Monday, February 28, 2011

What Would It Look Like If A Man Made of Sloppy Joe Threw Up All Over Your House... And Then Exploded?

I held a serving bowl of fruit salad in one hand and a serving bowl of Sloppy Joe meat in the other. Now, when I tripped backward over the three-foot-tall mechanical dinosaur, which bowl do you think I would throw like a frisbee in a 135° arc across the house? Do you think it would be the bowl with twenty pieces of easily-fetched fruit? Or do you think it would be the bowl that would make the couch, floor, counters, refrigerator, trashcan (the list goes on and on...) look like they had been privy to a grisly murder?

You know the answer here, right?

Luckily, my in-laws were over for dinner that night (all the more people-to-treat-to-manual-labor-at-your-house-when-you-claim-they-are-"guests" the better, I say). So, everyone grabbed a Clorox wipe/paper towel/mop and got to cleaning. We were pretty effective (and disturbingly sticky) by the time it was all said and done.

The episode was slowly becoming nothing but a nightmarish charming anecdote.


Today. I threw my head back to take the last drink out of my can of Coke Zero and what should I see?

On the ceiling.*

I feel like MacBeth's wife. "Out damned spot! Out, I say!"

*I tried to take a picture for your viewing pleasure. But, evidently you need specialized CSI equipment for sloppy joe to appear visible on film. Maybe some sloppy joe luminol, too.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

I think I'm probably on a "Watch List"

So. My maiden name. It's Selim. We pronounce it Salem. We got it from my Swedish great-grandfather. But, that name doesn't scream Scandinavian ancestry.

Couple it with my first name, Ali (really just the first part of Alison) and... well... growing up, people did not expect to see me walk through the door.

It really did take me two weeks longer than Shawn to get my passport approved. I'm just saying. My maiden name is misleading.

Well, last night I realized that this post ("I'd Like a Side of Cardboard with that, Please") is listed over there ---> as one of my most popular ones. ?! That doesn't make any sense. I mean it's clever (duh!), but it's nothing special. Then I realized it had the word "anthrax" in it.

Then, today they arrested a suspected terrorist in the town from which I just moved. The article even quotes the Assistant Attorney General stressing the "importance of vigilance."

Uh oh. I'm so on a "watch list." But, let's be clear. Unlike this suspect, I have never:
  • researched online how to construct an IED using several chemicals as ingredients;
  • acquired or taken a substantial step toward acquiring most of the ingredients and equipment necessary to construct an IED;
  • conducted online research of several potential U.S. targets;
  • or described my desire for violent jihad and martyrdom in blog postings and a personal journal.
Nope. Nope, Homeland Security. Just a simple ol' housewife here talking about my bizarro sunroom, roach encounters and how much I love my son and daughter; and, maybe, just maybe, every now and then I get hit on, just to keep it exciting.

So, perhaps I'm good. *fingers crossed*

P.S. Before I posted this I asked Shawn, "Will you come read this blog post and make sure I can publish it without getting arrested as a terrorist?" He answered, "I'm going to say, 'No. You can't.' just for the fact you think you have to ask."

Oh yeah. I signed up with bloglovin. Hopefully, I can be a better follower of all my favorite blogs this way. You can follow my blog with bloglovin by clicking here.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Name That Rodent

A few days ago I posted on Facebook that Elizabeth had come in from playing in the yard to announce, "Mama! Me and Brother found a dead hamster in backyard!" I commented that I didn't know what I was about to see, but I was sure I wasn't going to enjoy it.

For all the world, what I saw looked like a hamster. I even made Shawn come investigate later. He said it didn't "have the coloring of a rat." ?! I don't even really know what that means. I don't think I want to know what that means.

A couple of smart alec friends of mine suggested that they wouldn't believe it until they had photographic evidence. So, Lin and Yvette, be careful what you wish for.

You look. And, tell me that's not a hamster.
I know I don't have a size reference. Just think Zhu Zhu pet.

It seems too fluffy and brown to be a mouse. It even has ears like a hamster (but, to be honest, I don't know that hamsters and mice don't have the same ears). I feel like I need to start polling the neighborhood kids and asking if any of them have lost a pet recently... and then tell them I have some bad news... and a picture.

Monday, February 21, 2011

A Tale of Banana Cake

I had bananas that had gone far too ripe. I was sick of banana bread. So, I turned to trusty to look for a banana cake recipe. I found one. It had a four and a half star rating (out of five) with 700 reviews. I thought surely it couldn't be that bad.

As it happened, just as the cake was coming out of the oven, I found out a friend of mine was coming through town. I told him I had banana cake and I was willing to share. We took some to him. Then, and only then, did we come home and try some of the cake ourselves.

Y'all? This was God balancing things out for allowing my family to suffer through The Fish Stick Po'Boy debacle of '11. Shawn and the kids are still mad at me for sharing. They unanimously decided that I should make another one. And, they made me vow to never share banana cake again.

So, the kids are home from school today. I thought we could make banana cake together, but then a thought struck me. We're going to Lubbock this weekend. We will stay with my parents. Wouldn't it be nice to arrive with a fresh cake in hand? Maybe I should wait a few days before I whip up this next batch.

I texted this idea to Shawn. The immediate response I got was, and I quote, "Are you high?!?!?!"

Really, y'all. This is good cake.

So, without further ado.

3/4 cup butter
2 1/8 cups white sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 1/2 cups mashed bananas

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 275 degrees F (135 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9x13 inch pan. In a small bowl, mix mashed bananas with lemon juice, set aside. In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream 3/4 cup butter and 2 1/8 cups sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in 2 teaspoons vanilla. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk. Stir in banana mixture. Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and place directly into freezer for 45 minutes. This will make the cake very moist.

For the frosting: In a large bowl, cream 1/2 cup butter and cream cheese until smooth. Beat in 1 teaspoon vanilla. Add confectioners sugar and beat on low speed until combined, then on high until frosting is smooth. Spread on cooled cake.

[I'm sharing this with those of you who are sweet enough to read this here little ol' blog day in and day out. Consider it my gift to you. To the rest of the world, I'm going to act like this is a secret family recipe - and make them beg for it!]

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Recipe From Hell

So. I'm newly in love with I've told you about it before. But, seriously. It has changed my cooking life. I don't stress about what to cook for dinner anymore. I don't worry about the "complete" meal - they even tell me sides. They give me a weekly grocery list, so I always have the ingredients I need on hand. And, my poor family isn't having to be fed a steady rotation of spaghetti, tacos and meatloaf. I could go on and on.


They told me to make Fish Stick Po'Boys.

Now, I know they can't hit them all out of the park. But, Holy Barf Wad, Batman. This was bad.

Let me reemphasis. Dis.gus.ting.

I know cooking up some frozen fish sticks and throwing them in a Po'Boy sandwich wouldn't have been the most nutritionally sound decision. But, at least that would have tasted good - especially with the yummy sauce that was part of the recipe. Baking frozen tilapia fillets and cutting them in strips so the slimy, fishy foulness goo-ed in your mouth with each bite. Well, that was just cruel.

As Shawn said, "I think one of the fundamental requirements of a recipe should be that it doesn't make people throw up in their mouths."

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

True Confession

I only have this cookbook out for show.
I was forced to admit this to myself when I walked past it the other day and the following words caught my eye:
I don't know what the majority of the words in the phrase "4 heads Belgian endive (chicory/witloof)" mean. Witloof?!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Please, Mother. May I have some water for Valentine's Day?

My sweetest boy gave me this for Valentine's Day:
I love my mama
because she cooks dinner.
And then she lets
me and my sister
go and play in the
snow. Then she lets
me have some water
before bed.
To be clear, we let him have water at other times, too. Sometimes we even let him have some stale bread to go with it.

Friday, February 11, 2011

I wanted to come up with another song to get stuck in your head for today's post title. But, I couldn't think of one. So I'll just say this: "I Got You Babe." You're Welcome.

My sister called to check on me. Big sisters will never listen. I kicked her in the crotch.

After I got off the phone with her, Shawn said, "What was that?" (Um. Honey? You don't read my blog?! WTH?!)

I told him, "I wrote a 'wah, wah, wah' blog post yesterday."

And, truly. That's what it was. I just needed to feel sorry for myself for a minute, get it out of my system and move on. Pity, Party of One?

Thanks for listening. Thanks for not making me feel like a doofus for "sharing." You guys really are the greatest.

I feel much better today.

Also, after the post the following happened:
  • Shawn found us a babysitter* so I could go to the Book Club of which I had counted myself out. (Probably the origin of my whining yesterday, truth be told. Shawn had an event. My in-laws were snowed in**. I was going to miss the first "girl thing" I had been looking forward to for a month.) But, I got to go! And, talk to grown-ups! And, there were cookies!
  • Shawn and I got an Evite to a cocktail hour at a church we visited. (Love the churches that throw happy hours!) I'm not even sure we can go. But we got invited!
  • I went to Elizabeth's Valentine's Party at school. I was reminded. There will be opportunities to be around other people. (And, sometimes, those opportunities are class parties. With loud children everywhere. And I wonder why I thought solitude was such a bad thing... I jest... Kinda.)
Like I knew all along. It will happen. It just takes time. I have to be patient.

Have I mentioned I'm not very good at "patient"?

But, thanks again for thinking of me. Thanks for not worrying about me (out loud). If you all are examples of the friends that are out there waiting for me, I have amazing things ahead of me, indeed. 

Today is a much brighter day.

*Awesome girl. She came even though I called her at the last minute. She drove in snow and ice**. She got stuck in a snowbank at the edge of our steep driveway when she arrived; she threw open her door and said, "I think I'll park here!" Both kids woke up this morning and told us at separate times how much they liked her and that "she was funny!" (I think she read their bedtime stories with funny voices. A Johnson favorite, evidently.)

**Have I mentioned that there's about six inches of ice covering everything around here? Have I mentioned that Wednesday morning, after this blew in, it felt like NEGATIVE 26 degrees outside? I'm not sure why I'm whining about meeting people. I should probably be more concerned with The End of Times!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

She's Just a Small Town Girl, Living in a Lonely World

{I don't know if I'll even post this, or if I'm just doing some therapeutic writing.}

I noticed last night that I only posted nine times in the entire month of January. NINE. That's terrible. I think my creative juices are blocked because of what I'm trying not to say.

I hate to get too "heavy" on this here little, ol' blog. Life is "heavy" enough without dwelling on it. I prefer to find the things to laugh about. I survive finding the things to laugh about.

But, we're officially moved in. Life is in a routine. I clean. I run errands. I cook dinner. Shawn goes to work. The kids go to school. The four of us have never gotten along so well together or had so much fun with each other.

And, I'm lonely.

Now, here's the primary reason I will hesitate to publish this post: I don't want all of my friends from the old hometown calling everyone they know up here, putting out a APB on the lonely girl. I don't want to be set up on a million blind dates.

I also don't want to be pitied. I will be fine. I will make friends. I'm not at all worried about that. I just want all of that to have happened yesterday. We've discussed my complete lack of patience before, haven't we?

I just want time to move faster. I want to go to those events; help out at that school function; go to dinner with Shawn's associates; and, get to know people. And, I want it to happen now. I want to have my place in this space.

That all takes time.

{I just re-read this. "I want. I want. I want." I can almost hear God saying, "Yeah, Al. But, that's not what you need. I got this. Relax." (But, I don't literally hear Him. I promise. I don't hear voices. Yet.) Have you ever heard that saying, "If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans." I like that. I am that.}

Ok. I just needed to say it type it out loud. I feel better. The first one of you to pity me or call "because you're worried about me," is going to get kicked in the crotch.

Let the sarcasm resume.

{What do you know? I decided to post it...}

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

The Kitchen Did Nothing to Deserve This

I needed to make a birthday cake. A white cake with white icing. A diabetic recipe you say? I'm sure I can find something on the internet. I got this. I'm good.

Y'all? Hardest thing I've ever baked in my life. There was flour to sift. There were eggs to separate. There is a reason people use cake mixes out of the box.

I ran my thumb through the mixer.

I flicked batter in. my. eye. (That is distinctly gross, by the way. With every blink. Gross.)

I broke my necklace (I'm not sure that had anything to do with the plight of the cake - but, it happened while I was baking, so I'm using it.)

My kitchen. Looked like this:

There was batter all over the kitchen. There was batter all over me.

And the cake? It wasn't even that good.


I think my plans to turn this into a "crafty" blog just took a catastrophic blow. How disappointing.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Lessons from a Snowman

There are a couple of lessons to be learned here:
  • The time to take a snowman's picture is immediately upon completion. Snowmen do not age well. This pictures was taken a mere two hours after his creation.
To be clear: Our snowman originally had three buttons, a full smile, even eyes (not these creepy, winking-looking things) and a nose. That monstrosity in the middle of his face? That brings us to our next lesson...
  • Candy canes do not make good noses. They are made of sugar. Snow is made of water. Water makes sugar melt. Please. Learn from our mistake. Don't let one more snowman suffer.

[Ed. note: I thought I would go take an up-to-the-minute picture of the snowman just before I posted this - for your viewing pleasure, and all. (I know. I give and give on this blog. Oh stop.) As I walked down our icy, steep driveway I repeated over and over in my head, "Please do not slip on the ice. Please do not slip on the ice. Please do not..." And, then I slipped on the ice. From the feeling of things, I caught myself with my left thumb - quite a capable body part, so that shouldn't hurt at all later when the adrenaline wears off - and sent a shockwave up to my shoulder. Then? Then, y'all? I got up. And, I. took. the. picture.

The world needs to know: Time is not a snowman's friend.]
Oh, sweet mercy. He's been impaled by his own nose. The humanity.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

That Boy Ain't No Dummy

The sheriff's department came to the kids' school today and gave presentations about gun safety. Evidently, when the first graders got ahold of him, they quizzed him about all things "policeman." This is a topic near and dear to Spencer's heart since he has long wanted to be a policeman/firefighter/cowboy/ambulance driver.

He told me that the policeman had two sets of handcuffs "because sometimes he has to arrest big guys." Then he proceeded to show me just how far a "big guy" can get his hands behind his back. In case you were wondering, it's not very far - thus, the need for an extra set of cuffs to bridge the distance. Clever.

Then he told me, "The policeman got sprayed with pepper spray and it took two hours to get it out of his eyes. Then he got tasered, but that wasn't too bad, it just, like, knocks you out for five minutes or so."

I said, "Geez. That's sounds pretty terrible to me."

"Yeah. But, that's the stuff you have to do if you want to be a policeman."


"And, that's why I don't want to be a policeman anymore."


Tuesday, February 01, 2011

As I Cleaned the House...

... I found myself wondering, do Canadians need to have things spelled out for them, or are our American household products more heat resistant than theirs? If so, are there some household products that I should be flat ironing?
Also, if you need to be told not to use a straightening iron on your eyelashes, people can probably smell the stupid coming off of you. Literally.

... I realized we probably need to get Spence's window sealed a little better.
Yeah. That's snow.

... I decided Elizabeth probably isn't ready to babysit.
I'm not nearly so worried about the baby on her head. Or the one who's been put to bed buck-naked. It's the one with her face smashed into the bumper pad that really bothers me the most.

... I finished these. 
I had to. I couldn't count on Spencer to help me. He asked to try one for a snack the other day. I said, "Sure. But, they're pretty wild tasting and kind of spicy. Are you sure you want to?" He assured me he did. He popped one in his mouth, crunched down and looked at me in a way I can only describe as, "Has my whole life been leading up to this moment? This moment when you have chosen to kill me?"


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