for my Speech Phonetics class that started that day. there was no way the computer doctor could heal this patient before the exam would close (not unless I paid exorbitant amounts of extra cash). I had to live for nearly a week without my beloved computer.

It was withdrawal. It was inconvenient. I could not do my online labs. I couldn't print off the Power Point lectures to take to class. No recipes. No online Cookie friends. No Facebook. No email, online newspapers, Craiglist, IMDB. No blogging or reading other blogs.

It was really, really hard.

Oh happy day when the computer doctor called to say it was ready. I brought it home and waited for Mr. Wonderful to set it up. This morning I grew impatient and discovered that I could set up the computer all by myself. I am feeling like I accomplished something.

And just what did I do very first thing on the internet? Online lab? Nope....

Slogged through hundreds of emails.

Followed by blogging to you, my dear reader. I am sorry you were second. I shall repent. Hopefully there will be no next time when my computer becomes deathly ill.

If your compassionate side feels the need to give me service in this time of travail (even though it is over), I accept cyber casseroles.

Or real-life laundry service.

Yeah. I didn't think I'd get any takers on that laundry service, either.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Sunday Gratitudes (on a Monday)

A week ago, Sunday, Mr. Wonderful gave each of us a blessing for school. I am grateful for the priesthood he holds. I love listening to the blessing given to children. One was blessed with determination, another was blessed with the desire and ability to include everyone and be a leader to his peers in kindness. A third son was blessed to have better organizational skills. The Love Magnet was blessed that she would understand the social cues of her peers.

In my blessing, I was advised to keep a journal of my experiences at school. I used to be a daily journal keeper for years. Not any more. So today I picked up another journal (The Love Magnet came with me and picked out a blue one). Tonight I start working on making journal writing a habit again. I am grateful for the nudge in the right direction. I used to really enjoy journal writing. My kids love to read entries about themselves.

Over the weekend I made two batches of plum-vanilla jam. There is something in the ritual of making jam. The prepping of the fruit. Using MCP pectin (the pectin that Grandma S insisted was the only brand to use). Ladling hot jam in to hot, sterilized jars. The hot water bath (for the jam - I don't get a hot bath until later!) Hearing that absolutely wonderful soft ping that tells me the jars are sealing as they are lifted out of the canning kettle. This routine was taught to me by my grandma and my mom. Yet again, I am so very grateful for cooking traditions handed down. One batch didn't gel properly (I forgot to add the pectin at the right time and added it after the sugar). It did thicken a little bit and will make great pancake/waffle syrup.

My kids had their first week back at school. I am thankful to be back in a routine.

We had some ward members over for the BYU game. I found another kindred spirit among them. As she put it, we just get each other. Today she brought over her copy of In Defense Of Food by Michael Pollen. I am thankful for her thoughtfulness. I am also thankful for new friends. The Love Magnet and Thirdborn had a great time play with their kids. I am really looking forward to the next game, even though I don't watch football. The guys can watch. We'll talk. (Jen, I'll let you watch the game if you really want to.) Next time I'll take pics of the food and people.