Monday, December 29, 2008

I take it all back...

... at least for today.

I was just in the kitchen and Sam said, "Hey Joj, there are people down there. By the river. Camping."

I growled at the sound of his voice because I've had a grumpy morning. "You mean homeless?"

"I think so."

"We need to take them something. We need to go down there and ask them if they want some coffee." It's below freezing out there.

Without hesitation, even before I had turned around to put the covers back on the binocular lenses, he had his sweats and shoes on and headed out the door. This is not the man I fell in love with. The man I fell in love with was a bit of a miser. IS a miser. But ten years ago, he wouldn't have gone out there.

I watched him with the binoculars as he walked down to where a make-shift tent was shifting in the breeze. I couldn't see everything through the trees, but I could see him walk by a couple of times.

I called him. "So?"

"So, there's a dog in there but it doesn't look like there are any people. I walked to the second pile and it's just a bag of trash that's been ripped open and spread around."

"So, there was just a dog?"

"I guess," he said, sniffling against the cold.

"You have to go see if someone's in there," I said, biting my nails. Every night on the news, they report how many (and where) homeless people died of exposure the night before. What if there was someone dead in there?

"I'm not going in there with a dog." He said. But I could hear the uncertainty in his voice. Could tell he didn't want to come home yet.

"Just say 'is anyone in there?'" and see if someone comes out.


"And ask them if they want some hot chocolate and then call me and I'll make it," I said, already checking my mental inventory of our pantry to see what easy-to-open non-perishables we had. Not very many since we've gone all organic.

I saw him stop in front of the tent. I saw him nervously approach the tent. I saw him walk around the other side. Walk back to the front. Squat down.

A black dog came out and I held my breath for a second, praying that the dog wouldn't attack. You never know. But the dog's tail was wagging.

Sam nodded and stood up, walking away briskly.

I called him. "So?"


"Coffee or chocolate?"


"Can you go to the bakery and see if they have any baguettes?" I asked, kicking myself for not starting my bread earlier in the day or last night even.

"Yeah, but I don't have my wallet," he said.

"Come on up and get it."


Next thing I knew, he was here and gone.

I got the chocolate started on the stove, but I couldn't for the life of me find those plastic insulated cups I used to have. I think I recycled them in my attempt to get rid of all the plastic. I called him. "Hey, can you go to the droguerie to see if they have any thermoses?"

He didn't argue. He just went.

I put together a sack. A bag of Wheat Thins I knew I would never eat. A box of chocolate Newton kind of things. The rest of our no-bakes. The pastries his sister had given us on Christmas that, though they were good, we would never be able to finish. A small jar of apple butter. A liter of multi-vitamin juice. A liter of apple juice (both in cardboard cartons). A liter of milk. In the mean time, I stirred the chocolate on the stove.

Sam walked in with a thermos, a baguette and a package of hard sausage. He looked down at my bag. "What's this?"

I blushed. "It's just a bag."

"Really?" I could hear the light laughter in his voice.

"It's not much. Really." I blushed and turned away to hide my eyes brimming with tears.

"But we don't know if he's that bad off."

"Bad off? I'm not assuming anything. It's just some juice and leftovers. Nothing big." I shrugged.

"Are you sure?" he said gently.

I nodded, remembering how scared and alone I felt when I lived in a tent. When I was homeless. I nodded again and started to cry softly as I washed the thermos.

"Is it hot enough?" I said, clearing my throat and swallowing my tears.

"Yeah. It's steaming," Sam said as he stirred the chocolate.

I took the pan.

"All of that isn't going to fit in there," he said. Bless his heart.

I poured, confident. And it did fit. The last drop hit the maximum fill limit of the thermos.

"Well, I was wrong," he said, laughing. "You must have known the exact thermos I was going to buy."

I beamed. "Nope. Just further proof."

He smiled and pretended to wave it off. But we've been having a conversation for the past ten years about God, the Universe, coincidence, etc. He's coming around.

He put all the stuff into a cloth bag which I told him to leave with the guy because we have so many our bag closet won't close.

I watched with the binoculars as he walked over there, squatted down, shifted the contents of the bag a little, stood up, nodded, waved and walked away.

I called. "Are you crying?"

"No." Liar.


"So, I told him that the chocolate was in the thermos and that you had packed a little food for the day. I told him Bonnes Fetes (happy holidays) and he said Merci et Bonnes Fetes a vous aussi."

Ironically, on the way down, he had run into our neighbor. While I thought the neighbor would snicker at what we were doing, Sam said that he had the opposite reaction. Somber and concerned. That's good to hear.

While I was watching out the window, I looked over and saw Ryan watching, too. He said, "Is that man cold? Can I go share my toys with him?"

Crying, I explained that the man probably was cold and that he didn't have everything he needed like we do. That he probably didn't get to take a bath everyday. That he had to sleep outside and that he didn't have enough food. I even walked Ryan out onto the balcony to show him how cold it was outside compared to our nice warm apartment.

"See, some people don't have everything they need. That's why we should never waste what we have. Why we should always appreciate every single thing we have."

"Let's go give him that stuff he needs, Mama. Can we?"

I started sobbing. I nodded. "Papa took him some hot chocolate and some food."


Sam just left my office. He was holding the baby getting her ready to put her down for her nap. And he was crying. Me too. I told him we should look up the local associations to help the needy and homeless. I think that's what he's doing in there in his office because I can hear him sniffling.

I hate a lot of things about him. About how easy it is for him to grow complacent. To lose focus. To lose concentration. But that's not his fault. He didn't have the same life I did. He doesn't know hunger and cold. How can I expect him to know?

But he didn't hesitate. He didn't even ask himself the questions. He didn't keep his shyness from helping that guy out. I can't let him go just for that reason alone. Because, though I know we've got a lot of work to do on our relationship, there IS something that holds me to him. There IS something that makes me love him.

I do love him.

Sunday, December 28, 2008


I can't stop dreaming about them. That makes like three nights in a row that I have had dreams about rolling out pasta. I even came up with some kind of Christmas noodle, that magically brought peace to the house who rolled it out and cooked it up.

Am I going crazy?


I hate it. I've tried to stave it off. But there's no denying, the depression is coming back. And I'm not talkin' about the economy. I've had a pretty good few weeks--even my hormonally-challenged week wasn't so bad this month--but it's all slammin' in on me, like football players on a field, tryin' to tackle my ass.

I know a lot of it is situational. The AMD still hasn't written. Granted, it's the holiday season and all, so I shouldn't be too bummed not to hear from him until about the middle of this week. But I am. I felt like writing him that email when I know he doesn't dig email was a big step for me. Walking out on a limb. But the limb feels more like the plank right now.

I've lost sight of Sam again. He's giving me those looks. The ones that imply I'm stupid or less than valid. I'll find him and say, "Hey, I have an idea!" with excitement and hope clearly radiating from me. And instead of saying, "Hmmm, not bad... But what about..." He says, "Won't work. Too expensive. Ten years." or whatever. Sounds like caveman to me. I don't speak caveman very well, obviously. And he doesn't speak dreamer. Or innovator. Or happy.

I did clean my office. It looks swanky and shiny and smells like wood polish. But my desk feels bare and cold without my mounds of stuff. It was like drifts of fallen snow or piles of blankets or some shit. So, now, though my office LOOKS like an office, it feels like a walk in cooler. Oh well, I'm sure it won't be long before the snow drifts are back.

So, anyway, while I'm sitting here in my clean office, trying to recover from an afternoon with all the kids plus the neighbor kid... I'm playing Spider Solitaire *gasp* and trying to unwind, feeling very thankful that Sam is bathing the kids and not me. He comes into the living room to watch the news. So we do. It's been paused, so it's about a half hour behind the regular shows. Sam sees that Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is coming on in a few minutes and since it's in hi-def, he wants to record it on our DVR-type-thing. This is exciting for him. Another hi-def movie he can put on to babysit the kids for him while he does the accounts in the other room (something that he does for HOURS a day, by the way). So, he cuts off the news, "You don't really wanna watch any of those stories, right?" I shrug and make my way back to my Spider.

A few minutes later, he says, "Shit. The box turned off."


"So, that probably means the movie didn't record."

"Hm. That sucks." I really couldn't be bothered to care, but I want to show solidarity. We fucking own that movie. His answer: "But it's not in hi-def!" *eye roll*

Then, a few MORE minutes later, I hear football. He's watching sports.

I can't explain why, but this just plucks my very last nerve. I've ended up with exactly what I didn't want. A dude who takes every opportunity he can to sit down while I wait on him, so to speak, by doing his laundry and cooking his meals and cleaning up after him. You know, he gets up from the breakfast table and just moves on about his day, leaving the butter and jelly and Nutella still there on the table, and get this, still OPEN? "Oh, but he's leaving it there for you because you're not finished with your breakfast," you say? Nope. I finish breakfast in record time.

He comes in EVEN WHILE I'M SICK and says, "What do you propose for dinner?" That doesn't mean "What kind of take out would you like me to go get?" It means, "What are you making us?"

He gets all antsy and pissy and passive-agressive if he sees that I'm busy right about dinner time (or another meal) and it appears that I am not going to fix us something. Because that probably means I'm going to ask him to go get us a kebab or a pizza or something.

I love to cook. You all know this. But I have weeks (sick weeks) where I don't feel like making EVERY meal. I tried to teach him how to make mashed potatoes and grilled hamburger patties (FROZEN ONES), probably the EASIEST meal you could ever make. I said, "Okay, now remember this while I'm gone so you can cook the kids something to eat." He said, "Oooooh, no. While you're in Houston, we're eating canned ravioli." He's not joking.

So, the sports. I say, "Why do you watch sports?"

He says, "Why? What's going on?"

"Nothing. I just wondered what you get out of it, that's all." And I mean it. I know it sounds antagonistic, but I'm not trying to be. I REALLY REALLY want to know what people get out of watching other people run around a field. I get it, it's exciting and stuff. I've been to games at Penn State! I've watched the Nittany Lions and Ohio State on TV. I get into it and yell at the screen and get pissed off and depressed and say, "Oh well, we'll get 'em next year." But that's because I'm LINKED emotionally to those schools. I was BORN at Ohio State and GRADUATED from Penn State. I've BEEN there. Those places feel like HOME to me. Like FAMILY. Just like I'll always love the Houston Astros. Because I lived there.

But I don't get sitting on your ass, scratching your balls and watching some random game just because it's on. He doesn't look around to see if there's anything else on. Nope. At the first sound of the crowd and those ANNOYING sports commentators (just as annoying in French, by the way, just less macho), he stops flipping through channels as if mesmerized.

He says, "It's entertainment." But it's a groan. He doesn't like the line of questioning.

"But why? Why is it entertaining?" I've become scientific about it now. I really do want to know WHAT it is that is entertaining about watching some random game. I mean, he almost ALWAYS falls asleep during them anyway. And, if I get up and go to bed, like I did last night, he usually turns off the TV, gets up and goes to bed, too.

Oh, and you think it's so we can be together and talk? Nope. He climbs in bed, turns his back to me and within seconds is snoring. So, what about the game? Why sit there and watch a portion of it and then just go to bed? Are not invested enough in it after watching for an hour? I just don't get it.

The only things we have in common are the kids. Now that Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is over and we're not reading TOGETHER anymore, it seems like the glitter has faded. He's on vacation right now. Yesterday when all the kids were sleeping, I asked him to come look at farms with me. Just to be together. To do something together. He wouldn't.

And now, sometimes, I'm not sure I WANT to do the farm together. I SO believe in this farm that I'm afraid of him getting involved because I know how he is. Defeat at every turn. No positivity or optimism in him. What if I get the farm started--purely from my own energy--and our marriage goes kaput? What if he tries to take the farm? I don't really see how I have any choice since he has basically crippled me. I don't have one leg to stand on. He likes that. Likes me to NEED him in that way. Likes that he's the one who does the accounts. When I ask him why he doesn't involve me more in it he says, "Sure. I will! I don't because you wouldn't like it. You don't like that kind of stuff."

Okay, granted, I don't like spending HOURS a day in front of Microsoft Money, looking at pie charts and bar graphs of our practices over the past whatever years, etc. True, I'm not into THAT shit. But I would like to know how much we have in each account and how much we owe and at what interest rate and which account we should make a priority. Etc. And I guess if I hounded him enough he would tell me. Well, that's not really true. When I hound him about it, he says, "Come here, I'll show you," and he'll lead me into his office so he can show me the fucking pie charts. REALLY? And then, he stands there and beams and waits for me to ask him to explain it all--again, dependent on him, weakened.

When I ask him, "How much money do we have?" He can't answer it. "How much debt?" Nope. Still no answer. He has to go in and look at the pie charts and make spreadsheets and stuff. You'd think that after spending hours and hours staring at them he would have some VAGUE idea what's there.

I complain, yes. But I see no other way. The chains are too tight now, with the kids and the blah blah blah. There's no getting away. So, there's only holding on. Until later. And when he does things that hurt me or make me feel lesser, I just absorb that and turn it into positive energy. Biding my time. Some day. I WILL succeed. I'll get published. And we'll be back in the States and I'll get a library job. And I'll have BOTH legs to stand on. And my kids will be older. And I'll have my farm. I have a lot to hope for.

What I don't kid myself about is ever feeling the way I used to feel about him.

Guess what I just did?

I just revised the first two chapters of my France memoire... I wrote it so long ago. Anyway, I'm working on the final revision. Cuz, even if AMD writes me and tells me he doesn't want the other book, he already told me to send him this one. I want it ready either way. Cross your fingers.

The lasagna turned out DAMN good! I would have taken a picture, but by the time it was warmed up, we were so hungry, I forgot to do it. The kids even gobbled it up.

Now, replenished with my revisionary accomplishments, I'm going to clean my office!

Oh and... in protest of Christmas, I'm about to recycle all of my empty cards I've been holding onto... thinking that one day I might send them out. I know I never will again. I'll hold onto the envelopes, though. Those always come in handy.

Dude. I'm manic.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Where were we?...

...Oh yeah, Lolo had gone to the emergency room...

Well, of COURSE, Sam waited there until 6:30 for some acne-faced intern to tell him that the baby had rheno-pharyngitis and to go home. REALLY? We could have told him that. He said to give her Tylenol (well the French equiv). Whatever. The hard part was that we did give her the Tylenol and um, the fever went away (of course) and when it came back, it wasn't as high and except for the snot, she's nearly better.


What a week, eh?

Sunday night, we had our sushi party. I got everything ready ahead of time. I julienned the avacadoes, cucumbers and fake crab. I toasted sesame seeds. I cooked a kilo (dry) of rice in my new rice cooker. I made sushi vinegar with salt and sugar and seasoned the rice. I mixed up a fresh batch of wasabi and set out a jar of pickled ginger. I set the table with bamboo placemats and silk-stockinged chop-sticks (I even had a set of four "cheater" chopsticks) and freshly laundered white napkins. Everything was perfect. I had even found organic nori earlier in the week and was just tickled pink about it.

Flavia and Gilles got here first and brought an AWESOME bottle of rose (ro-ZAY) with them. The neighbors, a couple of their guests, and all their four kids got there a fashionably late and just in time to start rolling the sushi (the other four of us had already started drinking appetizer drinks--a litchi liqueur mixed with fruit juice and whole litchi's in the glass--and so were ready to get to the main eating.

I unveiled the rice and everyone did an "ooooooooh." Just to get a check of how many people needed instruction, I said, "Okay, now, who here already knows how to roll sushi?"

It was there that everything fell apart. My neighbor's guest lady said, "MOI!" and jumped up to the table and started rolling. My neighbor smiled and said, "Yeah, my friend is an expert." I stood there with mouth agape. What I had planned was an organized demonstration of sushi rolling starring yours truly. What I got was this presumptuous chick blocking everyone else's view. THEN, she has the NERVE to say, "Uh, can I add some water to this rice cuz it seems a little dry." I'm sure my eyes bulged out of my head. WHAT? Add what to whom? I said, "Uh, well, um, uh..." Then, I watched as she put WAY too much rice on her sheet of nori and then proceeded to MASH it down into the seaweed. Cardinal sin in maki making. You don't CRUSH the kernels, yo. You respect the rice, dammit!!! So, I try to ignore her but I can feel myself trembling as I talk over her and try to show the rest of my guests (who are at this point completely disinterested in the sushi rolling because they can't see it) how to PROPERLY roll. And I do, and much to my pride and pleasure, my roll turns out perfect. My turn to be snooty, I guess. Expert my ass. I even made a successful California roll or two.

Overall, everyone did get a chance to roll one or two rolls each. I could have made another 500 grams of rice and it would have been the perfect amount. But the good news is, though everyone LOVED the sushi (and raved about the presentation of the table, etc.), I got to eat it again the next day. I just whipped up some more rice in my new cooker and broke out the leftover fixin's from the day before. Sam and I had a HUGE sushi lunch all by our lonesome!!!

As a side note, the neighbor came by and said that they had all thoroughly enjoyed the sushi night together (even though she had made a crack during the evening about American culture or whatever... I won't try to relive it for you because it will just piss me off all over again). That's good. We'll all get re-schooled when my Japanese friend gets back and teaches us how to make other kinds of sushi. I won't jump up and claim I'm an expert, I'll tell you that.

Tuesday was Lolo's first whole day at school. And since Lily was there all day and Ryan was on vacation, Sam and I took our big five-year-old out for lunch. We went to our favorite bouchon and had our favorite dishes (Ryan eating a steak hache (um, basically a bunless hamburger) and fries). Ryan did really well. He sat there and ate all his food with his fork and then thoroughly enjoyed his mousse au chocolat for dessert. Afterwards, he BEGGED me to take him on the metro. So, we walked to the Place Bellecour (stopping in a toy store to buy a wooden trinket or two) and watched the ice skaters turn around and around the temporary rink. But Ryan DESPERATELY wanted to ride the metro... more than watching the skaters. We hopped on the metro, got off at the tramway connection, took the tramway to the mall and caught the trolleybus home. Ryan was in mass transport heaven! I asked him if he'd like to get off the trolleybus at the other entrance of the parc and walk through the parc to get home, but he was exhausted at that point. Normally, he would have totally been all over the opportunity to run from one end of the parc to the other.

Wednesday (Christmas eve), Sam watched the girls so Ryan and I went out again since I needed to pick up a few last minute things before everything closed down. We took the bus to the street where the chic-chic stuff is sold. We stopped into the bookstore and bought the older neighbor daughter a cookbook. Then, we went to a toy store just to look. We were actually in search of a new wallet for Sam, but even though we were in the chic-chic area, there weren't any leather stores for dudes. So, we walked to the mall and looked all over at wallets. The only one I found that I knew he might like was 75 Euro. HUH-UH! So, we went into a nice menswear store and bought him some nice suede gloves for when he has to take the kids back and forth on the bike (it's been pretty cold nowadays). Then, afterward, we went back to the chic-chic neighborhood. We ducked into the organic supermarket to grab a few cans of REALLY YUMMY vegetarian pate, but when we got up the register, the lady rudely told us she was closed. Well, I wasn't going to wait in line behind five people at a very slow register just for a few cans of pate, so I went and put them back and hauled ass out of there. Ryan started complaining that he needed to pee. I think he was faking, because by the time we got to the chocolate store where we were supposed to buy the high end truffles, he had forgotten all about it. And when we split a small pitcher of the purest hot chocolate you can find (it's not even sweetened), he perked RIGHT up!

As a side note, going into that chocolate place is the only time in the past ten years I have been made to feel like trailer trash again. They are SO rude and snooty in there. REALLY rich people go in there for coffee and because I'm in there in jeans and a tee-shirt and my Target winter coat, I get the snooty treatment. *eye roll* Back in the States I would just huff and say, "Well, then, they won't get any more of MY money," but the funny thing is, they don't give a shit if I come back in there again. In fact, they'd probably prefer that I not. There's no personal power here... not even purchasing power.

That night, Sam and I stayed up late, rolling out pasta and putting it into the freezer. I had made a lot of dough earlier in the week and hadn't rolled and cut it yet (though, I did make some fairly successful beef/spinach ravioli's with my new rav maker!!!). Then, we wrapped presents while watching 80's music videos (HIDEOUS... for some reason, watching them makes me blush as though I were walking through a crowd naked or something). We let Santa come in with his key (shhhhh) and drape the kids' costumes ON the Christmas tree--Ryan got a knight costume complete with foam sword and shield and Lily got a fairy princess costume complete with wings and wand...I had voted for the fairy princess with the conicular hat because Lily loves it, but Sam bought the one he liked *eye roll* a little too girly for my tastes). Santa also brought Ryan a wooden sword and shield for outside use, as well as a kit full of wooden tools--including screws and screw drivers... all of wood!!! Lily got a cloth doll that was to be our trial run. She has, of late, much to my chagrin, expressed an interest in dolls but I didn't want her having one of those plastic ones with the scented heads. BUT a custom, hand-made, all natural cloth doll costs a pretty penny. I wanted to make sure she wasn't going to drag it around or ignore it completely (which is kinda what she did, actually). She also got a menagerie of farm animals. These were the only plastic things we got because they were made in Germany and seemed to be of high quality. I caved, okay? We got Lolo a wooden pull-toy that doubles as a xylophone and a wooden farm puzzle-maze.

All three stockings had chocolate papillottes (traditional yuletide chocolates with little "fortunes" in them... they're really just wise (or wise ass) quotes from famous or annonymous people), chocolate Kinder mini-eggs and three small wooden toys.

When Ryan got up in the morning he said, "What did Santa do to my TREEEEE?" He ran over to it with his brow twisted, ready to complain about the mess until he saw that it was the long-coveted knight costume. "WHOOOOOOOAAAA!!!!! Santa ROCKS!!!!"

We had been nervous about our no-plastic-this-year experiment, but were pleased to see everyone dancing around the living room floor. Strangely enough, all three kids took turns with(well, that and fighting over) the wooden xylophone pull-toy. It was a big hit.

With presents out of the way, I hustled into the kitchen to make two batches (read: 5 dozen) chocolate chip cookies, two dozen no bakes and a dozen and a half Christmas shaped sugar cookies with colored sugar on them. Wellllll, since I turned on the oven but didn't set the temp right, I kept wondering why the damn cookies were burning after only four minutes in the oven. I have Sam yelling at me about how we're going to be late, once again, for lunch at his sister's house, me screaming back, "Go, then, asshole!!!" It wasn't until I put my batch of sugar cookies in and after two minutes opened the oven door to BUBBLING cookie dough, that I noticed the oven was sixty degrees (that's a lot in Centigrade) too hot!!!! *eye roll* i salvaged what chocolate chip ones I could since those are the only ones French people see as genuinely American cookies (they even call them "cookies"), put them in my favorite cookie tin and loaded up the kids.

Lunch was yummy. A starter of a "cake" (meaning loaf, of course) of scallops (I think... noix de St. Jacques... I don't know what that is in English, but basically, it was fish, mixed with beaten egg, milk, herbs, etc. and served cold). A section of boiled leek decorated with a long piece of chive tied in a knot, two cherry tomatoes and some lamb's lettuce. The sauce was a home-made mayo sort of thingy that was really good.

The main course was roast lamb in an AMAZING mushroom sauce served with potato puree (not mashed pototoes, but actually pureed potatoes).

This was all washed down with a red bordeau and a red from Spain (probably Rioja, but my brother-in-law didn't say).

Dessert was the traditional buche (Google it). There were three or four of them. There was also fudge and then my cookies. They loved 'em.

The kids got more presents. Ryan got a wooden helicopter that was just frickin' AWESOME. Lily got a set of antique-looking wooden blocks. And Lolo got a wooden bead maze. They also got presents from the other aunt, but I can't recall what they were right this second. We got the usual big box of chocolate and plant from the parents-in-law and a vibrating massager called a Bobo. We gave out extremely expensive boxes of the chocolate from the snooty choco store (ten truffles cost us 12 Euro... you know how small a truffle is?... I'd liked to have licked one of those truffles just to see why they were so expensive... LOL) as well as the home-made cards I had made telling them of the donations we had made for them (I put a wreath on the outside, a message on the inside telling them what we had donated and explaining how Heifer International works and a picture of whatever animal we had gotten them). No one was really very impressed with our donation thing. You know what I have to say? Tough shit. We bought them ridiculously priced truffles because we KNEW they were going to react that way. When I think that the $60 we spent on that frickin' chocolate COULD have bought another trio of rabbits for a family or small village... *grunt* No, I'm not going to think about it.

What matters is my conscience is clear. We donated to a couple of things back in Charlotte, too. A pair of boys who needed Christmas and a family who needed some food. We only ended up donating a total of $550 to Heifer International... Were it up to me, we would have tripled that, but well, we have the Farm Fund to think about, right?

Today, we presented the neighbors with their presents. No real excitement from their end either, even though we gave them an even BIGGER box of ridiculously-priced chocolates.

I'm telling you, I'm pretty much done with Christmas. This year really ruined it for me. The materialism. The "I got a Wii!!!" Blech.

Sam bitches about me being a purist. An extremist. It's not my fault, you know? It's all the materialism around me that makes me so. The turning your nose up at a gift I actually put THOUGHT into like a cookbook and went out of my way to spend too much money on because I thought it might touch you. Blech. I could have helped a FAMILY with that damn money.

I'm done. Next year, my kids will get one gift each from Santa and I'll give the rest of the money to people who REALLY frickin' need it. And I don't mean who need it so they can have PILES of stuff under a tree. But who need it to stay fed and keep warm. I'm all about buying kids a toy. But I don't think any kid needs to have an extravagant Christmas... In fact, I think it's all the extravagant Christmases that have created this shitty materialism of which I speak. Christmas is supposed to be the celebration of the birth of a little naked baby born in the most modest of circumstances and the gifts brought to Him from rich KINGS and wise men... Magicians, whatever. It's not about the presents you are pouting about you didn't get!!! Grody!

Anyway... So... today... I'm sick again. Yep. Again! I've caught what everyone else had. Do I get to lie around and feel sorry for myself and have other people do the cooking, the dishes, the laundry? Nope. Do I get to moan on and on about how bad my whatever hurts? Nope. I can't even catch a nap because SOME adult who lives with me can't keep the damn kids quiet for even half a goddamn hour!!! *sigh* Oh, alright, so, he took the kids to the park for a couple of hours yesterday. I appreciate it. I really do. But DUDE, he stayed in bed for TWO days while I forced myself and the kids to tiptoe and whisper around the apartment. It always happens this way.

What makes me most mad about it is that I wanted to RUN tomorrow. I think I might end up waiting until after breakfast and at least go walking. I'm telling you, after I get better from this, I'm not kissing ANYONE. I may not let anyone NEAR me until the day I leave for Houston.

Okay, so, I had some pasta dough still in the fridge. I also had some leftover ravioli filling. Sooooo, I made a bechamel, defrosted a red sauce and built myself my first home-made, from scratch, all-organic, free-range LASAGNA!!! I turned my beef/spinach ravioli filling into a sort of pesto (thinned with white wine) and did a layer of that, topped with a little bechamel and cheese, then I did a layer of red sauce and fresh parm cheese, then I did a layer of thinly sliced zucchini and emmental cheese, then another layer of the rav filling/bechamel/parm. It turned out BEAUTIFULLY!!!! We didn't eat it yet because it wasn't done when it was time for dinner, but we'll eat the heck outta that bitch tomorrow.

HOWEVER, when I got to the tip top of my lasagna pan, I still had some noodles left over. I had already blanched them, so I couldn't store them. Instead, I just cut them with my chef's knife and turned them into a sort of fetuccini. I took the couple of spoonfuls I had left of bechamel, poured in some milk to thin it again, added some of my home-made eggplant-zuke pesto and a little salt and turned that into a sauce. I took the rest of the paper thin zucchini I had sliced (ahem, my food processor had sliced) and threw them into a hot pan with some olive oil and minced garlic. So, I had a bed of fresh, home-made pasta, drenched with creamy pesto sauce and topped with JUST rightly cooked zuke slices and sprinkled with cheese. DUDE... for an ooops meal, that shit was GOOOOOD!!!!

Before you even ask, just let me tell you that I have NOT heard from the Agent of My Dreams. And Yes, I'm aware that I sent out my full manuscript on September 26. I waited until December 26 to finally email him and ask what's up. I'm scared to find out. I won't go into all the intricacies of my paranoia about this. Suffice it to say, I'm antsy and scared and a teeeeeensy bit despondant.

I have been reading, though. I finally read the last Harry Potter. Good stuff. I also read Copper Sun and it freakin' ROCKED! As did the lasted Augusten Burroughs book ("Wolf at the Table"). I'm not sure what I'll read next, but it feels good to read again... Wish I could say the same about writing.

Okay, I should cut this out. I know I did it again... waited a week to blog. I'm sorry about that. But you know how it is. It's either a matter of finding time, energy or words. It seems like it only happens once a week that all three are aligned.

All I can say is I'll try... maybe that should be one of my New Year's resolutions.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Killin' time...

Lolo has a fever. I have three kids, I'm no stranger to fever. But when fever-reducer won't reduce it (it was still 103.7) and she's breathing fast and unconsolable... Time for the emergency room. So, that's where Sam is. And since they won't let him call out on his cell phone even from the waiting room, here I sit, biting my nails. I figure I might as well be doing something productive, so I decided to finish uploading the pix. So, here you go... Thank rheno-pharyngitis for the following images *eye roll*...



Delphine and Sylvain...

Delphine is a little camera shy... I had to enlist Sylvain's help!

Flavia and Gilles...

Meme (pronounced may-may)

The kids' table...

Pepe (pay-pay)

Bruno (brother in law) and Patrice (neighbor)

Green beans with herb butter and fried onions...

Sylvain pouring gravy onto his plate...

Bird in pieces (see below for fuzzy pic of bird before hacking)


The close up images I zoomed in on... sorry for the fuzziness...

Cranberry sauce

Nathalie's plate... Taters and gravy and butternut-pesto gratin...

Close up of appetizer pigs in blankies...

Turkey close up (pre-hack)

Decking the halls... well, sorta...

The only way to decorate--one eye on tree, the other on the kids...

Helper elves...

Lolo in Papa's pantoufles (house shoes)...

This is some strange fruit!

The job is done...

Fat Elf Fashion Show...

This is how we're wearin' 'em in '08 y'all!

Here go!

Show over. Peace out!

Okay, for real now...



Fine... I'll play.... Godzilla!!!!

Snow, man!

It Begins...(ahem, not the most flattering shot, eh?)

But if I give him my gloves, MY hands will be cold!

Good Samaritan...His handless bamboo stubs will stay warm!

He needs a hat... (though it makes him look like a German soldier)


Post-snow-man reward... bubbly, melty, stinky, delicious CHEEEEEEEESE!!! (Raclette)

Highway home...

There you have it... Now I'm going to go read and wait and probably worry a little...

Oh yeah, the sushi party is back on!!! We're eatin' sushi tonight, brothuh. Sam bought me a hoss new rice cooker last night. oooooh and he bought me some new pasta-flour called semolina. Don't worry, it's still organic. Gonna crank out those raviolies today... If I ever get any sleep, that is... Cross those fingers!