A Mommy Blog About Raising Men, Not Boys.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Betty Crocker Points Dilemma

So Betty Crocker has decided to do away with their catalog, and their points system. I have a dilemma. I have a whole envelope full of these things that I have been collecting for better than 10 years. I don't have a bajillion because I never collected them THAT Faithfully - but I do have quite a few. What to buy?

I have looked at their bundt pans, their various size bread pans and thought "man if i had the time, that would be cool to make." I love to bake and the Betty Crocker catalog is a WONDERLAND of baking ideas.

The Betty Crocker catalog is something of a midwestern tradition. I don't think I know anyone from the midwest whose grandma didn't collect those points. I know I used to browse through the catalog eyeballing the Royal Albert "Old Country Roses" china......does anyone make a prettier coffee service than them? They are the foofiest china dishes on the planet but I do love them so. I have never bought anything from their catalog, so I too am to blame for their demise.

My silverware that I use to this day came from that catalog. Oneida Chatelaine, purchased with points by my own Grandma Drake. It was her extra silverware that she kept stashed in the butlers pantry in big ziploc bags. She had purchased it for when she and my Grandpa retired to Florida. She purchased a full set of grapefruit spoons, ostensibly they were going to be eating a lot of grapefruit here.

They never made it here, but their silverware did. I just stirred my coffee with it this morning. I don't actually even like the pattern. But I don't know that I could ever get rid it. Perhaps I'll put it in a ziplock and wait for one of my own children to move out and pass it along. A weird heirloom thanks to the Betty Crocker Catalog. So far it's been to Indiana, Kentucky and Florida. Who knows where it will end up next.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Five People I Miss

On Memorial Day you are supposed to remember those who came before you. Specifically the war-dead, but in small towns you find that people tend to remember all of their dead. Graves that were gray and marked with cold stones all winter are dressed with flowers and flags and whatever else is deemed appropriate by the family. The visits to the graveyard are short but meaningful, and then your family goes on to go to the lake, the cookout, the picnic, or whatever event is scheduled to remind them of how very alive THEY still are.

I am 1000 miles away from all of my dead, but I think about them a lot. So instead of putting silk or plastic flowers on their graves, I thought I would tell you who they were and why I miss them, even the ones who were sometimes jerks.

I have thought a lot about the order in which to list them. Order can be very important. Is it more important to list them in order of how much I loved them, or in reverse order (sort of mean) or what. I decided on a methodical approach and am going to list them in order of death, regardless of my affection for them.

1. Robert Ellis Drake - my maternal grandfather. My grandfather was larger than life to me. He was kind, he was soft spoken and he was always interested in me. There was a gentleness about him that is difficult to describe, and in my memory he was wise and infallible. He probably wasn't, but I remember him that way. He built houses, he was a wonderful carpenter, he was the mayor for a long time, he worked the biggest garden you have ever seen (even as an adult I have never seen a garden as big as his was), and he was one of my great loves. The victim of small town medicine and the limitations of healthcare in the 70s, he died when I was in 1st grade. He took me to work with him once when he was the County Building Inspector. I don't remember much except following him around quietly while he talked to men who were building houses and he told them yes and no to various things they asked. But he took me to Just Rite for lunch, and we had cheeseburgers, fries and shakes. The night he died my parents took me over to a family friend's house while they went to the hospital. I remember exactly when the phone rang, it was a beige phone on a desk. My friends mom answered the phone and then set it down and began to cry. When my friend asked her mom what was wrong she just said "Oh I'm just feeling sorry for myself." and then she walked away from us. I didn't know what was wrong, I won't say that I did. But when I heard the news from my dad the next morning, all I could think about was that phone call, and the beige phone on the desk. And I was sort of upset that she didn't tell me right then. I guess my parents wanted me to go to sleep happy that night one last time.

2. My sister - Baby Brandon, also referred to in my family as "The Baby". My sister was born full term but dead, due to a placenta previa that went as wrong as could be. I never knew her of course. But I do hold the distinction of being the only person in my family who ever saw her. In the madness and drama of an emergency delivery where her own life was in jeapordy for real, my mother didn't get to see the baby. At the funeral home, my father asked me if I wanted to see The Baby and I said yes. So the funeral director walked me into a room with a tiny white casket. He opened the lid and inside was a doll dressed in white. Except that it wasn't a doll, it was a baby with darkish blonde hair and chubby cheeks. And she wasn't alive. The lid to a baby coffin doesn't open like a dutch door, as adult coffins do. It just pops right off, like tupperware. We went to the graveyard and the minister from the church I went to with grandma sometimes said some words and then they were done. A week later I went back to the grave with my dad, he was checking for a tiny marker that had been placed there, it read "Baby Brandon". My dad took a screw driver and chipped out a big chunk of the cement wall that marked the baby row (they have special parts of a cemetary for babies), in case the tiny marker was ever moved, he said. We both would know where it went. I haven't been back there since I moved to Florida. But I know for certain that next time I go, I will look for the chip in the cement, to see if I need to adjust the marker. (I have actually done it twice, having gone on occasion to visit my dead when I was alone and lived closer to home).

3. Daisy Eliza Barnett Pickerel - my maternal great-grandmother. My grandma Daisy was mean as a snake. She went more than a big nutty in her old age, but she lived to be 102 so that is probably okay. She once took a hammer to the ivory keys of my Starr mahogany piano. She smashed the ends of the keys and cracked the rest of them. She would get confused and throw things away. She called rubber bands "rubbers". She would get mad and onery and fuss about things. My uncle gave her a shot of whiskey in her coffee every morning to help her circulation. And she hated people who drank. (heehee, good for you uncle George). I have this memory of her as being an annoying old bat. Probably because I was too young to appreciate how very very old she really was. I can remember seeing a picture for the first time, of me sitting on a stool and her sitting next to me, and she's letting me iron. I was about two. The two of us have turned to the picture and we're both smiling. I'm clearly having a really good time. I wish I could remember her like that, but I just don't remember thost time. When I was a baby she came every day to stay with my mom, to help her with me and around the house. That tells me she was someone else before the frailty of 90+ years started to wear her down. She died on my birthday. My parents told me after my birthday party. I think I was not nearly as sad about it as I should have been. I actually think that sometimes I am sadder about it now, because I wish I had known her differently. Someone who lives 102 years probably has something interesting to tell you.

4. George F. Pickerel - I can't for the life of me remember what the F stood for. Frederick? Frederick is likely. I can't remember why I think it is, though. My Uncle George was a confirmed old bachelor of the old fashioned sort. He liked the arts, he was a stylist who used to gamble in Cuba during the Batista days, he worked at 20th Century Fox doing the hair of people like Harriet Nelson (he knew tons of Hollywood gossip), and when I was little he worked at Blocks or Ayres (big dept stores) doing fashionable hair on older ladies who called him Mr. George. My Uncle George would take me to see any concert I ever wanted to see, any play, any musical. I saw Camelot with Richard Harris 3 times. We went to organ and piano concerts. He even took me to Clarinette concert once, it was the son of someone he knew. My Uncle George was interesting, and he'd tell me dirty jokes. He owned a huge farm when I was really little, and one of my clearest memories is the time I spent the night there. It rained, and the sound of rain on his tin roof (or whatever metal it was) was completely dramatic. I couldn't go to sleep, and he came in and found me crying in bed and asked me what was wrong. I told him that it was too quiet there, that I coudln't hear my dad talking or yelling at the cats and that I coudln't hear any cars. He smiled and said "Well I can go yell at your Grandma Daisy, will that help?" My Uncle George always had Land O' Lakes brand ice cream in his freezer and his kitchen always smelled like bleach because he cleaned with bleach all the time. He wore a toupee that he made and styled himself. When he died my grandma took the wrong toupee to the funeral home. She took the one he had set out to dry, having been washed. However, it was unstyled. So in his casket for all eternity, glued to the top of the head of a VERY vain man, is a flat hideous mess of hair. My mother and I were cracking up/pissed off through the entire calling. George would have hated it but if it had happed to someone else he would have thought it was a riot and told the story endlessly.

5. Clarissa Faye Pickerel Drake - my maternal grandmother. My Grandmother was just a wicked old broad. She drove fast, was a bigot first class and was exactly educated enough to be annoying as hell because she never actually knew what she was talking about - but she certainly THOUGHT she did. This isn't the person I miss, though. Because very few people are all bad or all good. I once read a quote that "the men who ran the gas chambers were kind to animals and loved their families." Well, my grandma wasn't THAT bad, but it's true, there was that side of her. There was the other side though, the side that I miss and that I wish my own children knew. It is the grandma who had hot chocolate going on the stove (the kind you make with mild and cocoa powder NOT instant mix) when I got to her house after school during the cold Indiana winter. She also would always have multicolored marshmallows to put into it. Each color had a different flavor. She would take me to Dairy Queen on summer nights, driving me down a steep hill that I LOVED to go down so that I would lose my stomach and laugh and laugh. She made the best persimmon pudding in the world and she could make angel food cake from scratch without a recipe - lickety split like you never saw. She and Uncle George (her brother) once took me on a train ride down into Kentucky and back. She took me to the movies once - to see FLASH GORDON. I'm not sure she appreciated the QUEEN soundtrack. Staying all night at her house meant watching Love Boat and Fantasy Island, and ice cream with chocolate syrup before bed. She'd wash my feet before I could get into her fantastically crisp, starched white sheets. Her radio had a timer on it, and she wrongly thought it would help me sleep. Instead I would lay in bed listening to the hits of the 70s for one hour, until it CLICKED off, and then I could roll over and go to sleep. She snored like CRAZY - the loudest, worst thing you have ever heard. Church on Sunday meant fun lunch afterward with all of her friends. And I could have an ice cream soda if I was good. It's this grandma, this version of who she was that I miss.

You never knew any of those people.....they fade from me more every year even though I remember them fondly. But the truth is you do know them. Because you know me. And they made me who I am. The things that are good about me, the things that are bad about me, are things I brought with me from the time I spent with these five people. Regardless of how painfully short that time was.

Saturday Night Noo-noo Fight


If you have kids, you understand. If you don't have kids.........it would just take too long to explain....

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Sarah I am going to KICK YOUR ASS

Okay, Sarah is like a best friend to me, but I am afraid that I am now going to have to kick her ass. Because you see......she recently posted about this thing her babies have about fighting over toys - and how she just trys to get two of everything because it minimizes the screaming.
And I commented and said "Oh that's only been a problem here a couple of times...".


That brings us to Bagheera. You know - Bagheera from the jungle book? We have this large stuffed Bagheera that we got for number one son when he was little. He used to like him but has since grown somewhat indifferent to him. But of course one of the twins decided that THIS stuffed animal is his baby. And it hasn't been a problem......he carries him around, he's started sleeping with him, etc. So number two son loves Bagheera. But it was still all good.
Until Sarah Posted about the RED BOWL.
I have removed Bagheera from the living room four times as punishment to both - in the space of three hours this morning.

There is shrieking, there are tantrums. There is biting. Oh my god there are tears on BOTH parts. I am unsure if number three son actually LOVES Bagheera or just wants to take him away from number two son. But I swear to you - next time we're at the mall, I'm popping into the Disney store to see if they have any more of these damn Bagheeras.

And so it begins.

Thursday, May 18, 2006


I'm bringing back Hella. Hella is now my adjective of choice.
Hella had a brief ressurection a few years ago thanks to Cartman, so I'm going to go hella-retro and bring it back AGAIN.

I haven't posted in several days......mostly the product of being crazy busy and hella tired.

Tonight I've taken a few minutes to veg out on the computer and having read some stories online I have just a couple of observations.

Axl Rosehas decided to wear his hair like Bo Derek in 10

God has chosen to only say very obvious/likely things to Pat Robertson, I suspect he may also reveal to him something about the tides waxing and waning, and that a volcano may erupt somewhere. And look, I'm not really hacking on Pat Robertson here, but is God really bored enough to tell us stuff like this? Does he not like Pat Robertson enough to tell him anything juicy? Like, could he tell us which one is crazy, Charlie Sheen or Denise Richards? Now THAT I would be interested in. Or some sort of SPECIFIC disaster, if he wants to be disaster-themed, rather than just gossipy. After all, didn't he tell Lot WHAT city to be out of? He didn't just ring Lot up and say "Lot, there is a city that you shouldn't be in this year at some point." He was specific. God tends to be specific about warnings if he actually means to warn anyone about things.
Which makes me think he's messing with Pat Robertson.

In other completely unrelated news I am reading, under duress, a feckin brilliant book. It's called MIDDLESEX by Jeffrey Eugenides (not sure on the spelling). I tend not to read books forced on me by other people but both Becky AND Sarah said it was required reading. They were right. I'm reading it at work which is a hassle because despite sitting in a corner alone and trying to appear withdrawn people constantly SIT with me and talk to me during my lunch (also known as reading time.)

This book is hella-good.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Making Up Holidays

There are now Hallmark Holidays, and there are holidays promoted solely for the purpose of drinking (contrary to their origin) - such as Cinco de Mayo. So Hallmark reaps the benefits of Mother's Day, Father's Day, Admin Assistant's Day and their ilk and Corona and Jose Cuervo embrace Cinco de Mayo.
I am beginning to think that not only am I going to whole heartedly embrace these holidays of corporate sponsorship.......I think we should have MORE of them.
I think that more foods and drinks should have holidays.
I want a day for White Russians - perhaps Oct 25 - the day of the October Revolution could be our Russian Revolution Day! We could have drink specials on white russians, black russians.....what else people? What could we serve on that day?
What about Bastille day? July 14 would be a bad ass day to drink Cognac! Huge drunk ass champagne parties. You could serve CAKE at those parties......oh yeah....the entertaining ideas are flowing now. (Get it, let them eat cake).
Kristallnacht was a bad memorable day, why we have a drinking OR a Hallmark thing going on for that? That's a German historical date so obviously, we just drink German beer that day.
Battle of Gettysburg party anyone? Where are we going for the 1066 party tonight?
Hey what are you going to wear to the Magna Carta rave tonight? They're serving mead and what else?

I am going to party down like it's 1491 (Henry VIII's birthday party celebration, of course).

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


Okay, so I'm tired of getting busted singing in my car.  Yesterday I actually saw someone bust out laughing.

Don't most of you sing in your car?  I mean, what do you  DO in your car if you don't sing?

It goes like this.  Get into car.  Start car.  CD comes on, left from my husband who leaves me a song cued up every time he's the last one in the car.  This morning it was Stevie Wonder.  "MUSIC IS A WORLD WITHIN ITSELF....."so that lasts me until I get out of the complex.  I flip around on the CD. 

Track 9 "VERY SUPERSTITIOUS - writing's on the wall....." I don't finish that one, get about half way through and realize I'm just singing the horn bops.    Flip to track 20.  "Over time, I am building my castles of love".......

Flip to radio.  80s station, don't want to sing that, flip to light rock "Just like the ocean, under the moon"I give Rob Thomas a good belt out as I'm cruising down the road.  Yes, I see you looking at me.  Leave me alone.  Turn onto the expressway. 

Flip to Country "Bermudas, flip flops and a tank top tan, he popped his first top at ten AM that's BOB  - he's our president!  Bring your Johnson, Murphy or your Evinrude and Fire'r up - meet us out at party cove......."  Go through the toll booth.  Traffic is insane, decide to get OFF expressway.

Flip to rock "Hey you hey you, devil's little sister, listening to your twisted transistor, hold it between your legs, turn it up turn it up"....listen to traffic report.  DJs start talking too much.

Turn onto back road, traffic is crazy.  Flip through CDs.  Scissor Sisters "We're gonna take your Mama out all night, yeah we'll show her what it's all about".

I sing loud.  I sing off key in MANY instances.  I don't care.  So quit looking at me.  My car is my own personal stage.  No one can vote me off that show.  I will sing back up.  I will sing melody.  I will sing the horn parts. 

I am sure that I am funny.  But you are getting on my nerves.  After all, I didn't snap a picture of YOU when you were picking your nose and put it on my blog,   And I know I look stupid singing like a rock start while driving. 

But YOU are not invisible while picking your nose.  So there.






Saturday, May 06, 2006

HRT - It's not just for Grey Haired Ladies Anymore

So being on Mirena for birth control, I haven't really been having periods (okay boys don't freak out on me, I promise not to start talking in detail about oogie stuff) for a while. I went through a period where I had them constantly and now I never get a real one. Not what is REAL in my book.
But what I DO get is what you might call the PMS ramp up. I get cranky, bitchy, short tempered, easily angered, more likely to fight with people etc. Pre-Mirena I would experience this charming PMS personality alteration for a couple of days, then Aunt Martha's Big Red Bus of Joy would arrive and there would be these sense of physical RELIEF. Ahhhhhh.
There it is. Relief, I'm normal again.
What it constitutes is a hormonal shift - increase in progesterone during PMS then flood of estrogen during my period.
Well, now I get the big build up.......but no relief. I never get that AHHHHHHH. That feeling of okay, I'm better. It sort of fades without much notice but I never have that catharsis that I've been used to.
And I'm not even sure if my PMS isn't just BUILDING each time, so it starts at a higher level - which makes me MORE bitchy and crazy than I was the previous month....it sort of feels that way.

So at my annual happy fun visit at the gyno I told the brilliant Dr Irvin this.
And she said "you need an estrogen boost, you will feel better."

So for the next two weeks, I am taking estrogen. Premarin to be exact. Just for two weeks. Apparently, despite the fact that it is going to make me possibly very sad or very happy (estrogen related emotions) and I will be more likely to cry for no reason, I am going to feel much better.

She says I may have to do this for once or twice a year. A big estrogen jam session.

So if I start posting about my cat who lived for 18 years, or about how much I LOVE YOU, or I call you to proclaim these things and then start sobbing.......well.....it's not that I don't love you.

But it's mostly just the estrogen talking.

I just took the first pill. Look out Everyone.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The Down Side of Home Microdermabrasion

The good thing about buying a home microdermabrasion kit is that you pay $50 and get a tons of treatments out of it. Instead of paying $50 for them to do it to you one time at the salon.
The down side.......
is getting the little bits of grainy whatnot in your eye.

My eyeball was not interested in being smoothed or sanded.

Let me just assure of you that.