United States of Motherhood: November 2009

Monday, November 30, 2009

Belated Thanksgiving Favorites: Or How We Still Serve a Cow-sized Amount of Food For Our Family of Five

Yes, my friends.

I know.

I know it's Monday after Thanksgiving.


I had all sorts of ideas to write about this last week-end...

Really I did!

Then endless Pictionary games, with the kiddos, hours of movie watching, and of course, endless Turkey munching somehow got in the way.

And by saying endless?

I mean endless.

It seems you can take this girl from a family of eight, but you can't take the family of eight mentality out of this girl.

Our last Thanksgiving hosted in California among family had 32 guests.

This time?

Just us five.

We searched high and low for a smaller turkey, but somehow the smallest we could find was 16 lbs.

Sigh. What to do!

It was difficult, but we settled for the larger bird.

We strategized that we could cut back on the excess with the sides.

We had the kids pitch in to help.

PB helped peel and cut the sweet potatoes.

And yes, I mean real sweet potatoes.

You know the golden ones with brown peels.

It's very strange up here in the Pacific Northwest where they label Garnet YAMS as "SWEET POTATOES."

I totally call bull shit on that.

Yams are not sweet potatoes.

Get it right Costco and QFC.

We finally, at Safeway, a California-based grocery chain, found the real deal.


Li'l Man helped roll out dough for CG's Grandma's treasured Pilgrim Pumpkin Pie.

Ah, pumpkin pie! CG's specialty. Well that and cheesecake. He passed on his skillz to the young whippersnappers this week-end.

It's always quite reassuring to see one's children cook.

It makes you triumphant that perhaps your little cubs won't starve if ever something were to happen to you.

At least the young pups won't eat themselves, eh?

So where was I?

Or Eldest for that matter?

Just driving his skinny butt to swimming in the morning.


Yes, swimming!

As in we so crazy to be on a competitive swim team that swims on Thanksgiving morning when tummies should be rumbling and gurgling, curled up on the couch watching parades as the smells of not yet done turkey wafting through the house torture young minds.

So back to the food!

After picking up Eldest, we chopped, basted, and lightly bickered as only more than one cook in the kitchen often allows.

Okay, maybe more than lightly because everyone, but CG, knows that I am the superior cook.


Heh! Heh!

{I am sure CG will have more to say in the comments...all of which will be LIES! }

So we scaled back recipes and still we ended up with 24 servings of caramelized onion and mushroom stuffing, cider sweetened carrots, homemade cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes for twenty, and too many other dishes to bother listing:


It pretty much looked the same even after we had gorged ourselves.

Le sigh!

No worries. No sadness here because my second favorite part of Thanksgiving is the leftovers....

And more leftovers...

And more dreamy leftovers...

'Cause everyone knows that gravy and stuffing are empty of calories after Turkey day, right?

That's my story and I'm sticking to it because these leftovers mean no cooking for at least a week. Heh!!

Happy Belated Thanksgiving, my friends.

Oh, I almost forgot! No holiday is complete without the ass in the family.

You know there's always one.

This year, it was difficult to choose, but I nominate Seb:

Always looking for opportunities: Don't worry, there's enough for you my beloved furry friend.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Day Dreaming at the Gym: Betcha Don't Know What I'm Thinking

Ah, the gym.
Justify Full
My home away from home of late.

The camaraderie and smiles of recognition of becoming a regular.

The achievement of becoming part of a community.

A family.

And just like family members?

Freaking annoying.

Case in point, a sweaty, graying lady that seems magnetized to every part of the gym I populate. Let's call her Cantankerous Nana.

Nana never wipes down her machine. She refuses to circle swim while taking up entire lanes swimming like a geriatric turtle. She spends maybe 5 minutes on each machine, but you'd think it was a marathon with her grunting.

Kudos for her for trying yes? Well....

Last week, I sat next to her at stationary bikes. Apparently, Nana had to cough.

To be sure, I am already so skeeved about getting H1N1 that I've taken to biking while touching the least amount of the bike as possible and copiously using hand sanitizer.

Nana has no such compulsion.

So she decides to do the turn 'n cough. Without tissue or covered mouth. Un-apologetically, she turned to the right and coughed in my face with no attempt to cover.

Lest we think it was an accident, complete eye contact was made and no apology was offered.

I mean even my seven year old knows to use his cough pocket.

She wiped the spittle from her mouth with her bare hand and then once again grabbed the handle of the bike with said infected digits. And, yes, no wipe down although the spray bottle of disinfectant and towels expectantly sat nary two feet from her machine.


Then this week, I grab a bike, see that it isn't working and move on to the next. Over the course of my 1 hour 20 minutes of biking, other patrons come and go. Many try the broken bike and some even check cords to fix it before shrugging and moving on. There are always plenty of machines available at this time of day.

Not Nana.

Nope, she takes all her towels, magazine rack, and magazine there and settles in.

I actually didn't notice at first as I was quite engaged with a love affair with a Barefoot Countess cooking show to keep my mind off how much I hate exercising.

The screen was replete with gads of melted butter, delicious smoked meats, and pastas.

My headphones enhanced the sounds of crunching bread being sliced and sizzling butter melting. It was so mesmerizing that I am sure I was drooling...

You know pretty much all the foods which got me here to the gym in the first place.

I startled when I heard her loud sigh when she realized her bike was not operable.

I felt a stirring of sympathy and with a smile of empathy, I made eye contact and said,

"Oh, I know. It didn't work for me either."

Her response to my commiserating tone?

She practically shouted with disgust as if I broke the damn machine myself,

"Well!! Why didn't you tell me! Humph."

Flabbergasted, I gazed back as she gave me an evil look and staggered off in a geriatric huff.

Can someone tell me when the magic age these days occurs when the Aged think their years allow them to be rude to everyone?

To be aggressively grumpy? Snappish? Meanies?

Yeah, me neither.

Perhaps the snappish kind should wear signs to warn unsuspecting patrons? A muzzle wouldn't be a bad idea either.

I am thinking however that 37 years is the age when it's okay to snap back and trip Nana into breaking her hip?

Yes. Wrong, I know. Respect thy elders. I did say thinking. Well dreaming mayhaps...

However, I know next time that I try to keep my mind engaged on that bike, it will have nothing to do with a Barefoot Countessa's menus dripping with cream and melted butter and all to do with an engaging day dream about Nana meeting a most fitting end worthy of her nasty demeanor.

There's nothing wrong with day dreaming is there?

Thx for the Flick pic by Abdullah AL-Naser and by Daniel Hughes

Monday, November 9, 2009

Blog Silence: Turning a New Leaf

I am still here.

I am recovered from hosting two Halloween parties of 20+ guests in two days.

And yet, I was absent here.

My usual blogging time was gobbled up by the turn of a new leaf.

I am so sick of the way I feel.

The fat arms. The thighs rubbing together. The bags under my eyes. The silent liver disease and not so silent exhaustion from anemia from blood loss. The constant wearing of workout clothes or jeans and bulky sweaters and scrapped back pony tails with ball caps to cover my failure. I am sick of making everything and everyone a priority, but me.

I feel limp and discarded like a fallen leaf trampled underfoot in the rain.

My five year older sister told me last week that she was pregnant with her seventh child and all I was thinking beyond congratulations is how does she have the energy?

I cannot imagine being pregnant again much less having the energy to start over.

It was a wake up call.

I need to get my physical house in order.

I need to belly button gaze.

I needed to get to the gym. And I did. Three hours of working out each day for four days. I can barely lift my arms. 15 miles (500 calories) of stationary bike or 1 hour 20 minutes of elliptical machine. 10 minutes rowing. 20 minutes weights. 500 yard swim. 200 ab crunches.

Every time. Every day.

I am still struggling to make this a routine.

It's even more of a struggle to type as even my hands, shoulders, and back are cramping. I am drowning in even more exhaustion than before in the hopes that my body will adapt.

It will adapt.

As I work out out, I struggle spending three hours of my day working on my body.

I feel selfish.

I think of all the things that need to get done around the house and I need to do for the house or kids. I mentally go through my outlook calendar for the week.

I also see my dimpled body in the mirror next to the sex kitten trophy wives. Most definitely they have the nannies and housekeepers and gardeners to be so selfish. I don't.

Yet, I stay. I will stay. I have the strength to look upward and forward.

I will make this a routine.

I want to have more energy and honestly, I want to be around for my family.

I fear in my current state of being, I won't be for long.

CG out of the blue asked me last week if I was happy.

I said I was.

Yet, the more I thought of it, I made all these laundry lists of what I needed to do and be to be happy.

Not sure if I was entirely honest with him, but I am working on it.

The struggle will be worth it.

It's appropriately ironic I heard a news story on NPR the other day about fall colors here.

While leaves die and trees go dormant, they produce the bright oranges and reds rather than just the yellows of dying chlorophyll.

It takes the trees extra energy that they could store, but it is a survival mechanism meant to ward of insects and disease: Expending more brilliant, beautiful , radiant energy at their time of exhaustion and want for sleep for the winter.

The brightest amount of color comes with the largest amount of stress for the tree.

It's become my anthem. I feel the results.

So what does that mean here? No worries. I am not quitting my blog.

I might not be here as often.

It's more about that I am re-prioritizing and realizing my health is most important for my longevity is all pursuits in my life.

I want to be around, my friends, so I sweat and silently struggle in the gym with my guilt for spending so much time on myself.

So if you see a falling leaf, struggling in the wind, or me or someone like me struggling just as much at the gym and in her mind, think of us all as trying to find some footing:

Trying to find our brilliant color in dealing with the stresses of life.

Thanks for the Flickr pics by Mubina H, by Lif..., by KM&G-Morris, by VancityAllie, by cmefish, by Dr.DeNo, and by gentlepurespace

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